Illinois orchestras reinvent themselves

Posted on: March 28, 2014

In Thursday’s Journal Star (Peoria, Illinois), Steve Tarter writes, “Symphony orchestras are changing with the times. They’ve had to, said Susan Hoffman, the executive director of the Peoria Symphony Orchestra with 30 years of experience in the orchestra industry. ‘The economy hit everyone hard in the orchestra field,’ said Hoffman, who’s had the Peoria job for two years. She previously served as the executive director of the Adrian Symphony Orchestra in Michigan and then spent three years with the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra.… ‘The focus is on audience development, finding ways to reach a broader segment of the community,’ said Hoffman.… But there’s more than one classical music venue in central Illinois. Next month, the Heartland Festival Orchestra concludes its fifth season at Five Points Washington. Heartland audiences average between 750 to 800 people while the group’s annual budget ‘hasn’t broken $300,000 yet,’ said David Commanday, Heartland’s artistic director.… ‘We’ve been able to reinvent the product a little bit and it’s proved popular. We’ve been in the black all five years,’ he said.… ‘We have a great venue in Washington; we offer live video during the performance, sometimes live dancing and we make a commitment to local charities. We’ve mixed it up,’ he said.”

Posted March 28, 2014