There was plenty of good fiscal news from the Philadelphia Orchestra Association's annual meeting this week. The orchestra's budget for the 2005-06 fiscal season stood at $43.6 million. The fundraising drive currently underway to increase the endowment by $125 million has raised $104.5 million to date. Operating revenue from tickets, fees and other items accounted for $21.5 million, up about 16% from the year before, according to the paper.
Fund-raising accounted for $14.4 million of last year's budget, up 10% from last year, while the endowment earned $7.8 million, a 22% increase. The combined endowment for the orchestra and the Academy of Music stood at about $166 million — $143.5 million for the orchestra (a $27.9 million increase over last year) and $22.4 million for the Academy (a $5.9 million increase), according to the paper.
But, notes Inquirer critic David Patrick Stearns, who sat in on the annual meeting, "as anyone might conclude from the blocks of empty seats at the orchestra's summer season at the Mann Center, not all is well." Attendance last summer was slightly higher than in 2005 (approximately 47,000) but that is in part because the orchestra gave 15 concerts at the semi-outdoor venue at Fairmount Park, up from 12 in 2005.
The orchestra will also reportedly face a challenge balancing its 2006-07 budget of $47,254,000. Orchestra president James Undercofler ended the meeting, reports the Inquirer, by outlining a five-year plan calling for educational and community partnerships and ethnic diversity among composers, guest soloists and orchestra musicians.
He also stipulated that the budget should eventually reach 50 percent earned revenue, 25 percent annual giving, and 25 percent from endowment. The Philadelphia Orchestra's numbers from 2005-06 are 47 percent, 33 percent and 18 percent, respectively.