CSO Reports Balanced Budget for First Time in Four Years

Classic Arts News   CSO Reports Balanced Budget for First Time in Four Years
Celebrating a string of successes, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association has finished in the black for the first time since 2003, posting an $113,000 surplus on its $58 million operating budget.

The association also reported increased ticket sales (up three percent from last year), 85 percent paid capacity in ticket sales for the second consecutive year, and surpassing its fundraising goal by four percent, attracting $18.6 million for its Annual Fund from over 13,000 individuals, corporations, foundations and government agencies.

Nearly a third of CSO main series concerts were sold out or exceeded 95% capacity; half reached 87% capacity. The CSO's 2006-07 season included over 230 musical events, including 155 CSO concerts, and a number of new media initiatives and collaborations.

Bernard Haitink and Pierre Boulez finished their inaugural seasons as principal conductor and conductor emeritus, respectively; an in-house record label, CSO Resound, was started; the orchestra returned to radio through the BP Chicago Symphony Orchestra Radio Broadcast Series and offered a free video download of its Beyond the Scores presentation of Bart‹k's The Miraculous Mandarin

CSO's Beyond the Scores series provides concert-goers with an examination of a single work through visuals, narrations and live performance examples, touching on its context in history and the composer's oeuvre; each event ends with a performance of the entire work. Subscriptions to the series jumped 84% over 2005-06.

Other figures surpassing those from last year abound. Net and total assets grew 13 and 7 percent to $296 million and $465 million, respectively; the endowment rose 15 percent to $233 million. The orchestra's operating expenses increased two percent, and 82% percent of its operating budget was allocated to concerts, programs, and educational and community activities.

The orchestra's ongoing music director search could also be over within half a year, CSO Association chairman William A. Osborn told Andrew Patner for the Chicago Sun-Times. "We'd like to do it sooner rather than later," he said

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