At 50, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia aiming for financial sustainability

Posted on: November 5, 2014

In Tuesday’s (11/4) Philadelphia Inquirer, David Patrick Stearns writes, “With its recent national tour with Branford Marsalis, 90-plus albums available on Amazon.com, and a 50th-anniversary concert next May featuring a new organ concerto from its recently knighted music director, Dirk Brossé, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia would seem to have arrived at its landmark birthday due for a well-earned victory lap. Yet at its season-opening concert last month, board president Susan Schwartz McDonald looked out at the Perelman Theater audience and didn’t hesitate to describe the organization as ‘venerable … but vulnerable.’ … Its charismatic new executive director, Janelle McCoy, says … [the orchestra has an] accumulated deficit from past seasons … The orchestra has no endowment…. The core membership of 33 musicians is part of a pool of local players that has a particular pecking order but offers the freedom to perform elsewhere.” Though McCoy is “well aware that she walks a financial tightrope, … ‘The needs of the musicians come first,’ she said.” McCoy notes that the orchestra’s possible plans include a tour to the Far East and “expanding the orchestra’s venues to West Philadelphia and involvement in more grassroots community projects.”

Posted November 5, 2014