The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra finished its 2010-2011 fiscal year with a surplus of $46,000. There were many contributing factors. The musicians of the BPO had agreed to contract concessions over the previous two seasons, allowing the orchestra to get on solid financial ground in the current financial environment. Management positions were trimmed and streamlined as well. During the orchestra’s 2010–2011 75th anniversary season, overall attendance rose nearly 4%, with the orchestra playing to nearly 173,000 people at 119 concerts. Attendance for the educational program alone topped 40,000. Contributed revenue increased nearly 7% to $4.3 million, while the endowment fund grew to $26 million, up from $23.8 million. All of these positive contributing factors occurred while both state and local government support decreased. Corporate dollar contributions dropped 20%, as well.
According to BPO ICSOM delegate Dan Sweeley, the current season continues to see positive news. The musicians of the BPO agreed to a five-year contract in September, showing modest gains throughout the life of the contract. Not even halfway through the current season, subscription sales have already surpassed last year’s mark, hitting an all-time high of $1.75 million. There is also a 7.5% increase in total subscribers.
In preparation for upcoming negotiations, the musicians of The Florida Orchestra welcomed ICSOM Chairperson Bruce Ridge to the Tampa Bay area January 15–17 to share his advice and expertise. Delegate Warren Powell says that during a three-day visit, Bruce met with the orchestra committee, officers of Local 427-721, members of TFO’s management and the executive committee. He also met with the local arts critic, was the special guest at a Florida Orchestra Musicians Association meeting, and attended a TFO concert and rehearsals. Bruce’s presentation to the musicians was well received, and all who met with Bruce were very impressed with his preparation and knowledge of the local economic conditions, as well as his understanding of important orchestra issues, both local and national. His message of positive advocacy resonated with everyone who heard him. Warren sends Bruce profuse thanks from TFO musicians for his generous gifts of time and knowledge.
Oregon Symphony musicians are celebrating some excellent reviews of their first commercial recording with Music Director Carlos Kalmar. The recording has seen such success, including a debut on Billboard’s classical chart, that PentaTone is starting a second pressing of the hybrid SACD, “Music For A Time Of War.”
Musicians recently ratified a new three-year contract, but those aren’t the only stories in the news. The blogosphere was abuzz after the Oregonian reported OSO President Elaine Calder’s decision to withdraw from the League of American Orchestras. “It was a business decision about a discretionary expenditure … and we couldn’t justify continuing our membership.” ICSOM delegate Alicia DiDonato Paulsen reports that the OSO has ended the last two seasons in the black under Calder’s administrative leadership and is looking forward to three more recordings with Carlos Kalmar. In 2013, the OSO we will return to Carnegie Hall and will also play at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall for the first time.