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San Jose, as it turns out, is not alone in its symphony woes

By Allie Gottlieb

FUNDRAISING has been tough this year, and symphonies throughout the country are reporting financial strain. The Chicago Symphony, traditionally one of the country's five most respected orchestras, ended 2001 with a $1.3 million deficit after a several-year surplus streak. Orchestras in St. Louis and Canada also hit financial walls. Toronto's orchestra faced a $7 million deficit; St. Louis was scrambling to find $29 million. (San Diego's symphony, which also struggled recently, got lucky this month when a rich CEO pledged $100 million.

The American Symphony Orchestra League has found that attendance and sales have declined since Sept. 11, and that more than half of the 182 orchestras in the United States and Canada that responded to its survey have adjusted their business plans to deal with a drop in funds. However, most expect a bright future.

In Silicon Valley, however, the fallout from Sept. 11 has been uneven. Other arts organizations, like the San Jose Repertory Theatre, which boasts a "strong" audience this season, are doing well. Also, the San Jose Symphony oddly managed to defy the positive national trend of two years ago. Nationwide, all signs have pointed to happy for symphonies at the end of the last decade, according to the American Symphony Orchestra League's 1999-2000 season report. Ticket sales were up, as were all types of donations. Seventy-one percent of symphonies reported surpluses, 20 percent more than a decade earlier.

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From the January 17-23, 2002 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

For more information about the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, visit sanjose.com.




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