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2016/2017 Annual Meeting Minutes

Monday, November 14, 2016
11:00 am
On Stage – Powell Hall
718 N. Grand
St. Louis, MO 63103

PDF Version


Members of the Corporation
Vicki Altvater
James Anderson
Steve Baldwin
Robbie Beaty
Ted Beaty
Barry Beracha
Darrell Berg
David Blanton
Thriess Britton
Cara Crocker
Carlos Daughaday
Joyce Daughaday
Danna Ellison
Darryl Fabick
Sara Fabick
Carolyn Farrell
Dorothy Fleck
Kate Francis
Walter Galvin
Carol Gast
David Gast
Gary Godwin
Carol Gravens
Daniel Gravens
Gracie Grifin
Darin Groll
Carol Gronan
Harvey Harris
Carolyn Henges
Milton Hieken
Marilyn Holmes
Robert Hormell
Marjorie Ivey
Gayle Jackson
Robert Jensen
Lawrence Katzenstein
Jo Ann Kindle
Beverly Kinkade
Nicholas Kouchoukos
Linda Lee
Dan Luedke
Ken Ludemerer
Gerry Malzone
Elizabeth Mannen
Brenda Melson
David Miskit
Mark Mittleman
Ginger Mulanax
Robert Mullgardt
Tim Myers
Noèmi Neidorff
Tom O’Meara
Kathy Osborn
Odessa Owens
Farnell Parson
John Pieper
Gordon Philpott
Cynthia Prost
Mabel Purkerson
Ruth Rangel
Kent Reynolds
Peggy Ritter
Mary Ann Robinson
Gary Sanders
Steve Savis
Michael Scully
Janice Seele
Walter Shifrin
Ray Simon
Sherry Sissac
Antoinette Smith
Gerald Smith
Jolynn Smith
Marjorie Smith
Steve Smith
Dave Steward
Thelma Steward
Georgia Strett

Ann Sullins
Holden Thorp
JT Tvrdik
Susan Veidt
Phoebe Dent Weil
Carl Wellman
Dan Wessel
Peri Widener
Emily Williams
Robert Williams
Susan Yates
George Yeh
Libby Yunger

Jay Accola
Mary Balmer
Dawn Berkbigler
Donna Bess
Anne Marie Block
Elsbeth Brugger*
Alexander Bryant
Lesley Chaney
Heather Collins
Adam Crane*
Dianne Darwin
Rita Doerr
Bret Dorhout
Laura Dwyer
John Easley*
Julie Ferrie
Marianne Franz
Michael Gandlmayr
Roberta Gardner
Evelyn Garren
Jim Garrone
Mary Heibling
Carrie Hendricks
Jessica Ingraham
Jeff Jaeger
Anthony Kiekow
Anna Kuwabara
Kristin Lamprecht
Mary Laurent
Suzanne Leek
Betsy Malinak
Carolyn Mues
Jay Perry
Tina Polette
Kate Poss-Morency
Karen Schleicher
Cynthia Schon
Hank Skolnik

Scott Andrews
Felicia Foland
Huang Tzuying
Tim Myers
David Robertson*
*Denotes staff member who is also a member of the Corporation

Welcome and Remarks – Barry Beracha, Chair

Mr. Beracha welcomed everyone and thanked them for attending the 2015-2016 Annual Meeting. He also thanked everyone for their exceptional support.
He said the St. Louis Symphony achieved signifiant artistic achievements and community impact during the 2015/2016 season. It had its strongest financial results and a balanced cash operating budget for the first time this century. Mr. Beracha said as we continue to build a strong board, expand audiences and receive more support for our organization, there are still challenges ahead.

Our progress on our 5 areas of focus– under our 3 strategic plan goals - are:

  1. Music and Brand: Support artistic excellence and our place in the realm of US orchestras.
  2. Audience and Community: Expand and grow our audience at Powell Hall and in the community.
  3. Culture and Capacity:
    1. Strengthen our financial position;
    2. Create a stronger and more engaged Board of Trustees;
    3. Get recognition for the above.

