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ASO Will Report Balanced Operating Budget in 2014 – 2015


Thursday, July 16, 2015 9:00 AM

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Will Report Balanced Operating Budget in 2014 – 2015 Fiscal Year

Musicians’ Endowment Campaign
Halfway To $25MM Goal In First Seven Months

ATLANTA, GA (July 16, 2015) -­‐-­ The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) today announced that operating revenues for its 2014 – 2015 season will exceed expenses, the first time that result has been achieved since the 2003 – 2004 season. Final details will be reported later in the summer following the close of the Woodruff Arts Center’s financials and review and recommendations by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s Finance Committee.

The ASO also announced that its Musicians’ Endowment Campaign has already reached $13.3 million toward its $25 million goal in just seven months. This restricted fund will endow musicians’ salaries and benefits in perpetuity and restore 11 positions to the Orchestra’s complement. Thanks to this early success, the Orchestra has already posted three positions for audition. The Musicians’ Endowment Campaign is a key component of a $100 million Transformation Campaign launched by the Woodruff Arts Center last year.

“We are very pleased that we have been able to achieve this goal,” said Terry Neal, Interim President & CEO of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. “The improvement in our finances is gratifying. But more work remains to be done to achieve long-­‐term financial stability while assuring the highest levels of symphonic music. Doing so will require continuing cooperation among ASO musicians, the artistic and administrative leadership, the support of the Woodruff Arts Center and ongoing community generosity.”

“We are pleased that the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra is reporting a balanced budget for the first time in many years,” said Danny Laufer, President of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Players Association. “We also greatly appreciate that fundraising for the Musicians’ Endowment Campaign is being well received by donors. The sacrifices of many — both on and off the stage — advanced the ASO to this point, and are proving to be a positive catalyst in strengthening our financial and artistic future.

“The musicians are grateful for the commitment demonstrated by our Atlanta community, the ASO Board of Directors, the leadership of the Woodruff Arts Center, and the corporations and foundations who also see and demonstrate that the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra is vitally woven into the cultural fabric of Atlanta,” Mr. Laufer continued. “There is still much to do together to realize our common vision for a brighter and stronger future for the ASO and the community it serves. With this positive momentum and our determination to work together, we can restore the ASO artistically and make it financially sound for many generations to come.”

The financial performance in 2014- 2015 was a significant improvement from an approximate $2 million deficit in the 2013 – 2014 season. This was a result of a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the Symphony’s musicians, strong performance at our outdoor venues and numerous steps taken by the ASO’s artistic and administrative leadership to manage costs and increase revenues.

Soon after the CBA was ratified last year, the ASO, working with the Woodruff Arts Center, began fundraising for its Musicians’ Endowment Campaign. The cornerstone gift of the Musicians’ Endowment is a $7.7 million Challenge Grant from The Woodruff Foundation, donated as a matching incentive for early donors. The Woodruff Foundation grant has largely been activated by leadership gifts of one million dollars or more which have been generously donated by Sally and Carl Gable, The Katz Foundation, The Kendeda Fund, Connie and Merrell Calhoun and an anonymous donor. Leadership gifts at this level will be recognized as named chairs among the Orchestra’s roster. Approximately $2 million remains in matching funds from the Woodruff Foundation grant to incentivize donors to double their impact.

”We couldn't be more thankful for the support from so many groups and individuals that made it possible for us to finish the season on a positive note," said Robert Spano, Music Director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. "We anticipate building on this momentum with the 2015 – 2016 season when we salute the late Robert Shaw's 100th birthday. We celebrate the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra's rich history, and look forward to an exciting future."