Manager Quits Symphony Post

Karine Beesley, executive director of the financially troubled Ventura County Symphony, announced her resignation Tuesday, saying she has neared the point of job burnout.

“Running an organization this size is just a stressful job and I’ve been here for a long time,” she said. “I just have lost a little bit of energy here.”

Beesley, 37, took over as the orchestra’s manager in 1987 when the group’s annual budget was $450,000. The budget has since expanded to $700,000 a year, outpacing ticket sales and fund-raising efforts.

Symphony officials estimate the orchestra will close out the 1993-94 fiscal year with an $85,000 deficit, the largest in the group’s 31-year history.


Although she described her position with the orchestra as “a happy marriage for the most part,” Beesley said the deficit and the strain of ongoing negotiations with the musicians union were factors in her decision to resign, effective Jan. 31.

Other factors included the recent flap over the symphony’s Duck Race fund-raiser, a wage freeze on her $38,900 annual salary, and the perennial scarcity of arts dollars in Ventura County.

“It has always been disheartening living here and seeing the lack of that kind of support for arts organizations, unlike in Santa Barbara, which has tremendous municipal and county support,” she said.

In June, the Ventura County district attorney’s office advised symphony leaders that the group was illegally publicizing its Duck Race fund-raiser as a lottery. After being postponed for two months, the event earlier this month netted about $6,200.


Prior to joining the symphony, Beesley served as executive director of the Ventura Arts Council, worked for the Ojai Festival and earned a master’s degree in arts administration from the University of Utah.

After resigning, Beesley said she plans to work as a consultant for smaller orchestras throughout Southern California, and regional arts groups.