St. Louis Symphony Highlights Artistic Achievements and Positive Financial Outlook In 2015

 Celebration of Music Director David Robertson’s 10th season
Marie-Hélène Bernard appointed President & CEO 

(ST. LOUIS – November 10, 2015)At its Annual Meeting today, the St. Louis Symphony recognized its artistic achievements and community impact during the 2014/2015 season. Among the highlights that were noted -- the St. Louis Symphony’s Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Recording of John Adams’ City Noir, a celebration of milestone anniversaries during the Symphony’s 135th season, and another Carnegie Hall triumph.

The financial summary for Fiscal Year 2015, which achieved improved overall financial results, was also reviewed. Progress has also been made on the Symphony’s endowment, highlighted by a recent $10 million gift from the Jack Taylor Family.

“In addition to milestone anniversaries for our artistic leadership, we were delighted by wonderful concerts featuring 50 soloists from the Symphony,” said Barry Beracha, Chairman of the St. Louis Symphony Board of Trustees. “We received stellar reviews for a memorable concert at Carnegie Hall and celebrated our 7th Grammy win – all made possible through the devoted support of our generous family of donors and friends. We also completed a successful transition of executive leadership and achieved our best overall financial results in many years.

“The leadership of new President & CEO Marie-Hélène Bernard and Music Director David Robertson, 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 highlights of FY15

Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Recording – John Adams’ City Noir

In February 2015, the St. Louis Symphony received the Best Orchestral Performance Grammy Award for its recording of John Adams’ City Noir. The Nonesuch recording includes two recent compositions by American composer Adams: the symphonic work City Noir, and the Saxophone Concerto, featuring soloist Timothy McAllister. Both works were recorded live at Powell Hall in 2013, with STL Symphony Music Director David Robertson conducting. This is the Symphony’s seventh Grammy Award.

Carnegie Hall

David Robertson and the St. Louis Symphony and Chorus returned to Carnegie Hall on March 20, 2015 for a program that included the New York premiere of Meredith Monk’s WEAVE, Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4 & Debussy’s Nocturnes. The New York Times  wrote, “[Robertson] brought his St. Louis Symphony, sounding superb, to Carnegie Hall…Mr. Robertson led a ferociously focused performance of Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony, the phrasing taut but natural as breathing.”

Season of anniversaries

The 2014-2015 season marked Music Director David Robertson’s 10th with the St. Louis Symphony, and to celebrate Robertson chose to feature Symphony musicians in a scope never before seen at Powell Hall, or anywhere else in the orchestral industry:  50 musicians gave solo performances or took part in solo ensembles throughout the season.

Other notable St. Louis Symphony milestones were celebrated including David Halen’s 20th season as concertmaster, STL Symphony Chorus Director Amy Kaiser’s 20th season, the 20th anniversary of the IN UNISON Chorus and program, the 45th season of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra and the 135th anniversary of the St. Louis Symphony, all of which coincided with the 250th anniversary of the founding of the city of St. Louis.

Launch of “Night at the Symphony” on Nine PBS

The STL Symphony celebrated the fifth anniversary of its partnership with The Nine Network with the launch of a new, monthly program, “Night at the Symphony.”

New President & CEO

Marie-Hélène Bernard began her tenure as President & CEO of the St. Louis Symphony on July 1, 2015. From 2007-2015, Bernard held the position of Executive Director and CEO of the Handel and Haydn Society in Boston, the nation’s oldest continuously performing arts organization. She had previously served as Orchestra Manager for the Cleveland Orchestra; President and CEO of the Canton (OH) Symphony Orchestra and Chief of Staff, Project Manager, and Orchestra Manager for the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Reach & community impact:

  • Classical and Live at Powell Hall attendance was approximately 150,000. Classical sales were up almost 4% in revenue & 3% in number of tickets.
  • Approximately 67,000 people enjoyed St. Louis Symphony musician performances at free community programs, as well as St. Louis Symphony Education/Family & Youth Orchestra concerts.
  • An estimated 250,000 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 360,000 people viewed the St. Louis Symphony’s Night at the Symphony broadcasts on The Nine Network.

Financial support:

  • Total contributions through gifts and pledges of $20.9m were received during the year:
    • $8.9m in operating support including the $7.39 million raised through the 2015 Annual Campaign, an 8% increase over the prior year, as well as funds raised through the Gala and Gypsy Caravan.
    • $12m in endowment and capital support
  • At the end of FY15, the market value of the St. Louis Symphony Endowment was $167.2m.

The FY15 numbers reflected continued progress, showing the most promising financial results in at least 15 years.

  • The operating deficit was $1.6m, an improvement of $583k compared to the FY14 operating deficit of $2.2m.  It’s the smallest deficit in at least 15 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 $26.6m, up from $26.1m in FY14 by 2.2%.
  • Total expenses were flat with FY14 at $28.3m.