Yo-Yo Ma, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant since 2010, has agreed to a contract extension through the 2016-17 season, announced Riccardo Muti, CSO music director, and Jeff Alexander, CSO president, at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association’s annual meeting Oct. 22. Also at the event, the CSOA reported that the organization achieved record ticket sales for the fifth consecutive year and that Chicago philanthropist and arts advocate Helen Zell will become the next chair of the CSOA Board of Trustees, succeeding Jay L. Henderson, CSOA chairman since 2012.

Though the CSOA recorded a deficit of $1.3 million on operating expenses of $72.7 million, “The Chicago Symphony Orchestra has had an exceptional year,” said Henderson, pointing to the CSO’s record ticket sales, continued artistic excellence and financial strength.

Since his appointment as the CSO’s first creative consultant in 2010, Ma has worked to deepen the orchestra’s engagement with the Chicago community, to nurture a new generation of musicians, and to collaborate with other artists in bringing unparalleled musical experiences to CSO audiences at home and worldwide. In announcing Ma’s contract extension, Muti said, “He has been instrumental in deepening the CSO’s ongoing work in the Chicago community and in helping us to bring music to those who might not otherwise experience its power. There is still work to be done and I can think of no better partner in this effort than my friend, Yo-Yo Ma.”

During his CSO residencies, Ma works closely with the Civic Orchestra, the CSO’s training arm, and the Negaunee Music Institute, the CSO’s educational and community engagement division. “Culture inspires all of us to ask questions, to learn more about one another and to share the joy of creating community together,” Ma said. “I consider it a privilege to partner with the CSO, an organization that understands the power that music and culture have to transform lives. I am pleased and grateful to have the opportunity to continue my work as a Creative Consultant with the CSO and to collaborate with Maestro Muti, the Negaunee Music Institute and the entire organization. Together, we look forward to sharing the many resources of the CSO and the Civic Orchestra with our schools and with the whole city of Chicago.”

Helen Zell will succeed Jay Henderson as chair of the CSO Board of Trustees. | © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2015

Helen Zell will succeed Jay Henderson as chair of the CSO Board of Trustees. | © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2015

Also at the meeting, the CSOA announced:

• Ticket sales of $22.7 million, with nearly 369,000 tickets sold for 233 CSOA-presented events, an increase over the previous year’s $22.4 million, marking the fifth consecutive year of record-setting sales.

• Average paid capacity of 82 percent, up from 79 percent in the previous fiscal year.

• Additional earned revenue of $9 million from tour fees, merchandise sales, space rentals, royalties, recording fees and miscellaneous activities.

• Attendance of 483,000 at CSOA performances and presentations at Symphony Center and other Chicago-area venues in greater Chicago last season.

• A subscription renewal rate of 89 percent for the current season, one of the highest rates for a major U.S. orchestra.

• Contributions from more than 13,000 individuals, with 11,047 supporting the CSO’s Annual Fund, continuing a four-year trend of increased participation.

• Gifts of $7 million to the CSOA’s endowment, with the value of endowment investments totalling $282 million.

• Total assets of $520 million, with net assets at $304 million.

• Contributed revenue of approximately $36 million, with general operating support of $27 million (including $18 million in gifts from individuals, $5.2 million from corporate sponsorships and partnerships, and $3.4 million in grants from foundations and government agencies).

• Operating revenues of $71.4 million, with operating expenses at $72.7 million, resulting in an operating deficit of $1.3 million, or 1.8 percent of operations.

Along with Zell, the following individuals were elected as CSOA officers: Mary Louise Gorno and Robert A. Kohl, as vice chairs, and W. Robert Reum as treasurer.

In addition, eight individuals were elected to three-year terms on the Board of Trustees: Debra Cafaro, Ventas; Brian Duwe, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; Mark J. Larson, KPMG; Gerald L. Pauling II, Seyfarth Shaw; Kristen Rossi, Morgan Stanley Investment Banking Division; Steven E. Shebik, Allstate Insurance Co. and the Allstate Corp.; Liisa M. Thomas, Winston & Strawn LLP, and Terrence J. Truax, Jenner & Block. Outgoing CSOA board chairman Jay L. Henderson of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP was elected as a life trustee.

Also, 16 trustees were re-elected to additional three-year terms, and 34 men and women were made new governing members. Special acknowledgment was given to 26 individuals for serving more than 30 years on the CSO’s Board of Trustees, as well as to Arnold M. Berlin, for his 50 years of service as a CSOA trustee.

TOP: Jay L. Henderson, chairman of the CSO’s Board of Trustees, presides over the CSOA Annual Meeting. | © Todd Rosenberg Photography