CSO stays at par financially in 2015 FY

Mon Oct 26, 2015 at 10:52 am

By Lawrence A. Johnson

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra kept pretty much at par financially in the 2014-15 season, continuing a gradual rise in ticket revenue while still ending the orchestra’s fifth consecutive season with a deficit.

Ticket sales continued the small but steady increases of recent years with $22.7 million last season, a slight rise from $22.4 million in 2013-14. Under new Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association president Jeff Alexander, the CSO appears to be getting a handle on its ballooning budget in the Riccardo Muti era, cutting operating expenses to $72.7 million from last year’s record $78.1 million.

Still, with revenues totaling $71.4 million that wasn’t enough to put the CSO into the black with the orchestra posting a $1.3 million deficit, down slightly from last year’s $1.4 million shortfall.

The overall picture painted by outgoing CSOA chairman Jay Henderson remained a positive one. “The Chicago Symphony Orchestra has had an exceptional year,” said Henderson in a released statement. “The Board of Trustees is committed to preserving the CSO’s legacy of artistic excellence and supporting the vision of our Zell Music Director Riccardo Muti, while maintaining the financial strength of this great institution.”

Total assets remained at $520 million at year’s end with net assets of $304 million.

In other news Helen Zell was elected new chairman of the CSOA, and Yo-Yo Ma’s contract as creative consultant was extended for two additional years through the 2016-17 season.

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One Response to “CSO stays at par financially in 2015 FY”

  1. Posted Oct 26, 2015 at 9:17 pm by Ann Raven

    The CSO is one of my joys in life! I feel, however, that the current season is very conservative. I know of instances when people have not appreciated innovation in Chicago. They are keeping our CSO, our Lyric Opera and other aspects of Chicago culture from the excitement of performances in NYC, the west coast here and the cultural institutions in Europe. I don’t like it. The conservatives donate the $, control the boards, etc. But staying behind is boring.

    Hope you hear me. I mean the best!
    Ann Raven

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