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Symphony Lacks Money to Stage a Winter Season

May 16, 1987|MIKE GRANBERRY | Times Staff Writer

The San Diego Symphony Assn. does not have the money for a 1987-88 winter concert season, and "decisions concerning its future" will be delayed until later this month, the group said in a terse, two-sentence press release Friday.

The announcement came from Marketing Director Melissa Smith, who said that symphony board President Herbert J. Solomon and Executive Director Wesley O. Brustad would have no comment.

William J. McGill, the former UC San Diego chancellor appointed by Mayor Maureen O'Connor to mediate the symphony crisis, was out of town and unavailable for comment. McGill has said publicly that he opposes the symphony's self-imposed deadline for funding the winter season.

'Deadline Stuff Puzzling'

"What do you do if you miss it?" he asked in an earlier interview. "Give up? All this stuff about a deadline is puzzling to me. The last thing I want to do is get into the framework the symphony was in two years ago."

In 1985, the symphony raised $2.4 million in a crisis campaign and soon found itself nearly $1 million in debt. Symphony officials said the current operating debt exceeds $1.5 million and that $2.5 million is needed to fund the winter season.

Just last month, symphony board members offered to resign.

"It does not mean that we will resign," Solomon said at the time. "It means that we're willing to resign if it becomes necessary to enable a financial solution to be achieved."

Sources close to the board said this week that members are reluctant to resign with so many unpaid debts. The same sources confirm, however, that potential donors are reluctant to contribute until the board does resign. Several sources used the phrase "Catch-22" to describe the situation.

If the winter season is canceled, it will be the association's third attempt to fund a season and fail. The 1986-87 season was canceled, and the association later announced that under no circumstances would it fund the '87 Summer Pops at Mission Bay.

Symphony musicians are trying to fund the Pops on their own, with the aid of Debra McKeon, a former administrator with the New York Philharmonic.

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