Show goes on at N.C. Symphony

David Chambless Worters
David Chambless Worters

It appears the worst is over for the North Carolina Symphony, which broke even this past concert season after initiating deep budget cuts and ramping up fundraising, The News & Observer reported July 6.

The Raleigh-based organization is still in the red, but has reduced its debt to $2.8 million as of June 30 from $3.8 million this time last year, and seems to be emerging from crisis, says David Chambless Worters, president and CEO of the Symphony.

That reversal of fortunes is thanks to many players, including the musicians, who agreed to a 19 percent pay cut, which lowered the base pay to $47,956 from the $59,400 they were scheduled to receive.

Other staff, including conductor Grant Llewellyn absorbed salary cuts ranging from 10 percent to 30 percent, and the Symphony moved its administrative offices to a less expensive space.

Those cuts, along with the cancellation of some expensive guest artists, helped trim annual expenses to $11.6 million for 2009-10 from $14.1 million originally proposed.

Annual giving from donors and corporate sponsors grew to $3.15 million, up from $2.34 million the year before.

And state lawmakers provided a $1.5 million challenge grant, contingent on the Symphony raising $8 million in non-state funds, a goal it exceeded through ticket sales, annual giving, one-time gifts and earnings from its endowment.

“The Symphony has a long journey before us,” says Worters. “But it is a tremendous result for 2009-2010. We are very pleased that we were able to turn the corner. It’s a huge win for everyone.”

Leave a Response

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.