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Pacific Symphony Reports Loss of $350,000 for Year

July 01, 1988|JESS BRAVIN | Times Staff Writer

The Pacific Symphony suffered an operating loss of more than $350,000 during its 1987-88 season, officials announced this week. Meanwhile, several board members of the troubled orchestra have announced their intentions to resign.

Symphony board president John R. Evans said the orchestra closed the year with a deficit of $250,127 after a $113,000 surplus from the previous season was used to pay debts.

Evans blamed the deficit on poor management during outgoing music director Keith Clark's administration.

"The marketing budget was budgeted way too small and the artistic programming was completed before the budget process, rather than the other way around," he said.

Executive Director Louis G. Spisto, who took over administration of the orchestra last spring, "was not around to put together the budget for his first year," Evans said.

However, news of the deficit was not unexpected. Last spring, 35 musicians in the orchestra signed a petition to the board asserting that the symphony faced a potential deficit as a result of excessive growth in the administrative staff during the past year--under Spisto's stewardship.

At the time, Evans acknowledged that the staff had grown from 4 to about 14 people, but he said the expansion was necessary to cope with the orchestra's increased fund-raising needs and its move into the Orange County Performing Arts Center. The deficit, he said, had not stemmed from the expansion.

Evans was reelected to a second term as president at Monday's annual meeting of the symphony board but said he is considering resigning that post.

"I'm very tired and it has been a very intense year," Evans said, referring to the board's controversial decision to end its association with Clark, who founded the orchestra 10 years ago.

Two other board members, considered close to Clark, submitted their resignations, board Vice President Cornelia Mazer said. They are Henry Hirsch and Raymond J. Ikola.

The symphony also said that revenue from advance ticket sales for the 1988-89 season has exceeded $1.5 million and the number of donors to the orchestra had more than doubled over the past year, to 3,100.

Times staff writer Allan Jalon contributed to this story.

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