Miller to step down as president of BSO but will retain his labor relations post

ARTS NOTES

November 24, 1991|By Eric Siegel

The economy is indirectly forcing a change in leadership of the state's largest arts organization.

Decatur H. Miller, who helped forge a better understanding between the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's players and managers in the wake of the 1988-'89 strike, is resigning as president of the BSO when his term expires in June. Mr. Miller, who will have served two one-year terms, will be succeeded by former president Calman J. "Buddy" Zamoiski Jr. Also in June, George V. McGowan will become the BSO's board chairman, a post that has been vacant since the mid-1980s.

"These are extremely difficult financial times. The symphony needs to look to its fund-raising talent to sustain what we've achieved and build on it," said Mr. Miller, chairman of the law firm Piper & Marbury, who added, "My strength is not raising money."

Mr. Zamoiski said the BSO had a "major challenge" to raise enough money each year to tour, record and broadcast.

Mr. Miller will continue to be active in BSO affairs, chairing the orchestra's labor relations committee, which will begin negotiating a new contract with the players early next year.

The BSO broke even last year, thanks to a last-ditch campaign that allowed it to reach its annual fund goal of $2.5 million, but had to cancel a European tour planned for next spring because of a lack of money.

This year's annual fund goal is $3 million. A phoneathon directed at BSO supporters will be held today from 12:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. that organizers hope will raise $100,000 of that goal.

A generous city

Baltimore city continues to provide a disproportionate share of local government funds for area cultural and scientific institutions, according to the figures compiled by the Baltimore Regional Council of Governments.

In the current fiscal year, the city is giving such institutions $13.2 million, or 0.83 percent of their combined annual operating budgets, BRCOG figures show. In contrast, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties together are providing just $3.1 million in support, or 0.13 percent.

Put another way, city support for cultural and scientific institutions is $18.07 per person, compared to just $1.91 for the counties.

The figures, which do not reflect recent budget reductions, show that suburban support actually declined by about $500,000 from the previous fiscal year, while city support rose by about that amount.

Two years ago, BRCOG adopted a resolution calling on each suburban jurisdiction to allocate at least 0.3 percent of its annual operating budget to support scientific and cultural organizations 1995. So far, Carroll County, which gives 0.47 percent of its budget to the arts and culture, is the only suburban jurisdiction to have met that goal.

'Nutcracker' lineup grows

A dozen members of the Dance Theatre of Harlem will join the handful of dancers from the American Ballet Theatre for the Maryland Ballet's production of "The Nutcracker" Dec. 12-22 at the Lyric Opera House.

The production will also feature a 48-piece orchestra under the baton of Kim Allen Kluge, music director of the Alexandria, Va., Symphony Orchestra.

As previously announced, the ABT's Julie Kent, who has danced opposite Mikhail Baryshnikov, will perform the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Chrissy Schultz -- whom Maryland Ballet artistic director Phillip Carman describes as a "young Gelsey Kirkland" -- will dance the role of Clara.

Tickets to the performances range from $17.50 to $29.50; children are half-price. For more information, call (410) 889-3911.

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