The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra shares results of its 2018/2019 season at Annual Meeting, highlighting artistic achievements, community impact, financial success, and institutional milestones

In a season that celebrated "From Our Family to Yours," the SLSO experienced record annual giving and continued growth in ticket sales, plus honored anniversaries of Leonard Slatkin, the SLSO IN UNISON Chorus, and Forest Park Concert

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(November 12, 2019, St. Louis, MO) – Today at its Annual Meeting, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra shared the significant artistic achievements, community impact, and strong financial results of its 2018/2019 season. The SLSO also celebrated Stéphane Denève's acclaimed season as Music Director Designate. The SLSO's 139th season, which closed on August 31, 2019, was filled with remarkable performances, increased giving, growing audiences, and creative collaborations. This is the fourth consecutive year of continued growth in audiences and earned revenue from ticket sales. It also was a record year in contributed revenue, with philanthropic gifts to its Annual Campaign exceeding $8 million for the first time in the orchestra's 139-year history.

A slate of 10 trustees was re-eleected for another three-year term on the SLSO Board, while two new trustees were elected for their first term. The Board reelected seven officers, including Norm Eaker, Chair; Nancy Galvin, Vice Chair; Larry Katzenstein, General Counsel; Noémi Neidorff, Vice Chair; Kathleen Osborn, Vice Chair; Dr. Donald Suggs, Assistant Secretary; and John Tvrdik, Treasurer. In addition, 33 business and community leaders were elected to join as new members of the Advisory Council, while two trustees, Peggy Ritter and Anne von der Heydt, rotated off the Board and joined the Advisory Council.

The 18/19 season, titled "From Our Family to Yours," featured three titled conductors—Music Director Designate Stéphane Denève, Conductor Laureate Leonard Slatkin, and Resident Conductor Gemma New—and marked a number of important milestones.

Norman Eaker, Chair of the SLSO Board of Trustees, said, "This is an exciting time for the SLSO as we build on the orchestra's incredible artistic strength and begin a new chapter with Stéphane Denève. The Board continued to advance strategies that are key to audience development and the sustability of our 139-year-old organization, and we remain committed to enriching lives through the power of music."

Marie-Hélène Bernard, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra President and CEO, said, "It was a remarkable year for the SLSO artistically and institutionally. Thanks to the St. Louis community's generous philanthropic investments and growing concert attendance, the SLSO continues to build on our legacy of artistic excellence and institutional stability, deepening its investment in education and community to nurture audiences of the future and make music accessible to all."

Key Institutional and Artistic Highlights
• Milestone Anniversaries for the SLSO
Throughout the 18/19 season, the SLSO celebrated several key institutional milestones: the 50th anniversary of the annual Forest Park concert on Art Hill; the 50th anniversary of Conductor Laureate Leonard Slatkin's debut with the orchestra; and the 25th anniversary of the St. Louis Symphony IN UNISON Chorus, which specializes in the performance and preservation of music with African and African-American origins.

• Welcoming Stéphane Denève as Music Director Designate
The St. Louis community enthusiatically welcomed incoming Music Director Stéphane Denève at his four programs throughout the season, as well as at Fall in Love with Stéphane—a special musical event at Union Station that more than 450 people attended.

• Commitment to Music of Our Time
The SLSO advanced its tradition of championing music of our time as it introduced 12 new works to audiences this season, including two world premieres of SLSO commissions by American composers: a Bassoon Concerto by Christopher Rouse and The Paper Lined Shack, a song cycle by Jeff Beal. The SLSO also continued its partnership with the Pulitzer Arts Foundation through St. Louis Symphony: Live at the Pulitzer, a concert series focused on music of our time, which sold out all four concerts during the season.

• Creative Collaborations
This year was the 42nd season of the SLSO's partnership with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, a collaboration unique in the country. OTSL and the SLSO performed the world premiere of Terence Blanchard's Fire Shut Up in my Bones with a stellar cast featuring Davóne Tines, Julia Bullock, Karen Slack, Chaz'men Williams-Ali, and Jeremy Davis. The SLSO maintained a variety of community collaborations, including its second side-by-side community concert with military musicians from Fort Leonard Wood and Scott Air Force Base. They shared the stage at Powell Hall with their SLSO counterparts in a free performance for the public. In August 2019, the SLSO also partnered with the St. Louis Blues for their third annual National Anthem Audition contest, which generated hundreds of entries.

• New Recordings
Two recordings featuring the SLSO were released this year to critical acclaim: Mozart's Piano Concertos No. 17 in G major and 24 in C minor with pianist Orli Shaham and Swing Symphony with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, which was recorded live at Powell Hall during concerts sponsored by the Steward Family Foundation and World Wide Technology.

FY19 Financial Results and Community Support
• For the fiscal year ended August 31, 2019, the SLSO reported its third year in a row of operating surplus. Total operating revenue was $29.5 million, while operating expenses totaled $29.4 million, generating an operating surplus of $103,000.

• The SLSO reported record philanthropic support during the year. It was the fourth consecutive year of growth in the Annual Campaign, with contributions totaling more than $8 million for the first time in SLSO history, an increase of 3% over FY18.