Mr. Beracha said he is entering his fourth and final year as Chair, and said it is a pleasure to serve this community in this special role.

Approval of Minutes – Mr. Beracha
Mr. Beracha asked for approval of the minutes from last year’s annual meeting on November 12, 2015. A motion was made, seconded and passed unanimously.

Treasurer’s Report – John Tvrdik, Member, Audit & Finance Committee
Mr. Trvdik reviewed the financial highlights from FY16. He said overall there were significant improvements in operating results with our net operating results at an $862k loss, favorable to FY15 results by $762k or 46.9%. In terms of adjusted operating cash results, FY16 showed a positive result of $127k, favorable to the previous year by 119.4% or $782k. FY16 continued a favorable trend of smaller deficits over the last 10 years. In the years FY06-FY09 we had deficits in the $3.0-3.5kM range, FY 10-FY13 deficits were in the $2.5-$3.0M range and FY16’s result showed the first loss under $1M – a tremendous improvement.

The favorable FY16 results were achieved with revenue growth of 6.5% vs. expense growth of 3.4%. Earned revenue, primarily tickets and performance fees, was at $8,825k, favorable to the prior year by $659k. Live at Powell Hall ticket revenue was up 15.2% with two additional events. There was also higher touring revenue associated with the West Coast tour (+$360k). Contributed revenue was at $8,980k, representing an increase of $208k over prior year with Annual Campaign support up 3.9% with a few large new/increased gifts. The Endowment/Special Draw was at $9,820k, $733k over prior year due to higher average balances from the Realizing Greatness Campaign and FY16 market growth. Expenses were at $29,230k, $972k more than the prior year. Mr. Tvrdik noted 78% of our total expense is in people related costs; including salaries, benefits, artist and conductor costs. These people related costs totaled $22,906k in FY16, a $1,011k increase from the prior year primarily due to filling open staff positions and 2% rate increase for musician scale salaries and staff salaries.

Looking at the Balance Sheet, Mr. Tvrdik reported our total assets as of August 31, 2016 were $231.7M, $17.7M over the prior year primarily due to Realizing Greatness matching funds due from a foundation/donor, new endowment gifts and pledge payments, and a 6.7% return on investment assets. Our net Pension Liability is at $13.7M, $3.8M over the prior year, driven by lower discount rates. Total endowment stood at $173.0M, $5.8M over the previous year.

Governance & Nominating Committee Report – Kathy Osborn, Co-Chair
Ms. Osborn said the Governance & Nominating Committee recommends the following trustees to be re-elected to our board: Second term: Dino Cannella, Landers Carnal, Jim Forsyth, Gayle Jackson, Ned Lemkemeier, and Phoebe Dent Weil; third term: Norm Eaker, Nancy Galvin, Peggy Ritter, Thelma Steward, and Anne von der Heydt. Mr. Beracha asked for a motion to re-elect these aforementioned trustees to another term. The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.

President & CEO’s Remarks – Marie-Helene Bernard
Ms. Bernard welcomed everyone and thanked them for their part in the achievements of the St. Louis Symphony’s 2015-16 season, its 136th consecutive year and her first as President and CEO. The theme for last season, she said, was Music Tells a Story.

Ms. Bernard said our history, as an institution and cultural landmark, belongs to everyone – chapters present and past written with the loyal dedication, vision and generosity of friends who support great music-making, education and community programs year after year. In 2015/16, the St Louis Symphony experienced significant increases in attendance, ticket revenue and giving to its annual fund. She reported that we had our best ever Annual Campaign, with a total of $7.68M raised from 5,394 donors -- 30% of whom were new. Impressive results were also achieved in building the St. Louis Symphony’s Endowment Trust. As of August 31, 2016, endowment related assets under management exceeded $200 million.

Ms. Bernard reported overall ticket revenue increased by nearly 4%, to $6.87 million. The Live at Powell Hall series reached its highest level of attendance since inception in 2010 with 53% new ticket buyers to the St Louis Symphony. Live at Powell Hall programs varied from The Legend of Zelda, tributes to Michael Jackson and David Bowie, to film favorites Back to the Future and E.T. Classical audiences and sales increased slightly for the second consecutive year. We sold close to 95,000 tickets to classical concerts. 32% of classical concert audiences were new to us. We have a total of 91 musicians in the St. Louis Symphony, 54% of those musicians are women.

