But more trouble came when Dare left the group abruptly in December of 2012 for a post at the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. Once there, Dare was forced to resign amid accusations of fabrications on his resume. The Brooklyn Phil board recalibrated for life without Dare, cancelling two smaller events in favor of one Brooklyn Academy of Music concert in June of 2013, featuring pop singer Erykah Badu. The concert was a huge success, gaining headlines and an encore performance on a second night. But financially, it wasn't enough, leaving the organization roughly half a million dollars in the hole at the end of last season, the source confirmed. Across the country, similar financial challenges have hit some likely suspects, including the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and some unlikely ones, such as the grand Philadelphia Orchestra. After nasty and very public labor disputes and, in the case of Philadelphia, a chapter 11 bankruptcy, both of those groups appear to have weathered the storm. The Detroit held a hugely successful fundraising campaign, making it now appear an important symbol for that struggling city's potential for rebirth. Others, like the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra, the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra and the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, were forced to cease operations and reform under different names. Still other organizations have simply vanished.
nonprofit boards -- a lot of them are just trying to expand their social networks." Rosen agrees that at least some of what has gone wrong at groups like the Brooklyn Philharmonic are a function of mistakes made by the group's leadership. "To some extent that's a leadership problem -- being prepared, being able to be prepared for risk before you encounter it," he said. "Having said that, the nonprofit performing arts as a whole don't live with a lot of margin. They're not likely to live with a lot of reserves. For too many of them, the mindset is to break even. What's necessary is a really strong balance sheet to build strong reserves to weather these changes and to mitigate risk." If there is a trend among the fragile institutions across the classical world, Rosen says, it's one of a chronic failure to look beyond the immediate needs. "I think one of the patterns of financially fragile organizations is an unwillingness to confront what the fiscal reality is and to push off into the future the underlying problems," he said. "If you have successive persistent operating deficits, when not addressed and allowed to grow in scope, they begin to weigh down an organization and make it hard to put sufficient resource into their mission delivery." The author Flanagan pointed out that as far back as 1958, one of Rosen's predecessors wrote, "The story of a successful orchestra is, in reality, the story of an effective orchestra board." That appears to be never more true than now. -- Written by Carlton Wilkinson in New York Follow @CarltonTSC