If you haven’t been keeping up with the situation developing at the Honolulu Symphony, the organization is in the midst of a cash flow predicament. As a result, they have not been able to meet payroll since Friday, December 14. My Inside The Arts blogging neighbor, Joe Patti, wrote about this issue in grater detail on December 18 but I wanted to add a few thoughts to his prudent observations…
Regardless of the details
behind the cash crunch (it could be Godzilla’s fault for all intensive
purposes) the organization is actually in the best possible shape to
effectively deal with the situation. For example:
- They have a new Executive Director, Tom Gulick. This means
they have someone at the administrative helm who hasn’t had his
enthusiasm or spirit eroded away by previous institutional problems.
- They have a new board chair, Jeff Minter. The organization
has someone in a key leadership position who hasn’t expended a great
deal of personal and political capital dealing with previous problems.
- They have a new Music Director, Andreas Delfs. With a significantly
higher amount of artistic clout than the organization’s previous music
director, Delfs will need to begin pressing the flesh and be available
to appear at key donor meetings to share his artistic vision with
donors in order to facilitate successful stopgap funding efforts. If
the organization plans to go out without effectively using Delfs during
those key meetings, then they are squandering their resources.
- They have a group of musicians who, even without being paid, are publicly supporting all three institutional leaders.
You simply can’t ask for a better institutional
environment to deal with the current round of problems facing the
organization. This is the point in time where the institutional leaders
are going to have to embrace risk and put their personal and
professional careers on the line to dispatch the cash post-haste. One
way or another, the Honolulu Symphony will make a bit of orchestral
history by rising to the challenge of securing funding capable of
keeping the group on track or not. I’m betting on the former.