Ms. Bernard said overall, more than 250,000 people experienced the STL Symphony at Powell Hall and across the region through a total of over 232 concerts, including 116 free community concerts reaching close to 15,000 people and education activities reaching over 25,000 children and families. She said our musicians are an integral part of the community, sharing the gift of music with free (subsidized) community and education programs. They perform where people live, learn, worship and heal nearly every day of the St. Louis Symphony’s season. For many audiences, these programs have served as a starting point for their own musical exploration and future St. Louis Symphony experiences.

We performed for new immigrants, refugees and cancer patients, and also have deepened our impact and programs in the African American community of St Louis through In Unison. We have given opportunities to over 105 young musicians ages 12-22, from 46 partner schools in Greater St. Louis to learn and network through our Youth Symphony.

An estimated 360,000 people listened to the St. Louis Symphony’s Saturday night classical concert broadcasts on St. Louis Public Radio, 90.7 – KWMU. Approximately 160,000 people viewed the St. Louis Symphony’s Night at the Symphony broadcasts on The Nine Network.

Ms. Bernard said over the past year, she has gained a greater understanding of our orchestra and feels honored to lead this institution. A strategic plan initiative under the guidance of co-chairs and trustees Kim Eberlein and JoAnn Kindle helped us shape the framework for the next five years ahead with continued commitment to maintain the artistic excellence of our brand, better serve our audience and community, and improve the culture and build capacity for our organization.
Ms. Bernard expressed her deep gratitude to our Board chair, Barry Beracha, and our entire board of Trustees, Overseers, and Honorary and Life Trustees, for their leadership, generosity and support. They have stepped up considerably to make this past season one of the most successful in years and to guide Ms. Bernard in her first year as President and CEO.

Ms. Bernard also thanked Music Director David Robertson; Resident Conductor Steve Jarvi; Chorus Director Amy Kaiser; and In Unison Director Kevin McBeth. She also thanked our orchestra for continuing to demonstrate outstanding artistry and a true commitment to our audience and community. Ms. Bernard also recognized the staff, the unsung heroes of this organization, who are exceptionally talented and dedicated – without them, she said, none of this would be possible.
Ms. Bernard acknowledge a few partners who help us serve the community in innovative ways:

  • Emily Rauh Pulitzer and the Pulitzer Arts Foundation for giving us the platform to perform works of the 20th and 21st century with smaller components of our orchestra.
  • Mary Ann Lee, who made it possible for us to present a free concert in Forest Park to close to 20,000 people in September 2015.
  • Opera Theatre St Louis – we are grateful our Opera colleagues – General Director Tim O’Leary, Music Director Steven Lord, Artistic Director James Robinson and Board Chair Noémi Neidorff for continuing to make our partnership a truly innovative and unique one.

In closing, Ms. Bernard acknowledged our dear friend and supporter Jack Taylor. Jack’s generous and strategic investment established the St Louis Symphony Endowment Trust which inspired thousands of friends to support the Symphony. We would not be here today without Jack’s vision and support and the leadership of his children Jo Ann Kindle and Andy Taylor, and of his grandchildren. Ms. Bernard said she’d like to think that Jack would be very proud to see the positive results of last season, and how many lives of children and families we impacted and how many new people we brought to hear our great orchestra with Live at Powell Hall shows and classical concerts. Ms. Bernard said we are the stewards of this institution and it is our collective duty to make sure Jack and his family’s investment is preserved and flourishes for generations to come.

Our mission is to produce impactful musical experiences that enrich and transform people’s lives. Ms. Bernard thanked everyone for helping us make this a reality.

