SPCO announces balanced budget for 2010-11, despite challenging economy

Deficit is projected for 2011-12

For Immediate Release
Contact: Kelly Belich 651.292.3239

St. Paul, MN, December 6, 2011 — The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra Society announced at its Annual Meeting of Members today that the SPCO achieved a balanced budget for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011. Total expenses for the 2010-11 fiscal year were $10,949,073. 2010-11 marks the eighth consecutive balanced budget for the SPCO. After 52 seasons, the SPCO has no accumulated deficit and no external debt, setting it apart from many other orchestras across the country.

“It hasn’t been easy to continue balancing the budget in this economic environment, so we are especially proud of this achievement in 2010-11,” said Sarah Lutman, President and Managing Director. “That we were able to accomplish this in the context of presenting engaging and interesting concerts, continuing our commitment to accessibility through low ticket prices and multiple locations across the Twin Cities and performing at Carnegie Hall twice is testament to the hard work and sacrifice of our musicians, staff and Board – along with the generosity of our donors.”

Season of Artistic Vibrancy and Community Accessibility
The 2010-11 season included 94 subscription concerts featuring the musicians of the SPCO alongside world-renowned guest artists and conductors including the SPCO’s Artistic Partners: conductor Roberto Abbado, soprano Dawn Upshaw, conductor Edo de Waart, conductor and pianist Christian Zacharias, and violinist and conductor Thomas Zehetmair. The SPCO continued its commitment to geographic accessibility in 2010-11 by performing in 10 locations across the Twin Cities, with total paid attendance of over 95,000. The SPCO also continued its commitment to affordability, offering all tickets for only $10, $25 or $40, with over 80 percent of tickets available for $25 or less.

The orchestra appeared twice at Carnegie Hall in 2010-11, presented the world premieres of two works, and performed a season abounding in the works of Mozart, including his Don Giovanni to open the season, and of Haydn, including his Harmoniemesse to close the season.

Fundraising Results
In 2010-11 the SPCO’s annual fund saw a slight decrease of .7 percent. Individual giving -- the SPCO’s most reliable and sustainable source of support -- increased by 6.5 percent, while corporate and foundation support declined by 14 percent.

“We’re encouraged by the fact that our individual support grew last year,” said Dobson West, Chair of the SPCO Board of Directors. “Corporate and Foundation giving continue to be particularly challenging, as these funders either have reduced capacity for philanthropy or have responded to deep community needs by shifting priorities. Individuals once again demonstrated that they are the lifeblood of the SPCO.”

Deficit Projected in 2011-12
The SPCO announced that although it balanced its budget for the previous year, it is projecting a deficit in the range of $750,000 to $1 million for the current fiscal year, which ends on June 30, 2012.

“While we celebrate the significant accomplishments of the past year, we are also sobered by the realities we face,” said West. “Our core revenues from all sources are stressed and changing, and it is clear that innovation will be needed. We are actively working on plans to not only pay off this deficit over the coming years, but to ensure the organization’s sustainability and vibrancy for years to come.”

“The world is changing, as is the economy of the SPCO, and this calls for our best thinking and creativity,” said Lutman. “We are a future-looking organization and I am confident that by working together, we will find new ways to thrive in these changing times.”

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