An Unfinished Story, Part 2

Part 2 of 6

Time passed.

The cost of the concerts grew.

arrow ascending.jpgThis was, in part, due to the professionalization of management. There were larger staffs with specialists in fundraising, marketing and administration.

The musicians cost more too. They were increasingly of a new, educated class. Many had two and even three degrees.

The season grew to encompass a much larger part of the year. The artistic level of the musicians rose dramatically. The musicians, quite rightly, expected a living wage for the commitment of time and the expectation of high quality placed upon them.

The orchestras tried to increase their productivity.

The conductors learned how to work efficiently. The conductors who thrived most were masters of psychology and organizational behavior in addition to being outstanding musicians.

To realize what models of efficiency the orchestras were at the time is to suddenly grasp the situation. There was nothing wasted. There was nothing extraneous.

Rehearsals were professional, intense and productive. To think that such artistic levels could have been achieved in fewer rehearsals is to misunderstand everything. Actually, it was a marvel that such things WERE accomplished in such a short time.

This is why there was no way for the organizations to artistically cut their way to a balanced budget.

Those that chose that approach saw their product deteriorate and audiences dwindle.

Expenses rose on a gentle, upward slope, and revenues also rose, although at a lower rate. This meant there was a growing gap between revenues and expenditures that continued to widen each year. There was intense focus on solving the structural deficits inherent in the business model.

Managements looked for ways to increase revenues and to strengthen community relationships. They created education and outreach programs which both gave musicians additional work and which raised money too.

As the general economy grew, more businesses took on the role of philanthropist. Boards of the concert-giving organizations grew.

Businesses, foundations and philanthropists contributed to endowments created to ensure long-term financial stability for the organizations. Soon the organizations began to count on the income generated from those endowment funds for their budgets to balance.

Government tried to help fill the gap through national, state, and, in some cases, local grants.

More time passed. The financial gap continued to widen.

New technologies emerged.

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