Average attendance was 1,707, about half of the capacity of the cavernous (3,417-seat) Music Hall and down from 1,935 in 2003-04. Single-ticket sales remained steady, but subscriptions fell by 10 percent.
Despite the lower attendance, revenue was up 9 percent.
The CSO raised prices by 25 percent at the beginning of the season, and had expected a drop in ticket sales. In surveys conducted by the orchestra, however, former subscribers most often cited busy schedules as the reason for not renewing, with prices "a distant secondary reason," according to a statement.
The orchestra also attributed the drop to budget cuts at high schools, which have traditionally subscribed to Friday-morning concerts.
The best-attended performances of the year were May concerts featuring Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony, contemporary composer Jennifer Higdon's Fanfare Ritmico, and Shostakovich's Concerto for Piano, Trumpet, and Strings, with pianist Alexander Toradze and CSO principal trumpeter Philip Collins.
The Cincinnati Pops also saw a drop in subscriptions, of about 14 percent, but increases in single-ticket sales of 17 percent and in revenue of 11 percent. The orchestra averaged attendance of 2,296, the highest of any pops orchestra in the country.