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BPO announces balanced budget, record subscription sales

by jmaloni
Mon, Oct 8th 2012 02:55 pm

Louis Ciminelli elected as new board chairman

At its annual meeting on Sept. 20, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Society announced achievement of a balanced budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year, which ended Aug. 31, 2012, and substantial growth in both audience and contributions. 

"The year ended on a high note as the result of teamwork and dedication on the part of our board, musicians, staff and volunteers, and the tremendous support of the Western New York community," said Dan Hart, BPO executive director. "These are challenging times for orchestras, and for the arts in general. It's rewarding to close out the fiscal year with a balanced budget and record subscription sales. This would not be possible without the support of thousands of patrons and significant support from Erie County."

The BPO reported preliminary, unaudited financial results for the year with expense and revenue of $10.2 million. Eighty-four percent of expenses were direct program expenses including all orchestra wages and benefits, concert production, and marketing. Earned income (including ticket sales and fees) of $3.7 million represented 36 percent of the revenue. Contributed income of $5.4 million accounted for 53 percent of revenue, with income from endowment funds accounting for $1.1 million or 11 percent of revenue. This is the seventh time in the past eight years that the BPO has ended the year with a balanced budget.

A review of sales, attendance and educational program statistics also showed positive trends:

  • Attendance for the BPO's 112 concerts was 185,955 vs. 172,955 last year, an increase of 7.5 percent.
  • 99,111 people attended BPO concerts at Kleinhans Music Hall.
  • BPO youth concerts reached 38,794 students grades K-12 throughout the eight counties of Western New York.
  • Ticket sales for the year totaled $3,050,000 vs. $2,829,000 last year, an increase of 7.8 percent.
  • Subscription sales reached $1,778,000 vs. $1,592,000 last year, an increase of 11.6 percent.
  • The number of subscribers was 6,727 vs. 6,077 last year, an increase of 10.6 percent.
  • Single ticket revenue was $1,272,000 vs. $1,237,000 last year, an increase 2.8 percent.

"From an artistic standpoint, the 2011-2012 season was a tremendous success," said JoAnn Falletta, music director. "We were able to bring in leading artists such as Joshua Bell and Idina Menzel. Through concerts such as violinist Mark O'Connor's improvised concerto and the two-week Duke Ellington Festival, we continued to stretch artistically and give our audiences a chance to grow with us. Our release of four new recordings further cemented our fast-growing reputation as one of the most frequently recorded orchestras in the country. We're eager to carry this resounding success forward into the 2012-2013 season." 

Two fundraising challenges took place during the 2011-12 season. The Louis P. Ciminelli Family Foundation agreed to match all new estate gifts to the orchestra, resulting in more than $500,000 in new gifts for the endowment. The Baird Foundation Challenge kicked off the 2011-12 annual fund campaign with a dollar-to-dollar match of gifts, up to $100,000. Nearly $125,000 came in because of this challenge. Overall, contributions were up 2.2 percent to $5.4 million.

In addition to the reports on the orchestra's finances, Louis P. Ciminelli was named the chair of the board of trustees of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. Ciminelli is the CEO of LPCiminelli Inc. construction company, and a longtime BPO trustee. Other officers named were Donald Ogilvie, vice chair, of Hamburg; Randall Odza, secretary, of East Amherst; and Stephen Swift, treasurer, of Buffalo. Arthur Cryer and Martha Hyde, both of Buffalo, were elected as new members to the board, and Karen Arrison of Buffalo and Angelo Fatta of Lake Shore each were elected to another term. Outgoing board members John Horn of Williamsville and Cheryl Howe of Hamburg were recognized for their service.

BPO volunteers Peggy and Jerry Romano of Clarence and Deb Stachura of West Seneca were recognized for outstanding service, and an award for meritorious service was given to Sue Hill, who has been on the administrative staff of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra for two years as a payroll and accounts payable associate.

"Chairing the BPO's board of trustees has been a very gratifying experience," said outgoing board chair Cindy Abbott Letro. "During my two years as chair, we signed music director JoAnn Falletta and the musicians of the orchestra to new five-year contracts, completed a 10-year strategic plan, signed executive director Dan Hart to a four-year contract, and balanced the budget both years. These accomplishments provide stability for the organization that allows us to confidently plan the future. I am incredibly proud of the board, staff and musicians of the BPO who gave me the opportunity to lead this treasured community asset for the past two years."

As Buffalo's cultural ambassador, the Grammy Award-winning Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, under the leadership of music director Falletta, presents more than 100 concerts each year. Since 1940, the orchestra's home has been Kleinhans Music Hall, a National Historic Landmark with a reputation as one of the finest concert halls in the U.S. The BPO has been invited to perform at Carnegie Hall as a participant in the prestigious "Spring for Music" festival in 2013. Only six orchestras nationwide are chosen from a national field for this honor. During Falletta's tenure, the BPO has rekindled its history of radio broadcasts and recordings, including the release of 24 new recordings on the Naxos and Beau Fleuve labels.

For more information about the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, visit www.bpo.org

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