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SALARIES DROP, PRICES GO UP IN EVER-IMPERILED ART SCENE

John Frohnmayer, who steps down on May 1 after a stormy three years as director of the National Endowment for the Arts, made the following statement when announcing his departure:

"I believe that adequate federal government support of the arts, free of content restrictions, is vital to our educational, economic, community and intellectual success as a country."When I leave government, I expect to work in the private foundation or legal world for the growth and enrichment of our society - for quality art, for less hate and for a generosity of spirit that allows us to live with our differences in real community."

- THE WHITE HOUSE PIANO, a 54-year-old Steinway, was sent to the Steinway & Sons Restoration Center in Queens, N.Y. for renovation and is now back in Washington. Steinway did the work, worth $15,000, free of charge.

The piano, No. 300,000, manufactured by Steinway, was given to the White House during the tenure of Franklin Roosevelt. It is a nine-foot mahogany grand, stretched seven inches more to accommodate elaborate decoration in gold leaf. It was presented by Theodore Steinway, son of the founding Steinway, in 1938, and Joseph Hoffman played the first concert.

- ROCHESTER PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA musicians will take salary cuts and three weeks of unemployment to cope with the orchestra's projected $200,000 deficit. The reductions will save about $160,000, and layoffs of some office workers may be needed to make up the remaining $40,000.

The agreement negotiated with the musicians' union would drop their base salary from $36,015 to $32,886 this season, but it would rise to $38,475 in the 1993-94 season. The orchestra finished last season with a $1.8 million deficit.

- PRICES AT THE MET have gone up their customary six percent next season, but some 100 subscribers have had their bill doubled, due to reconfiguration. Joseph Volpe, general manager, says that all seats with a full view of the stage are now considered prime seats. Top prices are now $117 on Saturdays, with the least expensive balcony seats going for $13. Volpe cites the need to generate as much revenue as possible with shrinking government subsidies.

- PRICELESS MANUSCRIPTS of works by Puccini, Chopin and other composers, including scores signed by Beethoven and Mozart, were destroyed in a fire that gutted a block-long building in Burbank, Calif., where rare memorabilia of the music world was being preserved. Arson is suspected.

Losses in the fire at the Ledler Foundation were estimated at $7.5 million, to the building and collection amassed during 40 years by Lloyd E. Rigler, 79 and his associate, the late Lawrence Deutsch, who together founded Adolph Meat Tenderizer. Both were generous patrons of the arts.

Among the items in the 20,000-square-foot aluminum and glass building were every New York Metropolitan Opera program dating back to 1884 and letters and other documents written by composer Richard Wagner, tenor Enrico Caruso and other prominent figures in music history.