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Home » Orchestra News » Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Reports Deficit

Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Reports Deficit


Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (MSO) reported a $1.8 million deficit for its recently concluded fiscal year, citing a drop in donations as the cause. The orchestra had ended its previous two fiscal years with balanced budgets thanks to large, last-minute gifts.

MSO currently depends on donations to cover 70% of its budget, and management has noted that it would like to shift the breakdown to 50% donations, 30% earned revenue, and 20% investment income. One way that the orchestra is hoping to increase earned revenue is by programming more familiar, popular works.

MSO is seeking ways to cut costs, but is committed to maintaining the number of concerts performed each year. Executive Director Mark Niehaus—who was formerly the orchestra’s principal trumpet and is currently a member of Local 8 (Milwaukee, WI)—is determined not to make the musicians’ contract the focus of cost cutting. However, the musicians have been asked to reopen their contract.

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