Louisville Orchestra looks to the future

Posted on: July 20, 2010

In two recent articles in the Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky), Andrew Adler focuses on challenges and future plans for the Louisville Orchestra. On Sunday (7/18), Adler writes that the orchestra, which he says has “habitually struggled to take a genuine long view,” is now “engaged in the most ambitious, and potentially the most far-reaching, self-examination in its history. The process is looking ahead to establish a series of goals to be fulfilled over the next 30 years…. The LO isn’t going this alone. It is one of seven orchestras selected to participate in a project, overseen by the League of American Orchestras, to revision themselves. Each ensemble has a ‘mentor’—the LO’s is Tom Morris, a former CEO of the Cleveland Orchestra and among the industry’s most respect analysts.” The Louisville Orchestra is participating in the League’s Institutional Vision Program. On Monday (7/19), Adler writes about the LO’s recent loss of the Fifth Third Bank as sponsor of its “Roarchestra” summer series of concerts at the Louisville Zoo, leaving a $80,000 budget gap. “The question when we lost sponsorship was,” says CEO Robert Birman, “do we just cancel the (summer) season?” …. Birman and his colleagues found a two-part answer: perform Thursday evenings at Ballard High School, and Saturday nights outdoors at the RiverStage barge in downtown Jeffersonville, Indiana….. ‘We were able to make deals with RiverStage and Ballard for extremely lost-cost access to those venues,’ Birman said. ‘So where we lost nearly $80,000 on Roarchestra, (now) we essentially broke even, because the cost is almost zero.’ Crucially, the orchestra shifted its programming emphasis from pop-oriented zoo-concerts—typically with expensive guest artists—to classical repertoire and local soloists.”

Posted July 20, 2010