A stark warning was issued this weekend. The MSO, which had been thought to be in recovery, has suffered a terrible financial year. A press release said it is ‘in danger of running out of money and faces possible extinction if additional pledges cannot be secured to fund the MSO’s much more modest, prudent budget and business plan for the future.’
The musicians, already reduced from 88 to 79, are facing a further drop into the 60s. Executive director, Mark Niehaus, a former trumpet player in the orchestra, said: ‘In this critical time in the existence of the MSO, we have reached an unprecedented level of collaboration among the key players in the organization: the musicians, the music director, administrative staff, and partners.’
With Edo de Waart as music director, Milwaukee seemed to have negotiated itself out of a Minnesota-like existential crisis. Now the future looks less certain.