Among the year's worst trends was the tendency of orchestras to go out of business. But while orchestras were dying in Miami and Kansas City and suffering serious financial crises from San Diego to Detroit, at least one new orchestra with an internationally famous music director was born in a fairly improbable place: the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, located in Hagerstown and conducted by horn virtuoso Barry Tuckwell. Meanwhile, the National Symphony Orchestra, facing an enormous and mounting deficit, announced several developments. The National Endowment for the Arts increased the orchestra's funding, in a year when most grants were being reduced, in recognition of dramatic improvements in its management. And the orchestra's members, responding to the same management changes, agreed to accept a wage freeze that will give the orchestra "breathing space" to try to stabilize its funding.

Opera companies in financial trouble ranged from the New York City Opera and the Chicago Lyric at the upper end of the financial spectrum to the Washington Civic and the National Lyric Opera on the local, low-budget level. The situation has improved in Chicago but is still doubtful elsewhere. It is possible that the Washington Civic Opera has given its last performance, although two more productions have been announced for this season.