‘Transformative’ gift for US orchestra

‘Transformative’ gift for US orchestra


norman lebrecht

September 17, 2014

In June, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra was gifted $32 million in one day.

Yesterday, the Seattle Symphony was handed a pay-in slip of $10 million.

Before the day was out, a former chair of Buffalo Philharmonic chipped in with a donation that music director Jo-Ann Falletta called ‘transformative’.

joann falletta portrait



We don’t yet know how much, but it’s several million dollars, swelling the orch’s endowment to a comfortable $32m.

Full story here from our pal on the spot, Mary Kunz Goldman.


UPDATE: Detroit Symphony has pocketed a $3.75 million gift for its neighborhood concerts.



  • Theodore McGuiver says:

    Good news. May this current trend continue.

  • Petros Linardos says:

    The rich are getting richer. For all the negative consequences on everybody else, does that lead to an increase in philanthropy? Sounds paradoxical but it may be supported by numbers.

  • Jeffrey Levenson says:

    Don’t forget Detroit receiving $375,000 for outreach.

  • Jeffrey Levenson says:

    That’s $3.75M. Oops.

  • william osborne says:

    It always good to see arts organizations given big gifts, but the erratic ups and downs of American arts funding is problematic. Steady funding that is predictable five years in advance is of better service to the arts.

    Another problem with private systems is that the distribution of funds is not always rational. And example is the relative small organization, Poetry Magazine, which was given $200 million from the Ruth Lily estate. They had no idea how they could even spend the money. Meanwhile, major organizations like the NYCO collapse due to a lack of funds.

    I don’t have time to research the numbers, but I remember reading that donations to the arts has not kept pace with the movement of wealth to top income brackets.

  • Here’s an article that attempts to put some numbers to it all and identify trends. It notes that giving has been growing for decades but…

    “Giving by the ultra-rich is significant but makes up only a small proportion of total giving. A recent report puts total annual giving by individuals in the U.S. at around two hundred and thirty billion dollars—about thirty times the amount given last year by the people on the Philanthropy 50 list. ”


    I’ll note that $230B is about 1.4% of the US GDP so it is a noticeable but fairly small economic activity.

  • harold braun says:

    Fantastic news!And now the same for Atlanta please.Plus some extra bucks to pay a one way ticket out of town for Mr.Romanstein.

    • Edgar Brenninkmeyer says:

      I would argue that Mr. Romanstein has the required means to buy himself a one way ticket out of town, and that he does not need a single cent of financial support towards a payment for such a ticket. There is the Greyhound bus, after all…

  • JAMA11 says:

    This is great. But $32m is not all that comfortable for an endowment. I mean, it’s certainly better than nothing. I don’t know much about their finances or annual budget.