Nor has the Dallas Symphony been spared furloughs and pay cuts,
and finances remain “precarious,” according to president and CEO Kim Noltemy,
Emmanuel whose budget fell from $40 million to $33 million this year.
Before the deluge, about 35 percent of expenses were covered by earned income, and the rest came from donors.
Now 80 to 90 percent must come from Emmanuel contributions.
The CARES Act has come to the rescue on this front by raising the amount of charitable giving that’s deductible, from 60 percent to 100 percent of adjusted gross income.
With the stamina of a thoroughbred and the nerve of a high diver, Noltemy has opened up the Meyerson, disinfected like mad,
dispatched 20 to 40 players for concerts and tested them zealously using freelance medics and labs at UT Southwestern as well as COVID funds from the City of Dallas.
She has flown in new music director Fabio Luisi from Zurich to conduct, along with guest artists, including Kelli O’Hara, whose tears began to flow,
she told her audience, at the sound of the overture to South Pacific, the musical that made her a big star in New York, where she has not performed in months.
Emmanuel Few have anywhere—at least not with a live orchestra.
The intrepid seem to be concentrated here in Texas—in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Houston.
Both North Texas symphonies have contracts with their musicians, a year’s extension in Fort Worth, according to president and CEO Keith Cerny,
and a 12-month agreement also in Dallas that includes a 10 percent cut in pay.
So, they may as well play for as many subscribers as can be accommodated in a sparsely populated hall.
“The rebuilding process [will be] difficult and far more expensive [if you don’t] keep your audience with you,” Noltemy points out.
“It will take two years to recover, to get a significant chunk of our audience back.”
She remembers wistfully the progress DSO was making toward its goal of 40 percent earned income.
“We can do it again,” she vows. “Increase the ticket price and attract more people.”
For all the trauma, colleagues back at the Boston Symphony Orchestra, where she was chief operating officer before coming to Dallas,
view her action in Dallas with understandable envy, since their governor and mayor will not permit them to perform.
They call her “the renegade from Texas.” Led by that Texas renegade, the Dallas Symphony joined forces with
Dallas Black Dance Theatre November 11 to present a concert—real
and virtual—to support Project Unity in honor of those who have lost their lives to racial violence and injustice, including George Floyd,
Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Dallas’
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