(ST. LOUIS – November 14, 2016)– At its Annual Meeting today, the St. Louis Symphony celebrated its significant artistic achievements and community impact during the 2015/16 season. The Symphony also reported the strongest financial results in many years and balanced cash operating budget for the first time this century.

Barry Beracha, Chairman of the St. Louis Symphony Board of Trustees, said: “The fact that we enjoy a world class orchestra in St. Louis is a testament to the devoted work and commitment of many people.  Thanks to our growing audiences and generous donors and sponsors, we just completed one of the most successful years in recent Symphony history.”

The Symphony announced significant increases in both attendance and ticket revenue during its 2015/16 season. Overall ticket revenue increased by nearly 4%, to $6.87 million. Live at Powell Hall concert attendance and sales reached their highest numbers since the inception of the series in 2010. And counter to the experience of many American orchestras, classical audiences and sales in St. Louis increased for the second consecutive year.

The Symphony also reported solid growth in philanthropic support. FY16 produced its best ever Annual Campaign total of $7.68 million from 5,394 donors -- 30% whom were new. Impressive results were also achieved in building the St. Louis Symphony’s Endowment Trust. Significant contributions have been received over the past three years as part of ongoing efforts to secure endowment funding commensurate with the orchestra’s needs. As of August 31, 2016, endowment related assets under management exceeded $200 million.

St. Louis Symphony President & CEO, Marie-Hélène Bernard, said: “Over the past year, I have gained a greater understanding of this storied orchestra. I feel immensely honored to lead one of America’s finest and most innovative orchestras.  The level of commitment from this institution’s board leadership and a generous St. Louis community is extraordinary. Such support provides my wonderful partner, David Robertson, and our exceptional musicians and staff the opportunity to produce successful and impactful musical experiences. At home, on tour and through electronic media projects, the St. Louis Symphony is reaching a growing audience and finding new and fresh ways to make music relevant here and around the world.”

Also announced today, the election of six new members of the Board of Trustees -- Nicholas Kouchoukos, M.D., Kenneth M. Ludmerer, M.D., Everett Neville, Steve Savis, Sherry Sissac, and Dan Wessel. In addition, Norman Eaker was elected Vice Chair and Chair Elect. Eaker will succeed Beracha as Board Chair in November, 2017. (biographies below)


Key Artistic Highlights in FY2016:

Music Tells the Story - Throughout the 2015/16 season, links between orchestral music and the written word were explored.  Many of the season’s concerts featured direct ties to great works of literature. Among the many artistic highlights during the 2015/16 season – Music Director David Robertson conducted Messiaen's Des canyons aux étoiles...(From the Canyons to the Stars…) which featured a world premiere video installation by photographer Deborah O'Grady to accompany the piece in St. Louis and on tour in California; a four-week tribute to William Shakespeare to commemorate 400 years since his passing; the Nonesuch Records recording of John Adams’ Scheherazade.2 featuring violinist Leila Josefowicz; and the opening weekend gala celebration featuring violinist Joshua Bell.

  • Opening Weekend
    Violinist Joshua Bell joined the STL Symphony and Music Director David Robertson to kick off the 2015/16 season, performing Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole, September 18-20, 2016. Opening weekend festivities also included a gala celebration raising nearly $400,000 in support of music education and community programs.
  • STL Symphony Soloists
    Showcasing the world-class talent that makes up our orchestra, STL Symphony musicians took center stage as soloists throughout the season, 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. 
  • From the Canyons to the Stars
    The STL Symphony commissioned West Coast photographer Deborah O’Grady who created stunning visuals to accompany performances of Olivier Messiaen's Des canyons aux étoiles...(From the Canyons to the Stars…). The St. Louis 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.
  • California Tour

From January 27 to February 2, the STL Symphony embarked on its third tour of California in seven seasons. The first set of concerts in Aliso Viejo and Palm Desert featured John Adams’ Saxophone Concerto paired with Mahler’s Fifth Symphony. Later, in Berkeley and Los Angeles at Walt Disney Concert Hall, the orchestra reprised its multimedia concerts featuring Messiaen’s Des canyons aux étoiles.... In addition to public concerts in Berkeley, the orchestra participated in a mini-residency, which included two symposia and an educational concert. Mark Swed of the LA Times praised the Canyons concert at Disney Hall, calling it a “compelling, beautifully phrased and elegantly proportioned multimedia performance.” Alex Ross of The New Yorker said the orchestra responded to Robertson’s conducting of Canyons with “playing of focus and fire.”

