Financial impact of pandemic at Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Posted on: November 12, 2020

“The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association announced a $4.4 million operating deficit for the fiscal year 2020 at its annual meeting, held online Nov. 10,” writes Howard Reich in Tuesday’s (11/10) Chicago Tribune. “That period–which ran from July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020–included the pandemic, which forced the cancellation of all CSOA-presented concerts since March 12. Total revenue from ticket sales, operations and contributions was $62.9 million, against operating expenses of $67.4 million.… Operating expenses originally were forecast to be $77.9 million but were reduced ‘through a series of companywide cost reductions implemented in the final quarter of the fiscal year,’ according to a CSOA statement.” CSOA President Jeff Alexander said the deficit “ ‘was $4.4 million after being thrown such a gigantic curve: the last 3-1/2 months of our season having to be canceled. And it was a season that was heading toward record-breaking ticket sales…. We had concerts scheduled in June that were already sold out in January.’ … In all, 110 paid CSOA events were canceled from March 12 to June 27…. The annual meeting also included the reelection of Helen Zell as board chair and the election of Mary Louise Gorno as chair-elect.”