Detroit Symphony’s landmark Florida tour turns small profit

Posted on: February 16, 2010

In Tuesday’s (2/16) Detroit Free Press, Mark Stryker reports from Sarasota, Florida, “Some standing ovations in the concert hall are pro forma, classical music’s version of grade inflation. But the cheers and bravos exploded like firecrackers Saturday at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, instantly launching about 1,200 patrons from their seats. Music Director Leonard Slatkin had just led the Detroit Symphony Orchestra through a deliriously lyrical and dynamic performance of Rachmaninoff’s epic Second Symphony. … The DSO’s trip to Florida, which ended Sunday in Miami, was the orchestra’s first tour since 2001 and its first chance to dazzle out-of-towners since Slatkin assumed the artistic reins last year. Schlepping across the Sunshine State might not be as sexy as marching through Europe. But it was still a landmark week for an orchestra trying to shake off the malaise of a $3.8-million deficit, sharpen its artistic edge, raise its national profile and forge deeper ties with its donors, wherever they happen to live. … Touring remains a key marker for orchestras with world-class ambitions, but it’s expensive. The Florida tour was budgeted at $500,000 for 136 musicians, staff and crew. Costs were met by a $150,000 gift from Palm Beach resident Marjorie S. Fisher, widow of DSO benefactor Max Fisher, $40,000 from other sponsors and $427,000 in concert revenue. The DSO actually made a profit of about $120,000.”

Posted February 16, 2010