  • Shakespeare Festival
    In addition to performances at Powell Hall, the STL Symphony’s four-week tribute to history’s greatest playwright included a partnership with Shakespeare Festival St. Louis to present 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
    With violinist Leila Josefowicz, David Robertson and the orchestra recorded John Adams’ Scheherazade.2 in February, 2016. The live concert recording for Nonesuch Records was released on September 30, 2016. Adams handpicked Josefowicz and the STL Symphony for the project—the continuation of a long-standing partnership with one of America’s preeminent contemporary composers.
  • Live at Powell Hall
    Non-classical concerts welcomed record audiences—53% were new to Powell Hall—with music from The Legend of Zelda, tributes to Michael Jackson and David Bowie, as well as film favorites Back to the Future and E.T. The Extra Terrestrial with live performances of the orchestral score.


Community and Music Education Programs:

St. Louis Symphony musicians are an integral part of the community, sharing the gift of music with tens of thousands of people each year with free community and education programs. Musicians 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.

In 2015/16, 14,721people were reached through 116 events in 35 different zip codes. In addition, 23,000+ students attended Symphony Education Concerts.

Other highlights included:

  • Music Without Boundaries

To celebrate our increasingly diverse community, the STL Symphony welcomed new immigrants and refugees to 2015/16 Family Concerts at Powell Hall. STL Symphony musicians also performed a world music welcome concert at the International Institute of St. Louis.

  • SymphonyCares

The STL Symphony marked five years of it partnership with Saint Louis University Cancer Center, performing for patients receiving chemotherapy in the infusion room. Innovative music therapy programs through SymphonyCares also bring solace and help with healing to patients and caregivers at children’s hospitals, involving the STL Symphony in groundbreaking programs and research studies.

    A pilot collaboration between IN UNISON and the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra, the 2015/16 season included the launch of a peer-to-peer mentoring program.
  • STL Symphony Youth Orchestra

During its 2015/16 season, the Youth Orchestra included 105 aspiring musicians, ages 12-22, from 46 partner schools in Greater St. Louis. All three of its concerts at Powell Hall brought record crowds, and the ensemble was featured on The Nine Network’s Night at the Symphony program.


FY2016 Results

  • Overall Financial Results

The total operating revenue in 2015/16 was $28.4 million. The adjusted operating expenses totaled $28.1 million. Earned revenues totaled $8.8 million, including $6.9 million in ticket sales.

  • Overall Reach and Community Impact

More than 250,000 people experienced the STL Symphony at Powell Hall and across the region. There were 116 free community concerts in FY2016. Classical concerts for the year totaled 60. 32% of classical concert audiences were new to Powell Hall. 18 concerts were sold-out, including six classical concerts and 11 Live at Powell Hall events. A total of 91 musicians called the STL Symphony home in 2015/16. 54% were women.

  • 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, and the St. Louis Symphony’s Night at the Symphony broadcasts on The Nine Network.


Board of Trustees Vice Chair and Chair-Elect:

  • Norman Eaker, Chief Administrative Officer, Edward Jones

Norman Eaker is responsible for human resources, operations, service and information systems.  He is also a member of the firm’s executive and management committees. Eaker has been with Edward Jones since 1981 and became principal in 1984. He is a former board member of the Chicago Stock Exchange and Depository Trust and Clearing Corp. Currently, he serves on the SIFMA operations and technology steering committee. Eaker graduated from the University of Missouri-St. Louis in 1977 with a bachelor's degree in business administration. Eaker serves on the Maryville University board of directors and the University of Missouri-St. Louis Chancellor’s Council. Eaker joined the STL Symphony Board in 2011. 

