Philadelphia Orchestra cuts staff 20 percent

March 12, 2009 5:58:21 AM PDT
Tough times mean tough measures at the Philadelphia Orchestra. The orchestra let 12 staff members go Wednesday. Six positions will go unfilled, reducing administrative staff 20 percent.

An orchestra endowment drive recently raised $130 million. But executive director Frank Slattery Jr. says market conditions have shrunk the nest egg by more than 30 percent. The job cuts save about $900,000 a year, only a start on filling a more-than-$2 million potential deficit.

The orchestra was already in turmoil, conducting simultaneous searches for a new board chairman, president and music director.

But arts organizations are facing similar investment shrinkage. The Philadelphia Museum of Art eliminated 30 administrative positions last month, and the Pittsburgh Symphony announced layoffs of nine staff members Wednesday.

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