CSO to go west?

Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 6:17 pm

By Lawrence A. Johnson

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is looking into establishing a regular concert series in the western suburbs, a CSO spokeswoman confirmed late Thursday.

Talks between orchestra management and DuPage County officials have been going on for the past six months. Still, the CSO spokeswoman emphasized that it is “too early” to discuss future activities in DuPage “or any other community.” In an emailed statement, she said “We are committed to our subscribers and downtown patrons and can reassure them that any decisions we are currently considering would not negatively impact them.”

In a story posted Thursday afternoon on the Crain’s Chicago Business website, CSO president Deborah Rutter is quoted as saying “We are trying very much as a healthy institution to see how we can sustain our business for another 120 years.” She added “We have an audience that comes to our (downtown) concerts from the western suburbs” and that the travel time “can be a barrier.”

While the CSO is not about to neglect its downtown Symphony Center home, the orchestra, like many ensembles, is clearly looking for additional revenue streams in a hard economy, and has dipped a toe in suburban waters the past two seasons with runout concerts to Naperville.

The CSO firmly emphasized that looking into new suburban concert opportunities doesn’t indicate a coming financial crunch as much as demonstrating sound business sense. “Entering into discussions about how we may best utilize our assets and reach into new communities is very much a part of who we are,” said the spokeswoman’s statement. “And, our discussions and research into how we may be able to serve the audience in DuPage County speaks to how we are a forward thinking institution.”

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