Chicago Symphony Reports Smaller-Than-Expected Deficit, Previews 2006-07 Season

Classic Arts News   Chicago Symphony Reports Smaller-Than-Expected Deficit, Previews 2006-07 Season
The Chicago Symphony posted a deficit of $1.3 million on a budget of $56.3 million in 2004-05, the orchestra announced at its annual meeting yesterday.

The deficit was considerably smaller than last year's shortfall of $2.3 million, and $700,000 lower than the deficit projected in the orchestra's budget plan. The orchestra continues to expect to balance its budget by the 2006-07 season, according to a press release.

The CSO attributed the better-than-expected results to cost-cutting and a 4 percent increase in contributions. Ticket sales fell slightly compared to the previous year, in part because of slow sales last fall, when a musicians' strike seemed possible. Revenues from ticket sales fell by 5.7 percent, reflecting discounted prices for several new CSO series.

"While sustaining the high standard of musical excellence for which the CSO is known, the [orchestra] has taken great strides in improving the efficiency of our operations, continuing to explore ways to contain costs without sacrificing quality," chairman William H. Strong said. "We have applied creative approaches to fundraising and marketing efforts, maximizing earned and contributed revenue opportunities. We have also diversified the types of concert presentations offered within our season with added focus on programs designed to attract new listeners into the fold."

The CSO extended Strong's term as chairman through October 2006, and chose William A. Osborn, chairman of the Northern Trust Corporation, to succeed him.

Also at the meeting, the CSO released some details about its 2006-07 season. Highlights include an opening-night gala featuring cellist Yo-Yo Ma; a wide-ranging celebration of Ma's Silk Road Project; world premieres by Christian Lindberg, Jeffrey Mumford, James Primosch, and Mark-Anthony Turnage; a tour to Florida; and a three-week residency by principal guest conductor Pierre Boulez.

The CSO also said that Boulez would take on additional responsibilities after the departure of music director Daniel Barenboim at the end of the current season, including assisting with auditions and other personnel issues.

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