NY Phil raises $50 million for Jaap’s opening season

NY Phil raises $50 million for Jaap’s opening season


norman lebrecht

December 12, 2017

This press release is a masterpiece of understatement. Where else outside Manhattan do you find $50 million in loose change?

The New York Philharmonic today announced that it has successfully raised $50 million for a launch fund that will usher in a new era of fiscal stability and support the new leadership team of Jaap van Zweden and Deborah Borda. The Launch Fund was initiated by the Board of Directors, under the leadership of Chairman Oscar S. Schafer, Vice Chairman Peter May, and Development Chair Oscar Tang, with funds committed over the last few months by a small group of donors. The fund will lay the groundwork for a strong launch of Mr. van Zweden’s tenure and secure future for the Philharmonic. 

Music Director Designate Jaap van Zweden and President and CEO Deborah Borda said, “We both want to thank the Board and this incredibly generous group of people who are helping propel the Philharmonic into a strong future. These gifts will have a powerful and immediate impact on the Philharmonic — including balanced budgets over the next several seasons. We are grateful for these supporters’ vision and faith in this great Orchestra as we move into a vibrant new era. It is inspiring to know that we have such a loyal and supportive core, and we anticipate all that we can achieve together in the seasons to come.”



  • NotWorthAMillion says:

    Are they having trouble paying him already and he hasn’t even started tearing the place down yet?

  • William Osborne says:

    Money comes quickly for the wealthy in a private funding system, but its scope can be limited. NYC has two full time orchestras with expensive tickets (the Phil and the Met), and LA has one, while comparable European cities have 6 to 8 with tickets half the price. Here’s a list of examples:

    + London Symphony Orchestra
    + London Philharmonic
    + Royal Philharmonic
    + Philharmonia
    + BBC Symphony Orchestra
    + BBC Concert Orchestra
    + Royal Opera Orchestra
    + English National Opera Orchestra

    + L’Orchestre National de Radio-France
    + Orchestre de Paris
    + Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France
    + L’Orchestre de l’Opéra de Paris
    + Ensemle Intercontemporain
    + Orchestre de Chambre de Paris
    + Orchestre des Concerts Pasdeloup.
    + Orchestre Colonne,
    + Orchestre Lamoureux

    (The Paris Opera Orchestra has 170 members since the services must be rotated to meet demand. The last two orchestras are more marginal and have lesser status.)

    + Bavarian Symphony Radio Orchestra
    + Bavarian Radio Orchestra
    + Munich Philharmonic
    + Bavarian State Opera Orchestra
    + Gärtnerplatz Opera Orchestra
    + Munich Symphoniker
    + Munich Chamber Orchestra

    + Vienna Philharmonic
    + Vienna Symphoniker
    + Vienna State Opera Orchestra
    + Vienna State Radio Orchestra
    + Volksoper Orchestra
    + Klangforum Wien
    + Tonkünstlerorchester

    (The VPO and State Opera Orchestra use the same personnel, but the ensemble has 149 positions so that they can rotate the services.)

    + Berliner Philharmoniker
    + Konzerthausorchester Berlin
    + Rundfunk Orchester
    + Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
    + Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin
    + Orchester der Staatsoper Unter den Linden/Staatskapelle Berlin
    + Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin
    + Orchester der Komischen Oper Berlin

  • herrera says:

    it’s most likely not $50 million cash on hand, as unrestricted funds; most likely commitments to give over a period of time depending on conditions being met and earmarked for specific things.

    Nonetheless, it’s better to have than to have not, in whatever form.

  • Gary says:

    How much does Borda skim off the top?

  • David A. Boxwell says:

    You just know this will all end in tears . . . and much litigation.

  • Paul Wells says:

    Judging from the comments, there is never any good news on this site. Everything is taken as proof that every orchestra is run by fools, every audience is gullible and every musician is a hack who’s just in it for the money. If she’s a woman, she’s also wearing the wrong clothes. This site is secretly a gathering place for people who actually don’t like music.

    • John Borstlap says:

      One could also argue that people are so passionate about classical music that they are quickly disappointed and / or suspicious about professionals in the field.

      Norman may exaggerate here & there, in an attempt to draw attention, but there is no doubt that he is passionate about the music itself (as also appears from his books) and thus, is extra critical about behavior which seems to use the art form for ego purposes instead of the noble service it requires.

      It is a problem that has always been part of serious music making since it liberated itself from exclusive servitude to court, nobility and church. The main source is money, since this component is the bottom line of practicalities.