Syracuse orchestra plays Carnegie Hall

Group rebounds from financial woes

— The Syracuse Symphony Orchestra played Carnegie Hall this weekend for the first time in 15 years, marking its journey back from financial problems that nearly shut it down a decade ago.

Saturday's performance by the 75-member orchestra featured the Carnegie Hall debut of Stanislav Ioudenitch, the 2001 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition gold medalist.

"In the early 1990s, our financial instability kept us from doing something like this," said music director Daniel Hege. "We are not completely out of the woods. But we are on very solid financial footing and have things going in the right direction."

The 42-year-old orchestra went through difficult financial times in 1992 when it canceled the final 38 performances of its season and laid off all its musicians and staff after falling $1.2 million in debt.

Today, the orchestra operates on a $5.6 million budget and performs about 200 full-orchestra and ensemble concerts during a 38-week season, reaching some 225,000 people.

Both subscription sales and single-ticket sales are up and ahead of projected budget estimates, Jeffry Comanici, the orchestra's executive director, said Thursday.

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