Music Director Remarks – David Robertson
Mr. Robertson said music is a directional art form leaving life-time memories and the support of our constituents makes this possible. He said the 2015/16 season featured an impressive array of programs under the thematic umbrella of Music Tells of Story. He said he is proud of our orchestra and its amazing talent and great commitment to the art form. Mr. Robertson recognized his artistic team: Amy Kaiser, Director of Chorus; Kevin McBeth, Director of In Unison, and Steve Jarvi, Resident Conductor and Music Director of the Youth Orchestra. Mr. Robertson said Mr. Jarvi recently ended his 3-year tenure with us in August.

Mr. Robertson said this was his 11th season and one marked by very important artistic collaborations, including:

  • Opening Weekend with Joshua Bell.
  • St. Louis Symphony soloists, who showcased the world-class talent that makes up our orchestra, including Erik Harris, Principal Double Bass, with the U.S. premiere of Tan Duns’ Contrabass Concerto: The Wolf, and Shannon Wood, Principal Timpani, performing William Kraft’s Timpani Concerto No. 2.
  • Des canyons aux étoiles...(From the Canyons to the Stars…) for which the St. Louis Symphony commissioned West Coast photographer Deborah O’Grady to create stunning visuals to accompany performances of this Olivier Messiaen piece. The SLSO performance on January 16, a world premiere of O’Grady’s visuals and regional premiere of Messiaen’s landmark score, welcomed a standing-room-only crowd.
  • Our third California Tour in seven seasons, from January 27 to February 2, during which the St. Louis Symphony performed Messiaen’s Des canyons aux étoiles....and Mahler 5 as well as John Adams’ Saxophone Concerto.
  • We partnered with the Shakespeare Festival at Powell Hall with a four-week tribute to history’s greatest playwright which included pre-concert lectures, Family and Education concerts, as well as an abbreviated version of The Tempest accompanied by Sibelius’ incidental music written for the play.
  • Scheherazade.2 recording with violinist Leila Josefowicz, live and in concert of this John Adams piece, for release this season.
  • Our important partnerships with the Pulitzer and Opera Theatre St Louis.
  • At the end of the 15/16 season, we said goodbye to three musicians:
    • Debbie Bloom, a member of our violin section for 43 years.
    • Barbara Orland, associate principal oboe, serving for nearly 40 years.
    • Warren Goldberg, member of our bass section, who retired after 54 years.

Mr. Robertson concluded by thanking the Taylor Family and saying how deeply grateful he is for the dedication to their SLSO.

Musicians Council Remarks – Timothy Myers
Mr. Myers said he is approaching his 34th anniversary with our orchestra. He said he has three adult children who are cellists, which fills him with pride. He is also proud, he said, when he hears our orchestra, which is at the top of its game. Mr. Myers said he has played with other orchestras in the United States and said we do not take a backseat to any of them. Mr. Myers said it is meaningful that the larger world is noticing us. Our performances of Messiaen was well received both in St. Louis and California. We are on the map with our recordings and our recent Grammy win as well as our regular Carnegie appearances. What we do, Mr. Myers said, is relevant.

Mr. Myers said orchestra members value the work we do with our community partnership programs, which bring a meaningful experience to everyone, everywhere and is evidence of the power of music.

Mr. Myers noted the institution has had to face some hard alternatives prior to the 2002 Taylor gift in terms of sustainability – keeping our doors open. Mr. Myers said such sustainability includes attracting and maintaining talent. He reminded those assembled that Jack Taylor said, “St. Louis needs a first class orchestra.” Mr. Myers said he is looking forward to upcoming collective bargaining negotiations with a resolution that will sustain our art form and musicians.

Presentation of the Mabel Dorn Reeder Honorary Chair – Marie-Hélène Bernard and David Robertson
Ms. Bernard recognized the special privilege we have of celebrating a truly exceptional program that honors excellence and artistry in the St Louis Symphony Orchestra while furthering professional development of our musicians and promoting ground-breaking research that will contribute to our understanding of the impact music can have in our lives. She said this program, established in 2010 through a $1 million endowment gift by the Mabel Dorn Reeder Foundation is the brainchild of our dear friend and SLSO champion, Mabel Purkerson. Dr. Purkerson’s relationship with the SLSO spans decades and she has been a patron, advocate and true friend.