New Board Members:

  • Nicholas Kouchoukos, M.D., Missouri Baptist Medical Center

Nicholas Kouchoukos, M.D., is a cardiac surgeon at Missouri Baptist Medical Center. He is a pioneer in surgical technique to improve aortic and valve surgery for patients with Marfan syndrome. He has held leadership positions at hospitals and academic institutions, including Washington University School of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, St. Louis Regional Medical Center, St. Louis, Missouri and Missouri Baptist Medical Center. Dr. Kouchoukos is a graduate of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. From 1961 to 1967, he served in the Unites States Air Force. In 2016, he was named Endowed Chair in Cardiovascular and Thoracic Services at Missouri Baptist Medical Center.

  • Kenneth M. Ludmerer, M.D., Washington University School of Medicine

Kenneth M. Ludmerer, M.D., is an internist, medical educator and historian of medicine.  He is a professor of medicine and the Mabel Dorn Reeder Distinguished Professor of the History of Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis. A native of Long Beach, California, Dr. Ludmerer received an AB from Harvard College and an MA and MD from The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Following medical school, he did a residency in internal medicine at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis and graduate work in history at Harvard. In 1978-79 he was Chief Resident in Internal Medicine at Barnes Hospital, and the following year he joined the faculty of Washington University.

  • Everett Neville, Senior Vice president of Supply Chain, Express Scripts

Everett Neville is Senior Vice President of Supply Chair for Express Scripts.

His responsibilities include overseeing performance of Express Scripts rebate and network pharmacy agreements. He joined Express Scripts in 1998. Everett has held leadership positions in various areas within Express Scripts, including Clinical Program Management, Account Management, Managed Care Division, and Pharma Strategies and Contracting. Everett received his BS in pharmacy at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and received his MBA at the University of Missouri - St. Louis.

  • Steve Savis, Vice Presidentof North American Human Resources, Monsanto

Steve Savis is Monsanto’s Human Resources Lead for the North America business. Savis is responsible for driving the people strategies for North America’s nearly 6,000 employees. He also serves on Monsanto’s Global Human Resources and North America Commercial Leadership Teams. Throughout his career, Savis has served as an active and devoted champion of Monsanto’s Inclusion and Diversity efforts. He holds a master in business administration and a master of science in management information systems from the University of Missouri – St. Louis. The native St. Louisan, also holds a bachelor of science in business administration with an emphasis in management and organizational behavior from the University of Missouri – St. Louis.

  • Sherry Sissac, Director of Marketing and External Affairs, Regional Arts Commission

In her current role, Sissac provides thoughtful leadership in arts marketing for over 200 arts and cultural institutions throughout St. Louis. Sissac has worked for industry leading companies such as advertising giant, Leo Burnett USA, and Weber Shandwick, a global public relations firm. Sissac has also held positions as anchor and public affairs talk show host for ABC network affiliate KDNL in St. Louis. She has served as an advisor or member of various organizations, including the St. Louis Symphony Strategic Planning Task Force Committee, Explore St. Louis/CVC Regional Marketing Committee and St. Louis Regional Chamber Marketing Committee.

  • Dan Wessel, Vice President of Business Management, Enterprise Holdings

Dan Wessel is Vice President of Business Management for Enterprise Holdings, Inc. Wessel oversees the business operations for 12 of the company’s regional subsidiaries in the North Central United States. He also is responsible for the company’s supply chain management and sustainability efforts. Wessel began his career with Enterprise in 1995. He received his Bachelor’s in Accounting from Saint Louis University in 1991. Wessel serves on the Board of Governors at Westborough Country Club and coaches a variety of sports at Mary Queen of Peace Catholic Church.


Click here for the online version of the 2015/16 Annual Report.