Seattle Symphony set to break even, but challenges remain

Posted on: August 27, 2012

In Friday’s (8/24) Seattle Times, Michael Upchurch writes, “The Seattle Symphony appears close to breaking even for the first time in four years, Executive Director Simon Woods says, crediting cost-saving measures and donors. Woods said that by the end of the symphony’s fiscal year—Aug. 31—its annual budget will be ‘at or around breaking even for the first time in four years, which is a really, really significant achievement.’ The total operating budget for the 2011-12 season was $24.5 million. However, the symphony is burdened with $11 million in accumulated debt and is also faced with the task of increasing its endowment. … Cost-cutting (‘artistic, marketing, administrative costs, consultants, you name it’) and what Woods describes as ‘an incredibly successful year of fundraising’ helped balance the annual budget. Roughly $9.7 million was raised, he said, the largest amount raised in the annual fund in more than 10 years. … In order to tackle the deficit, the symphony will continue to reduce expenses and raise money. News on ticket sales is relatively good; 45 percent of the orchestra’s income comes from ticket sales. Subscriber numbers have been encouraging, too. During [Music Director Ludovic] Morlot’s debut season, the symphony’s roster of subscribers rose from 27,000 to 28,000.”

Posted August 27, 2012