In a surprise move, the long-time administrative leader of the Eugene Symphony is resigning from his job effective June 9.
Scott Freck is in his 11th season as executive director of the 57-year-old organization. An email sent out to symphony supporters April 13 says Freck announced his resignation at a board meeting on April 12.
The email quotes Freck as saying, “I feel it is the right time for me to seek out new organizational opportunities and creative challenges, while making way for new perspectives and fresh ideas from the next generation of arts leaders.” He plans to work as an arts consultant after taking some time off, the email adds.
His departure comes at a time when the symphony is looking to replace Music Director and Conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong, who has conducted the orchestra since 2017. Lecce-Chong will begin stepping down at the end of the 2023-24 season, staying with the symphony for one more year as an “Artistic Partner” while a replacement is selected, the symphony has said.
Freck is also leaving amid increasing financial concerns behind the scenes at the organization, according to two insiders who say the symphony is facing a $250,000 shortfall and may need to spend money from its endowment to stay afloat.
Freck says this isn’t true. “We have no debt whatsoever,” he says in an email. “We are currently projecting a deficit of approximately $226,000 for the fiscal year that ends on June 30, 2023. While not ideal, we are funding that deficit with cash reserves, as many arts organizations which are to able do so are also doing at this time.” He adds that the symphony has not discussed using endowment money to make up the deficit.
Eugene Weekly is working on a more detailed story about the symphony’s finances.
Freck’s salary in 2020 was $122,715, according to the symphony’s most recent federal nonprofit tax filing.
This story has been updated.