Chicago Symphony Breaks Even for First Time Since 2003

Classic Arts News   Chicago Symphony Breaks Even for First Time Since 2003
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra has balanced its budget for the first time in four years, the orchestra announced yesterday.

The orchestra experienced over 85 percent paid capacity in its 2006-07 season for the second year in a row. Approximately one third of its Main Series concerts were sold out or topped 95 percent paid capacity. Overall ticket and subscription sales, for series such as Beyond the Score and Afterwork Masterworks, continue to rise as well.

Beyond the Score, which offers concertgoers a more comprehensive listening experience through visuals and narration presented before a musical performance, jumped 84 percent in subscriptions from last year.

Targeting busy commuters through casual concerts starting earlier in the evening, Aftework Masterworks saw a 71 percent increase in ticket sales; subscriptions rose 45 percent.

MusicNOW, the orchestra's contemporary music series, saw its first sold-out performance in June, which featured Dawn Upshaw in Osvaldo Golijov's Ayre. Tickets sales for the series were nearly twice that of last season's.

Student attendance has also more than quintupled since 2004, thanks in part to $10 students tickets available online.

Deborah Card, president of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association, said that the orchestra can attribute at least some of its fiscal success to Yo-Yo Ma's yearlong Silk Road Chicago project, the Associated Press reported today.

The AP also reported an official saying that the orchestra will not know whether it made a profit on its $57.6 million operating budget until the fall.

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