By ICSOM Chairperson Bruce Ridge

Each season, ICSOM maintains a list of positive news articles and studies that demonstrate the resiliency of our orchestras, and the sustainability of artistic organizations. This information can be used to demonstrate that success is occurring for many orchestras, and that success is achievable for organizations that are portrayed as being in a troubled position.

The latest Giving USA study, which reported continued growth in arts contributions, shows that in 2014, arts giving reached an all-time high of $17.2 billion. In terms of donations, arts and culture was Americans’ fastest-growing charitable cause in 2014, rising an estimated 9.2%.

In 2014-15, for orchestras in all budget ranges, there were many successes:

The Atlanta Symphony announced that it ended the season with a surplus, and raised $13 million [see Orchestra Newslets]

The Arizona Opera exceeded its fundraising goals

The Buffalo Philharmonic saw record season ticket sales and subscription revenues for the third consecutive year

The Charlotte Symphony received a $2 million gift

The Cincinnati Symphony raised over $26 million and signed a new contract that adds 15 new musicians over the next five years [see the July 2015 Senza Sordino]

The Dallas Symphony achieved a balanced budget and received a $5 million gift

The Detroit Symphony raised $1.4 million in one evening

The Houston Grand Opera exceeded its fundraising goal, raising almost $173 million

The Houston Symphony received a $5 million donation, the largest gift in nearly a decade

The Indianapolis Symphony saw ticket sales increase 15%, and subscriptions rose 24%.

The Memphis Symphony received a $1 million gift for education programs

The Minnesota Orchestra received $6 million in special gifts and embarked on a historic tour to Cuba [see the July 2015 Senza Sordino]

The Nashville Symphony set fundraising and ticket sales records [see Orchestra Newslets]

The Omaha Symphony saw record attendance

The Oregon Symphony set records for ticket sales and contributions, and its gala raised a record $700,000[see Orchestra Newslets]

The Pacific Symphony’s gala raised a record $1.6 million

The Richmond Symphony received a $1 million gift for outdoor concerts

The Rochester Philharmonic reported a 19% increase in single ticket sales

The St. Louis Symphony received a $10 million gift

The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra saw its highest attendance in 20 years

– Bruce Ridge

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