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BSO needs a bigger endowment - from Hopkins

The audience at a Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's Thursday night concert earlier this year waits for the musicians to appear on stage to warmup before the 8:05 p.m. start.
The audience at a Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's Thursday night concert earlier this year waits for the musicians to appear on stage to warmup before the 8:05 p.m. start. (Amy Davis / Baltimore Sun)

The report that even if the pending funding commitments to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra were fully met, the future of the orchestra would still be in jeopardy was unexpected and jarring (“Citing labor dispute, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra postpones fundraising gala; Renee Fleming won’t appear,” July 22).

The surest, cleanest way to save the BSO is to increase its current $60 million endowment to $100 million, the figure financial experts say would provide the annual income necessary to cover all of the orchestra’s needs.

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May I suggest that the Johns Hopkins University consider becoming this donor and orchestra rescuer? Who has more to gain if the BSO continues at its peak, and more to lose if it doesn’t? Peabody, itself saved by Hopkins in 1985, would lose mightily if the BSO vanishes.

If Johns Hopkins can allocate approximately $30 million every year for security for its three Baltimore campuses, it can surely come up with a one-time gift of $40 million to save the BSO. Loss of the orchestra, in the context of the violence and death that is killing this city, would certainly diminish the image and brand that the university values so highly and works so diligently to maintain.

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René J. Muller

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