Symphony requests $250,000 grant for European tour

November 30, 1990|By Eric Siegel

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, which already receives substantially more state aid than any other Maryland cultural organization, is seeking a special $250,000 state grant to help defray the costs of a planned 1992 European tour.

Without the grant from the state Department of Economic and Employment Development, the "chances are very close to nil" that the BSO could mount the three-week tour of major European capitals, John Gidwitz, the orchestra's executive director, said yesterday.

He said the orchestra needed to raise $700,000 to mount the tour, with the remainder coming from individuals and corporations.

The money the BSO seeks would be in addition to the $1 million the orchestra is scheduled to receive as the final installment of a six-year, $10 million bridge grant from the state and the $1.16 million it receives from the Maryland State Arts Council.

The second largest recipient of money from the MSAC, which provides approximately 10 percent of the annual operating budgets of qualifying arts organizations, is the Baltimore Museum of Art, which receives $585,000.

A spokeswoman for DEED said it was "much too early to tell" whether the BSO request would be included in the agency's budget for fiscal year 1992, which begins July 1. Gov. William Donald Schaefer will submit his budget proposals to the General Assembly in mid-January.

Mr. Gidwitz told a meeting of the MSAC yesterday he felt the special grant was justified because of the economic benefits the state received from a similar tour by the BSO in 1987.

Laurence Levitan, chairman of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, said he felt the grant "could survive" the legislature.

Mr. Levitan said legislators recognize the role of the BSO as a "goodwill ambassador" for the state, but he conceded that in tough economic times "the sentiment . . . may be to forgo overseas tours for the arts and use the funds elsewhere."

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