More on the Gotham failure

Your 'hot spot' for all classical music subjects. Non-classical music subjects are to be posted in the Corner Pub.

Moderators: Lance, Corlyss_D

Post Reply
lennygoran
Posts: 14058
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:28 pm
Location: new york city

More on the Gotham failure

Post by lennygoran » Tue Oct 13, 2015 8:59 pm


jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26858
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Re: More on the Gotham failure

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Oct 13, 2015 9:44 pm

As unlikely as this may sound, there is the possibility that this is a matter of disorganization (no pun intended), by which I mean that Bennett was one of those people who just stuff bills in the nearest drawer if they stuff them anywhere at all, thinking to get back to them while attending to more interesting things than forwarding them to the treasurer for timely payment. I have known exactly that to happen to a non-profit (complete with the exorbitant New York fines for non-payment of unemployment insurance), though one smaller than this opera company. The amounts sound large, and given the standing of arts funding in general they are, but that budget is miniscule by most standards. It would not surprise me if the mismanagement ended up being at this basic a level. Now, heaven help the San Diego Opera, or rather let us hope that they have better day-to-day accountability in place than did the Gotham.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

piston
Posts: 10767
Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2007 7:50 am

Re: More on the Gotham failure

Post by piston » Wed Oct 14, 2015 6:30 am

Or Bennett, M.B.A. and M.A. in Arts Administration, is the kind of guy who's good at selling grand visions of international reputation, does not hesitate to double and triple operating budgets, and leaves behind a trail of over-grown bankrupt companies unable to pay their rent...

Before joining Gotham in 2006, he managed Dance New Amsterdam. It faced eviction three to four years later and it filed for bankruptcy in 2013.

Seriously. How can someone with plenty of experience and two grad degrees in administration fail to pay the bills because of some basic administrative neglect? Nah.
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

piston
Posts: 10767
Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2007 7:50 am

Re: More on the Gotham failure

Post by piston » Wed Oct 14, 2015 6:59 am

His successor at DNA, Kate Peila, already faced with a dance company on the verge of bankruptcy in 2008, made "herculean" efforts to cut costs and keep it afloat. But the extremely high rent (just under $69,000/month) on the Lower East Side, nearly half of which served to pay city property taxes, had become unmanageable by 2010, with a $750,000 deficit in rent alone! This is what Peila had done two years into Bennett's old job, but to no avail:
Peila took over Dance New Amsterdam in 2008, when the nonprofit was in the verge of bankruptcy. Since then, she has cut costs by about $700,000 and started new programs for at-risk youth, seniors and the disabled, she said. The 26-year-old studio has served about 32,000 people a year, offering classes, performances and an incubator for rising dance stars.
http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/2010070 ... npaid-rent
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

John F
Posts: 19927
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:41 am
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Re: More on the Gotham failure

Post by John F » Wed Oct 14, 2015 7:59 am

Let's be fair. A former operatic baritone, Bennett did outstanding work on the artistic side - numerous world and New York premieres, excellent productions, good casting mainly with younger singers. And he didn't just spend money, he raised it. According to the San Diego Opera bio, he "led a $5.7 million capital campaign for Dance New Amsterdam’s new home" at 280 Broadway.

But despite his M.B.A. in Arts Administration, he clearly had no head for business. Gotham Chamber Opera was so tiny, only 3 employees according to Bennett and including himself, that its board evidently decided not to hire a business manager or a director of development for fundraising, or to require serious annual audits of the books. The board, then, or at least its chairman, was negligent in its oversight of Gotham Chamber Opera's finances, and shares the blame for the death of their opera company.
John Francis

maestrob
Posts: 5649
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: More on the Gotham failure

Post by maestrob » Wed Oct 14, 2015 11:54 am

Good grief! Vincent La Selva ran the New York Grand Opera on a shoestring, paid his musicians and singers, managed to present all of Verdi's operas in chronological order (the only conductor in the world to do so), all while producing frequent Carnegie Hall concerts as well. He lasted 30+ years, and retired debt free.

It can be done, if you have sense. This guy is obviously dangerous.

piston
Posts: 10767
Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2007 7:50 am

Re: More on the Gotham failure

Post by piston » Wed Oct 14, 2015 2:40 pm

I certainly want to be fair and, based on John Francis' statements, he does seem qualified as an artistic director. But his responsibilities in San Diego are no less "general," including the all important financial ones, than they were in his two previous NYC positions. If he represented himself as a capable "business mind" in San Diego, contrary to the track record in NYC, then he is indeed a potentially dangerous general director.
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 34 guests