St. Paul Orchestra Uses New Surplus To Pay Down Deficit

St. Paul Orchestra Uses New Surplus To Pay Down Deficit

The organization ended its latest fiscal year with a surplus, which it will use to whittle down its accumulated deficit to $511,941.

On the heels of a tumultuous year that included a six-month lockout of musicians, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra (SPCO) recently announced that it ended its latest fiscal year with a surplus of more than $280,000.

And it plans to use the money to reduce its accumulated deficit.

The SPCO said that the 2008 economic downturn negatively affected all of its revenue sources, leading it to reduce administrative expenses by laying off 17 percent of its administrative staff, cutting salaries for senior management, and taking other steps that help cut annual expenses by $1.5 million. Despite those efforts, however, the organization ended its 2011-2012 fiscal year with a deficit.

The SPCO’s management locked out musicians in October 2012 when the two sides were unable to come to an agreement over a labor contract. After months of gridlock, musicians in April ratified a new contract that included salary cuts and a reduction in the orchestra’s size, ending the drawn-out dispute. That deal is expected to cut annual expenses by more than $1.1 million, the SPCO said.

At its annual meeting, which was held earlier this week, the SPCO reported a net surplus of $281,264 for the fiscal year that ended June 30. The funds will be used to whittle away at its accumulated deficit of $793,205—meaning that the organization still has a deficit of $511,941.

The SPCO, however, sounded optimistic, saying that it plans to eliminate that remaining deficit “over the coming years through planned surpluses.”

“This organization has gone through an incredibly challenging time since 2008,” Bruce Coppock, who rejoined the SPCO as president and managing director in June, said in a statement. “We’ve had to make some very painful cuts to weather this storm. That said, we’re now on the other side and we’re extremely optimistic about the future.”

Coppock said that subscription renewals are at an all-time high, ticket projections are “exceeding expectations,” and fundraising is “trending significantly ahead.”

Meanwhile, management of the Minneapolis-based Minnesota Orchestra remains in a contentious labor dispute with its locked-out musicians. In October, on the one-year anniversary of the Minnesota Orchestra lockout, the organization’s longtime music director resigned.