First, design a sophisticated computer software program that continually updates ticket prices based on the concept of supply and demand with the goal of always having a packed house. The software program would calculate in real time the ratios between time, available seating and prices. As performance time nears, prices would continue to decrease (or increase) until all tickets are sold.
Of course, this solution alone wouldn’t be enough to solve all of the orchestra’s financial woes, but I believe it would help. Playing for full houses would also improve morale.
Another idea is to have the conductor’s salary be two to three times higher than the players’ salaries, instead of the current 10-times-plus. Since the musicians are already world-class, it isn’t necessary to also have a “world-class “ conductor. Any competent, though lower-profile, conductor would be more than adequate to lead such fine musicians.
Finally, don’t have any “dark” nights at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. On nights the orchestra is not performing, rent the venue out, again for fees that are based on supply and demand, with the goal of having the building almost constantly in use.