BSO to reduce its staff by 11


The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra announced yesterday that it will fire six members of its administrative staff and eliminate another five positions that currently are vacant.

The 11 staff reductions will save the orchestra between $500,000 and $1 million, BSO President James Glicker said. They represent 5 percent of the orchestra's 225 full- and part-time staff positions.

Though the cuts will occur across most administrative departments, Glicker declined to specify which positions will be eliminated because the holders of those jobs have not been notified. The orchestra will depart for a 10-day, seven-city tour of Europe on Oct. 19.

"Our top priority is to make sure that the Baltimore Symphony is fiscally sound for the future," Glicker said. "Subscription sales are up 7 percent and revenue projections are running ahead of last season. But we're still seeing a deficit, and this is an attempt to cut it down."

The deficit stands at about $10 million.

None of the positions being cut is at the director or vice president level, and Glicker said they are a result of streamlined computer operations and other "efficiencies" the symphony has undertaken.

"The feedback from the community is that we've got a great orchestra and they're giving great performances, but we've got to get our financial house in order," he said.

In the weeks after Glicker's appointment as president in April 2004, seven top administrators left the orchestra. And this summer, chief financial officer Jeff Shapiro quit after less than a year on the job. But Glicker said he doesn't think that yesterday's announcement will add to the perception that the BSO is in turmoil.

"Quite the opposite," he said. "We're in better financial condition because we're taking these steps."

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