Cincinnati Symphony’s big rebound

Posted on: January 22, 2014

“In the last five years, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra has had 21 sell-outs in Music Hall, boosted attendance by double digits and nearly doubled the number of donations to its annual fund,” writes Janelle Gelfand in Friday’s (1/17) Cincinnati Enquirer. “But success for an orchestra has to be more than balancing the books. Last season saw groundbreaking initiatives such as LumenoCity, the concert and digital light spectacular … and ‘One City, One Symphony,’ a program of listening parties and performances that galvanized the city around one musical work, Beethoven’s Ninth. Both were risk-taking ventures. But, [President Trey] Devey said, ‘If we are determined for greatness, we have to be a place of experimentation.’ ” Among positive recent changes at the CSO cited in the article are free digital downloads, live webcasts, commissioning new music, and forging new partnerships with the World Piano Competition and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. “In early 2009, the orchestra announced a budget stabilization plan—a necessity to survive, … and arts philanthropist Louise Dieterle Nippert made a transformational gift of $85 million…. Last year, aside from government bonds for the construction of PNC Pavilion at Riverbend, the orchestra eliminated all outstanding debt. It has also erased its liability associated with pension plans for its musicians and administrative team.”

Posted January 22, 2014

Photo: LumenoCity, the Cincinnati Symphony’s sound-and-light event. Photo courtesy of Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra