For the 2018-19 fiscal year, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association reported a deficit of $1.1 million on operating expenses of $70.2 million at its Annual Meeting on Oct. 23. That figure marks a slight increase from the previous season, which recorded a deficit of $900,000.
Last season, however, reflects the impact of a seven-week concert cancellation, with the loss of 50 paid events, due to a musicians’ strike. Ticket sales for 2018-19 totaled $18.5 million, a decline of nearly $5 million from 2017-18. Offsetting this decline in operating revenue were lower operating expenses of $3.5 million and increased philanthropic support of $1.3 million from the previous season.
Helen Zell, chair of the Board of Trustees, and Jeff Alexander, CSOA president, presented artistic highlights and operating results of the CSO’s 128th season at the meeting, held in Symphony Center’s Buntrock Hall. In addition, six new CSOA Trustees were elected to three-year terms, and officers of the CSOA board were re-elected, including Zell as chair.
“The Chicago Symphony Orchestra has been a cultural treasure for this community for 128 years,” Zell said. “Throughout the season, the quality of the musical performances exemplified the artistic excellence for which the orchestra is known, while efforts of the CSOA’s leadership put the organization on a path toward its long-term sustainability. The inspirational outpouring of support from the people of Chicago and fans around the world was a testament to the orchestra’s profound impact as a beacon for the power of classical music performance.”
“The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association honors the musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Riccardo Muti, and is profoundly grateful for the continued loyalty and generosity of our patrons and donors who provide tremendous support for our wide-ranging activities that reach audiences in our community and beyond,” Alexander said.
To read the complete Annual Report, click here.
Financial, investment and ticketing details for 2018-19:
• Total revenues were $69.1 million against total operating expenses of $70.2 million, with an operating deficit of $1.1 million.
• The total value of the endowment and other investments increased to $314 million from $303 million in FY18. Total assets at year-end were $503.1 million, and net assets were $267 million.
• General operating support to the CSO was $25.3 million, an increase of 3 percent from the past fiscal year. The total included approximately $18.9 million in gifts from individuals, more than $4.1 million from corporate sponsorships, partnerships and in-kind support and almost $2.3 million in grants from foundations and government agencies.
• A total of 10,247 individuals donated to the CSOA. Of those, 9,302 contributed to general operating support, including 2,619 individuals donating for the first time.
• More than 50 concerts were sold out. More than 276,000 tickets were sold for 167 ticketed concerts. The CSO at Wheaton series saw record ticket revenues, reflecting an increase of 12 percent over the previous year.
• The CSO Main series subscription renewal rate was 89 percent, one of the highest rates for a major U.S. orchestra.
Election of trustees and officers:
• Six new CSOA Trustees were elected to three-year terms: Lori Bradley, senior vice president of global talent management, United Airlines; Keith Crow, partner, Kirkland & Ellis; Stephen V. D’Amore, partner, Winston & Strawn; Geraldine Keefe, managing director in the industrials group/investment banking division, Goldman, Sachs & Co.; Thomas G. Kilroy, partner, McKinsey & Co., and Marlon Smith, managing director, JLC Infrastructure.
• Two new CSOA Life Trustees were elected: Laurence O. Booth, founder, Booth Hansen Associates, and Earl J. Rusnak, Jr., founding partner, Harris Associates.
• Seven Trustees were re-elected to additional three-year terms, and 29 new Governing Members were installed. Special acknowledgement was given to 30 individuals who have served on the CSOA Board of Trustees for 30 years or more.
• Elected as officers of the CSOA Board of Trustees were Helen Zell, chair; Mary Louise Gorno, Robert A. Kohl and Liisa Thomas, vice chairs, and Renée Metcalf, treasurer. CSOA staffers re-elected as officers of the CSOA Board of Trustees were Jeff Alexander, president; Stacie Frank, assistant treasurer and Karen Rahn, secretary.
• A moment of silence was observed for Trustees Marshall Bennett and Ruth Ann Quinn, who passed away during the 2018-19 season.