Hawai’i Symphony’s transformation: on budget, attracting new audiences

Posted on: February 11, 2016

In the February issue of Honolulu magazine, Katrina Valcourt writes that five years after the Honolulu Symphony was liquidated in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, “The renamed Hawai’i Symphony Orchestra is not only on budget, it’s traveling to perform on the neighbor islands again, hosting internationally renowned guest musicians and attracting new audiences with its musicthatPOPS series.” The orchestra’s executive director is Jonathan Parrish, JoAnn Falletta serves as artistic adviser, and Paul Kosasa is chair of the board of directors. In 2009, “Steve Monder …  former president of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, flew to Honolulu to advise the Symphony Exploratory Committee…. ‘We had a very, very rough start,’ says Kosasa … including a bare-bones staff and a shortened first season in early 2012…. For the past three years, each season has ended in the black…. They’ve accomplished this by holding concerts less frequently…. The staff has also been reduced to be more efficient and leave the majority of the budget to the musicians’ salaries. ‘The musicians did make a huge sacrifice,’ Kosasa says. … The orchestra’s mission also includes reaching out to the community.” Says Kosasa, “We’re a different board, a different organization.  We’re a startup.”

Posted February 11, 2016

In photo: Members of the Hawai’i Symphony