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Minnesota Orchestra posts $11.7M operating loss

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Orchestra has posted another record-breaking deficit as the coronavirus pandemic continues its disruption.

The orchestra is reporting an operating loss of $11.7 million, the largest in its history and topping last year’s $8.8 million deficit.

The orchestra canceled 52 concerts and 19 rental events.

“We had to cancel about a third of our concerts in fiscal 2020, along with our annual fundraising event, the Symphony Ball,” President and CEO Michelle Miller Burns said. “Those two things combined had a very significant impact.”

Some of Minnesota’s other major arts institutions have also reported losses. The Guthrie Theater had a record $2.7 million operating deficit for the fiscal year ending in August. The Minneapolis Institute of Art posted its first loss in 27 years.

The Minnesota Orchestra, with its 86 full-time musicians, has avoided layoffs, although about 200 part-timers have been on hiatus since in-person concerts were canceled.

The orchestra used $4.5 million in funding from the federal Paycheck Protection Program to keep paying people, Miller Burns said. When that money ran out, musicians and staff members took pay cuts.