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Published: Friday, 6/13/2003

Beautiful music - together

When money is short, charitable organizations and cultural venues are quick to feel the pinch.

So it is with the Toledo Museum of Art, which has laid off staff and where officials are complaining that every time the Peristyle is used for a musical event they lose money.

The solution to the latter seems simple: Find ways to cut costs or raise rates to cover them.

The Toledo Symphony is in a similar fix, cutting staff, freezing pay, and otherwise cutting costs while hoping to maintain its outstanding level of quality.

The two cultural fixtures in Toledo intersect at the Peristyle, which, though owned and operated by the museum, has been home to the symphony since World War II.

Theirs has been a good marriage, especially in recent years, when they've been cooperating with one another in an exemplary way. Consequently we anticipate that the current negotiations over the cost of Peristyle performances will result in an amicable resolution.

Each needs the other. Although the Peristyle's acoustics have been challenged from time to time, it is a culturally enriching venue and a fine home for the symphony, though the orchestra continues to play at the Stranahan Theatre and elsewhere in northwest Ohio, in keeping with its mission. The museum, for its part, built the Peristyle in 1930, with $2 million from Florence Scott Libbey, and must offer music programs under the terms of her will.

Given the long association and mutual ties to Toledo of both institutions, the community hopes the museum and the orchestra can reach an accommodation.

Museum director Roger Berkowitz says that the museum loses money on every performance - about $500 or so. It would be a shame to jeopardize such an important part of Toledo life over a sum so relatively small.

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