• The SLSO experienced its fourth straight year of growth in ticket revenue. Earned revenue totaled $9.1 million. Ticket revenue totaled $7.4 million in sales, with Live at Powell Hall sales increasing by 17.4% over FY18.

• Live at Powell Hall concerts fueled strong growth with new audiences, especially movies: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Star Wars: A New Hope, Ghostbusters, and Home Alone. Other sold-out concerts included the BMO Wealth Management New Year's Eve Celebration, A Gospel Christmas, Disney in Concert, and two of the season's three Family Concerts.

• The endowment remained strong at $218 million. The SLSO's endowment plays a vital role in providing financial support to further the SLSO's mission, with distributions from the endowment draw providing approximately 34% of the SLSO's annual income.

• In December 2018, the SLSO closed its Realizing Greatness Campaign. The campaign, chaired by SLSO Trustee Nancy Galvin and Endowment Trust Member Walter Galvin, focused on securing support for the Endowment, for the maintenance of Powell Hall, and for Strategic Opportunities. Thanks in part to a $30 million matching gift by the Crawford Taylor Foundation, the SLSO surpassed its original campaign goal of $70 million by more than $18 million. The true impact of the campaign is how those funds are supporting and advancing the SLSO, enabling it to serve the St. Louis region for generations to come.

Overall Reach and Community Impact
• More than 260,000 people experienced the power of live music with the SLSO at Powell Hall and across the region. The SLSO presented 315 total concerts, opening the season in front of a crowd of 20,000 at its annual free concert for the St. Louis community in Forest Park.

• An estimated 430,000 people experienced the SLSO through its public media partners: both the Saturday night classical concert broadcasts live on St. Louis Public Radio, 90.7 – KWMU and its live internet stream, and also through the monthly Night at the Symphony broadcasts on the Nine Network.

• The SLSO reached an additional 2.6 million listeners worldwide through the Live From Here program on National Public Radio, which is broadcast on 600 public radio stations, SiriusXM Radio, and American Forces Networks across the United States and around the world.

• Last season, 50,000 students and teachers from 480 schools across the bi-state region participated in SLSO education programs. Approximately 19,000 students attended education concerts at Powell Hall. To ensure schools with limited resources could attend, the SLSO provided nearly 7,800 free tickets to education concerts. The SLSO, thanks to grants and corporate sponsors, provided funding to cover transportation for those schools so that travel was not a barrier to attend. In addition, more than 200 teachers participated in SLSO professional development workshops. For every teacher that uses SLSO resources, 225 students are directly impacted.

Board of Trustees
• Re-elected Officers
The members of the Corporation elected seven members to the Board of Trustees for continued terms as officers: Norm Eaker (Edward Jones), Nancy Galvin (Community Volunteer), Larry Katzenstein (Thompson Coburn), Noémi Neidorff (Community Volunteer), Kathleen Osborn (Regional Business Council), Dr. Donald Suggs (St. Louis American), and John Tvrdik (PwC).

• Continued Terms
Ten board members were re-elected and each will serve another three-year term: Cynthia Baxter (Community Volunteer), Jim Forsyth (Moto, Inc.), Gayle Jackson (Energy Global Inc.), Nick Kouchoukos (Missouri Baptist Medical Center), Ned Lemkemeier (Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP), Ken Ludmerer (Washington University in St. Louis), Elizabeth Mannen (Wells Fargo Advisors), Stephen Savis (Bayer AG), Sherry Sissac (Regional Arts Commission), and Dan Wessel (Enterprise Holdings).

• Newly Elected Members
Kate Warne Riggs (Edward Jones) and Spencer Burke (St. Louis Trust) were elected to the Board of Trustees for their first terms. In addition, 33 business and community leaders were elected to join as new members of the Advisory Council.

About the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
Celebrated as one of today's most exciting and enduring orchestras, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra is the second-oldest orchestra in the country, marking its 140th year with the 2019/2020 season and its first with Music Director Stéphane Denève. Widely considered one of the world's finest orchestras, the SLSO maintains its commitment to artistic excellence, educational impact, and community connections—all in service to its mission of enriching lives through the power of music.

In addition to its regular concert performances at Powell Hall, which has been the permanent home of the SLSO for more than 50 years, the orchestra is an integral part of the diverse and vibrant St. Louis community, presenting dozens of free education and community programs and performances throughout the region each year. It has an ongoing commitment to championing music of our time, through commissions, a collaboration with the Mizzou New Music Initiative, and its popular St. Louis Symphony Live at the Pulitzer series. The SLSO also serves as the resident orchestra for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, with the upcoming season marking the 43rd year of this unique partnership.

The Grammy Award-winning SLSO's impact beyond the St. Louis region is realized through weekly Saturday night concert broadcasts on St. Louis Public Radio, acclaimed recordings, and regular touring activity. A sought-after artistic partner by preeminent musicians and composers from across the globe, as well as by local and national organizations, the SLSO enjoys a long history of robust and enduring artistic collaborations that have developed and deepened over the years.

Today, the SLSO builds on the institution's current momentum on all fronts, including artistic, financial, audience growth, and community impact, and looks toward the future with Stéphane Denève. For more information, visit

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