Artistic Highlights Recognized; FY 14 Results, New Board Members Announced

(ST. LOUIS) At its Annual Meeting today, the St. Louis Symphony’s Board of Directors recognized the past year’s artistic achievements, including Music Director David Robertson’s contract extension, an acclaimed recording and a Carnegie Hall triumph.  The financial summary for Fiscal Year 2014, which achieved the smallest deficit in 14 years, was also reviewed.  And the Board announced five new  members:  Paul Arenberg, Dr. Steve Baldwin, Dino Cannella, Phoebe Dent Weil and Peri Widener (biographies below).

“With our community’s generous support, the St. Louis Symphony once again proved our city has one of the best orchestras in the world, and it just keeps getting better,” said Barry Beracha, Chairman of the Board.  “Music Director David Robertson’s artistic leadership, paired with the consistent, careful stewardship of our financial resources, ensures that we will continue to secure the greatness of the St. Louis Symphony for years to come.”

Key artistic initiatives in FY14:

  • David Robertson Contract Extension

In March 2014, the St. Louis Symphony announced it had extended David Robertson’s contract through the 2017-2018 season. Robertson is currently in his tenth season as Music Director and to mark the occasion, the Symphony will feature 50 musician soloists throughout the 2014-2015 season, an unprecedented number.

  • City Noir Release

Nonesuch Records came to Powell Hall in fall 2013 to record the performances of a new John Adams work, Saxophone Concerto, a St. Louis Symphony co-commission.  Nonesuch released the concerto, along with the Symphony’s previously recorded performance of Adams’ City Noir, on a CD that came out in May of 2014.  NPR selected the recording as one of its top 25 so far in 2014, and said of the CD “…the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and conductor David Robertson are born naturals for this music, turning in fresh, dynamic and invigorating performances.”

  • Peter Grimes Performance at Carnegie Hall

The St. Louis Symphony’s rousing performance of Britten’s Peter Grimes, performed at Carnegie Hall on what would have been the composer’s 100th birthday, made the New York Times Top Ten List of Best Classical Performances in 2013, calling it “…as involving as any production you could imagine…”

  • John Cage Premiere

The St. Louis Symphony performed the American premiere of Cage’s Thirty Pieces for Five Orchestras at the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts in January of 2014.  The symbiotic relationship between visual art and music was on full display during the one-night only event, which garnered national attention and critical acclaim. The Los Angeles Times called the performance “…a dream.”

Fiscal Year 2014 results

The FY14 numbers, reflecting continued progress, show increased endowment totals and the smallest deficit in at least 14 years.

“These numbers are among the best and most successful of my 11-year tenure here at the St. Louis Symphony,” said St. Louis Symphony CFO Jim Garrone.  “We must be vigilant to ensure the upward trajectory continues, but the past year reflects our financial performance to be on a path of solid improvement."   

Overall Financial Results

  • The operating deficit was $2.2m, an improvement of $408k compared to the FY13 operating deficit of $2.6m.  It’s the smallest deficit in at least 14 years for the St. Louis Symphony.  The planned deficit is being funded by special donor contributions and the Symphony carries no accumulated deficits from prior years.
  • Regular operating revenues totaled $26.1m, down from $27.0m due to special touring support in FY13. 
  • Total expenses were down $1.3m due to touring activities in FY13.

Overall Reach and Community Impact

  • Total earned revenues totaled $8.3m including $6.7m in ticket sales.
  • Overall ticket revenue was up 2.7%
  • Attendance for Classical and Live at Powell Hall was approximately 150,000.  Thousands more attended Education/Family, Holiday, Pulitzer Foundation Series and Tour concerts.  Approximately 71,500 people enjoyed St. Louis Symphony musician performances at free community programs, as well as St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra concerts.  
  • An estimated 360,000 people listened to the St. Louis Symphony’s Saturday night classical subscription concert broadcasts, either live on St. Louis Public Radio, 90.7 – KWMU or on its live internet stream. 
  • Approximately 160,000 people viewed St. Louis Symphony broadcasts on The Nine Network.
  • A new, enhanced website was launched totaling nearly 2.8m visits.

Community Support

  • Total contributed pledges of $31.9m were received during the year
    • $8.6m in operating support through the Annual Campaign, Gala and volunteer activities.
    • $23.3m in endowment and capital support


  • At the end of FY14, the market value of the St. Louis Symphony Endowment was $169.4m, up 14% from $148.7m in the prior year, due to new contributions and a market return of more than 15%.

New Board Members

  • Paul Arenberg, Founder, Barclay Marine Distributor Corp.

Paul Arenberg is the retired founder and Chairman of Barclay Marine Distributor Corporation.  He holds a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and an MBA from Harvard University.  Arenberg has served as a board member for the Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago, and also served as Chairman of the Knowles Research Center at Northwestern University.  Paul previously was a panelist for the St Louis Regional Arts Commission and currently volunteers his service as a board member of Central Institute for the Deaf, the Scholarship Foundation of St Louis, the Cancer Support Community of St Louis and Opera Theater of St. Louis.

  • Dr. Steve Baldwin, Manager of Recruitment-Human Resources, Washington University School of Medicine

Steve Baldwin, PhD, joined Human Resources at Washington University School of Medicine in 2008 as Research Recruiter and currently serves as Manager of Recruitment.  Dr. Baldwin graduated from Washington University with a PhD in Physics.  Dr. Baldwin also holds a BS degree in Physics from Truman State University in Kirksville, MO and an MA in Physics from Washington University.  He’s volunteered with inner city children and the St. Louis community through Sunshine Ministries and Kirk of the Hills Presbyterian Church. 

  • Dino Cannella, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, BMO Private Bank  

Dino Cannella has more than three decades of banking and lending experience in the St. Louis area.  He is senior vice president and managing director of BMO Private Bank and previously served as Senior Vice President of M&I Bank. He earned a BA in Marketing from University of Missouri – St. Louis.  Cannella currently serves on the Council of Regents of Fontbonne University and the Board of Directors of the St. Louis chapter of the March of Dimes.

  • Phoebe Dent Weil, Director, Northern Light Studio

Phoebe Dent Weil is an art conservator who pioneered the field of sculpture conservation. Today, she is director of Northern Light Studio, which specializes in researching and teaching historic painting and sculpture techniques. Weil earned an MA in Art History and Art Conservation from the Institute of Fine Arts in New York.  She also holds a BA in Art History from Wellesley College and an MDiv in Pastoral Theology from Episcopal Divinity School.  Weil currently serves on the boards of the American Friends of the Anglican Centre in Rome, Kingsbury Ensemble and Opera Theatre St. Louis.

  • Peri Widener, Vice President and General Manager, Integrated Logistics, The Boeing Company

Peri Widener joined The Boeing Company in 1979 and has held a variety of management positions within the aerospace firm.  She is currently the Vice President and General Manager of Integrated Logistics, a division of the Global Services and Support business unit that provides support for a wide variety of military systems and platforms, including the F/A-18 Hornet.  Widener has a bachelor’s degree from Wichita State University and also holds an MBA from the Florida Institute of Technology.