March 7, 2019
The Board of Directors, musicians, and staff of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra greatly appreciate the remarkable support of the State of Maryland for the BSO and our entire arts community.
We are deeply grateful for the leadership of Delegate Maggie McIntosh, along with each of the co-sponsors of the proposed legislation, for introducing House Bill 1404.
The BSO would like to thank the General Assembly of Maryland for its vitally important efforts to provide additional support at a critical time in the history of our organization. All of us at the BSO are deeply appreciative of, and strongly support, House Bill 1404.
As we convey the BSO’s strong support for HB1404, we also express our gratitude and appreciation that the Governor’s proposed FY20 budget includes crucial funding for the BSO provided through the Maryland State Arts Council. This support is critical to sustaining the BSO as a key cultural asset of our city and state, and an ensemble nationally and internationally recognized for excellence.
The BSO is Maryland's largest arts organization, and we want to ensure that our community is home to an exceptional orchestra for many years to come. The proposed legislation will provide both financial support and a Workgroup to examine our business model. HB1404 will help ensure that our community, including Baltimore, Montgomery County and the State of Maryland, sustains one of the premier orchestras in the country, enriching lives with a rich array of concerts and educational programs.
Despite significant achievements, the BSO has faced financial challenges over the course of many years, including $16 million in losses over the past decade alone. While recent financial results were the strongest in five years, there was still a loss that contributed further to severe cash flow issues.
The proposed legislation, including the important provisions of the Workgroup outlined in the bill, represents a critical opportunity to build on intensive stabilization efforts that are underway following years of substantial losses. It is with a spirit of tremendous gratitude that we submit our testimony today in extremely strong support of HB1404.
Our Board, musicians, and staff are grateful to you for your consistently strong support of arts and cultural initiatives in Maryland, and for your steadfast support of the BSO.
Peter T. Kjome
President and CEO
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra