Impact of Hamlisch’s passing on Pittsburgh Symphony Pops programming

Posted on: September 4, 2012

In Sunday’s (9/2) Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Andrew Druckenbrod writes, “Symphony pops concerts have long been considered the lighter side of orchestra offerings, but they have been a revenue-generating heavyweight for years. In the wake of the Aug. 6 death of Marvin Hamlisch, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra will not only have to replace a dynamo on stage but a man who brought substantial revenue to the orchestra during 17 seasons. As its principal pops conductor, he was responsible for programming the entire [pops] season each year since 1994. ‘Pops is clearly an important part of our earned income,’ says James Wilkinson, PSO president. ‘There are far fewer concerts, but average attendance is higher and the average ticket price is 12 percent higher.’ … Although he commanded a hefty salary—around a half-million dollars—his personality was a major part of the appeal for audiences. ‘There are seven concerts that are not tied together other than through Marvin,’ says Mr. Wilkinson. This allowed him to bring in up-and-coming artists who commanded smaller fees. Hamlisch also was able to keep costs down by booking expensive big-name artists for all the pops orchestras he ran in Milwaukee, Dallas, Seattle, San Diego and Pasadena, Calif.”

Posted September 4, 2012