Brian Wise covers the classical music business for WQXR, including aspects of performance, technology, philanthropy and institutional trends. He manages the station's homepage and makes sure what you hear on air is what you see online. Follow him on Twitter at @Briancwise.
New York City Opera Makes Staff Cuts; Orchestra Goes on Hiatus
Friday, June 03, 2011
New York City Opera confirmed today that 11 employees are being laid off as the company faces a $5 million dollar deficit. In addition, the company will eliminate four open positions, according to a company memorandum obtained by The New York Times on Friday.
Last month, City Opera announced plans to leave Lincoln Center's David Koch Theater, and eliminate staff, as it is in the throes of its worst financial crisis ever. The musician's union has filed a complaint with labor officials to prevent that move from happening, saying the decision violates labor laws.
On Thursday City Opera's director of artistic planning, Edward C. Yim, said he was leaving, without a replacement being named. Yim was brought on board by City Opera General Director George Steel, in 2009, and now plans to move across Lincoln Center Plaza to work as an artistic consultant for the New York Philharmonic.
The laid-off employees could receive up to eight weeks’ severance pay and medical coverage through July. In addition, one full-time job will be downgraded to part time. The company has not yet announced its 2011-12 season.
Orchestra Suspends Operations
In other economic news, the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas will suspend operations for the upcoming 2011-12 season. According to a statement, the decision resulted from a substantial increase in operating costs, compounded by an anticipated decrease in corporate funding and government support.
The orchestra, based in New York, was founded in 2004 by Alondra de la Parra, a rising young Mexican conductor. It has made a specialty of Latin American music and became known in recent years for its education initiatives throughout New York City.
The orchestra's debut album, "My Mexican Soul," was released in August by Sony Classical.