The orchestra world is all too familiar with vicious cycles of mounting deficits, dwindling audiences, difficulty raising money and cuts. But at the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, things are moving happily in the opposite direction: think crescendo, not diminuendo.
The orchestra announced Thursday that a successful fund-raising campaign, and a new contract that it reached with its musicians, would allow it to hire 14 more full-time players over the next four years, expanding the size of the ensemble to 90 as other orchestras around the country, from Philadelphia to Atlanta, have shed positions to save money.
At a moment when many other American orchestras and performing arts organizations have resorted to spending heavily from their endowments to meet their annual operating costs, Cincinnati has kept its draw in recent years to the more prudent rate of 5 percent — and it says that it has raised enough money to reduce that to 4.5 percent by 2020. (The New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera, by contrast, both draw more than 5 percent a year.)
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