Orchestra struggling with finances

— The Philadelphia Orchestra's endowment has dropped by $10 million over the past two years, making an ongoing fund-raising campaign vital to the group, officials said.

The endowment stands at $68.5 million, down from $78 million two years ago. A $75 million fund-raising effort is under way and $25 million has been raised so far, said development director Julie Diaz.

"The finances of the orchestra remain fragile, and the only long-term solution is the endowment drive," said Fredrick W. Kyle, chairman of the orchestra's finance committee.

A larger endowment would generate a greater return and help eliminate the orchestra's operating losses.

"We need cash in the bank as quickly as possible to generate the income we need," Orchestra President Joseph H. Kluger said.

Kluger said incoming music director Christoph Eschenbach, who will take charge of the orchestra in a year, will be involved in fund raising.

"He's tenacious, and he understands the need to do it," Kluger said, adding that Eschenbach hopes to raise money for special projects, such as commissioning new works, festivals and using new technology.

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