Atlanta Symphony Receives $1.25 Million for Musician Endowment Fund

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra has received a $1.25 million gift from Sally and Carl Gable to permanently endow musician positions, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

The gift to the ASO Musicians' Endowment Fund will help the orchestra reach its goal of adding eleven endowed full-time musician positions by the end of the 2017-18 season. In November, orchestra members, ASO, and its nonprofit parent organization, the Woodruff Arts Center, finalized a four-year collective bargaining agreement designed to address the orchestra's long string of annual operating deficits. Among other things, the agreement calls for ASO to boost the number of full-time musicians, which was reduced from eighty-eight to seventy-seven in the 2012 contract, to at least eighty-eight by 2018. Since the cost to endow a musician's chair in perpetuity is $2 million to $2.5 million, ASO must raise $25 million in endowment funds by 2018 to fulfill the terms of the contract. In December, the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation gave the Woodruff Center a $38 million gift that included an estimated $8 million to match endowment gifts to ASO.

Before they retired, Carl Gable was a corporate attorney and manufacturing business executive and Sally Cable was a church music director. Together, the Atlanta couple has served on the boards of a variety of arts organizations, including ASO, the Atlanta Opera, the Spoleto Festival USA, and the Carlos Museum.

"We have significant work to do," said Woodruff Arts Center president and CEO Virginia Hepner and ASO interim president Terry Neal in an announcement to center employees about the gift. "But we have great plans in place to help us achieve our goals."