The press release (below) gives a positive spin of record fund-raising and ticket sales. But behind the upbeat message there is darkening concern of a level of spending that is running way beyond the orchestra’s means.
The CSO’s operating deficit soared to $1.4 million from $169,000 the year before. Operating expenses shot up from $78.1 million from $73.8m.
Watch those numbers. The incoming chief executive has a headache awaiting him.
CHICAGO—The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association (CSOA) released its fiscal year 2014 results at its Annual Meeting today at Symphony Center. The 2013/14 season marked the CSOA’s fourth consecutive year of record-breaking ticket sales and contributions, according to Jay Henderson, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the CSOA, who presented the artistic and financial highlights of the season.
CSOA Chairman Jay Henderson said, “Under the artistic guidance of Music Director Riccardo Muti, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra has had an exceptional year of music making at the highest possible artistic level. Complementing that work, CSOA community engagement initiatives continue to serve audiences of all ages and walks of life, a critical part of our mission. The CSOA Board of Trustees is committed to preserving the CSO’s legacy of artistic excellence and supporting the vision of our music director, Riccardo Muti, while maintaining the financial strength of this great institution. Thanks to the dedicated work of our music director, musicians, patrons, staff, donors, volunteers and Board members and their ongoing commitment to the CSO, we experienced record ticket sales and record fundraising results.”
Two commitments to the CSOA’s endowment, received in June 2014, from the Zell Family Foundation and the Negaunee Foundation, of $17 million and $15 million, respectively, helped to secure the long-term future of the CSOA by providing support in perpetuity for both the naming of the position of CSO music director and the naming of the Negaunee Music Institute at the CSO. In addition, a pledge of $2 million from Randy and Melvin Berlin to create the Berlin Family Fund for the Canon, will support the performance of music by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert and other great composers of the Classical era.
At the close of the 2013/14 season, more than 13,000 individuals participated in supporting the CSO through philanthropy compared with 10,400 in the previous year.
Ticket Sales and Earned Revenue for Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 2014
- Ticket sales totaled $22.4 million for 240 CSOA-presented events, a slight increase over last year’s amount of $22.3 million, marking the fourth consecutive year of record-setting sales.
- In addition to ticket revenue, other earned revenue of $7.3 million was taken in from tour fees, merchandise sales, space rentals, royalties, recording fees and miscellaneous activities.
- Nearly 386,000 tickets were sold for 240 ticketed concerts*.
- Approximately 454,000 people attended CSOA performances and presentations at Symphony Center and in other venues in greater Chicago last season, including 185 free events such as Civic Orchestra of Chicago concerts, the CSO’s All-Access chamber music programs, education programs and open rehearsals for students and community groups, as well as the CSO’s free performance in Cicero.
- Subscription renewal rate for CSO series in the 2014/15 season is over 90%.
* Figures exclude concerts at Ravinia or on tour anywhere outside the Chicago area.
Contributed Revenues for Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 2014
- During the 2013/14 season, overall contributed revenue totaled $57 million.
- General operating support to the CSO totaled $30.2 million—an increase over last year’s record-setting total of $29.8 million. Individual philanthropy totaled $20.6 million, corporate sponsorships and partnerships totaled $5.9 million, and contributions from foundations and government agencies totaled $3.7 million.
Financial Information for Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 2014
- Operating revenues totaled $76.6 million, a 4% increase over FY13’s $73.6 million.
- Operating expenses totaled $78.1 million, resulting in an operating deficit of $1.4 million.
- Total assets increased by $56 million to $529 million, and net assets increased by $57 million to $323 million, due to an increase in contributions and investment returns.
- Endowment investments were $288 million.
- Under the oversight of the Investment Committee, the CSOA’s long-term endowment returns continue to rank among the highest of comparable funds with a one-year return rate of 18% and a 15-year return rate in the top 7% of comparable funds.