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Colorado Symphony Orchestra, In Financial Trouble, Fights To Stay Alive


First Posted: 10/07/11 11:18 AM ET Updated: 12/07/11 05:12 AM ET

It has been a rough couple of weeks for the Colorado Symphony -- financial woes, a clearing out of almost the entire board, pay cuts and now cancelled shows. The Colorado Symphony is making difficult choices in hopes that it can just survive.

Last week, after several days of heated negotiations, 20 of the 30 members on the symphony’s board of trustees stepped down and the 79 full-time musicians agreed to an emergency 9 percent pay cut (equivalent to $530,000), The Denver Post first reported. And just the week before an internal report on the symphony’s finances pointed to a grim future, warning that if the orchestra did not cut salaries, find new sources of cash and radically restructure the way it does business, it faced a “high probability of demise within the next two years.

The Symphony took in record ticket sales in 2010-2011, but ws still was short $1.2 million in cash due to its operating costs, according to Westword.

On Thursday, 7News reported that the Colorado Symphony announced that it has canceled half of its 20 scheduled concerts over the next two months. With Symphony officials stating that the newly lean playing schedule is designed to “control costs and restore financial stability.”

The Symphony is hoping that the pay cuts to the show cancellations can give management the room to set the orchestra back on track so they can resume a full season schedule by Dec. 9, 2011, according to a Colorado Symphony press release.

Although for different reasons, this is not the first time Colorado’s major orchestra has reached a financial breaking point. Before the Colorado Symphony Orchestra was born, The Denver Symphony Orchestra, which played in Denver from 1934 to 1989, filed for bankruptcy after a series of canceled shows and pay cuts.

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Filed by Matt Ferner  |  Report Corrections