She joined the Symphony Board in 1999 and in recognition of her devoted service and generosity was elected as an honorary trustee in 2008.

Mr. Robertson said the Mabel Dorn Reeder Honorary Chair is awarded every five years to a tenured member of the Orchestra who demonstrates exceptional artistry and leadership. The award provides recognition that celebrates the great talents of our Orchestra members and it provides a stipend to support professional development. Mr. Robertson said we are thrilled to celebrate the appointment of SLSO Clarinetist, Tina Ward, as the second recipient of the Mabel Dorn Reeder Award. Mr. Robertson said we often see and recognize soloists and principals and tend not to think of people in the middle of the section. He said at every level of our orchestra we have incredible people. He said Ms. Ward is supportive, looks at the organization as a whole and is always a friend. She is informed about how our organization works and when she speaks, her colleagues listen as she helps us all move in a positive direction.

Ms. Ward, along with her dog Krista, acknowledged and thanked Dr. Purkerson. Ms. Ward said she grew up personally and professional with the STL Symphony – and the organization has grown, too, both musically and as an organization. She said we are set for the future.

Ms. Ward said that six months ago Krista was paralyzed in an accident and her recovery is an example of resilience. Ms. Ward is taking Krista’s story into the community to inspire others. Her plans also include doing research on reeds to bring to the musical community.

Performance – Scott Andrews, Tzuying Huang, Felicia Foland
As a tribute to Ms. Ward, selections from Mozart’s Divertimento K.349b were performed.

Questions & Answers – Barry Beracha and Marie-Hélène Bernard
Q: Could we make unfilled concert seats available for voluntary contributions?
A: Ms. Bernard said this is challenging because if you give tickets away, there are always a number who don’t attend the concert. We have a big house with a lot of seats to fill and our approach is in audience development.
Q: Is broadcasting our concerts cannibalizing our attendance?
A: Ms. Bernard responded that broadcasting concerts brings music to more people and a greater enthusiasm is created by virtue of the broadcasts. Mr. Robertson said that often times people will attend a concert on Friday and listen to it on Saturday.

Recognition of Jo Ann Taylor Kindle - Barry Beracha, Marie-Hélène Bernard and David Robertson
Ms. Bernard said today we want to pay tribute to a very special member of the SLSO family who is concluding 16 years of service as a member of our Board of Trustees. Jo Ann Kindle joined the Symphony Board in 2001 at one of the most challenging times in our history---a true testament to her valor, and her dedication to our cause. In the decade and a half since she joined the Board, Ms. Kindle has been among our greatest champions. She has been steadfast and tenacious in her commitment and devotion to assuring that we sustain a world class orchestra for St. Louis. She has served as Vice Chair of the Board and a Member of the Executive Committee. She has served on the Music Director Committee and Realizing Greatness Campaign Committee and most recently, she Co-Chaired our Strategic Plan Task Force to help us chart the path forward. In all of these roles, she has provided wise counsel and countless hours of dedicated service.
Mr. Robertson said Ms. Kindle has also been extraordinarily generous in providing her own financial support for the Symphony and our programs. She has been an architect of her father’s and her family’s transformational philanthropy that truly saved our Symphony---but much more than saving us, the Taylor family, through the establishment of the St Louis Symphony Trust and their leadership gifts of endowment, have given us a financial stability and a blueprint that will assure the orchestra’s greatness for generations to come.

Mr. Beracha asked Ms. Kindle to come forward, and he, Ms. Bernard and Mr. Robertson presented her with a crystal, commemorating her service to our Board. Mr. Beracha said that no words can possibly express the full measure of our gratitude and affection for her and for all she has done for our St. Louis Symphony. He said the Symphony simply would not be where it is today were it not for her leadership and commitment. On behalf of our entire orchestra, staff, Board, volunteers and a grateful community of music lovers, he thanked her from the bottom of his heart.

Ms. Kindle said her father would be very happy. He appreciated all we do as a great symphony for a great city.
There being no other business, Mr. Beracha adjourned the Annual Meeting.