Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra Succeeds in Rough Times!
Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra announces successful conclusion of 2008-2009 Season
Significant progress made in ticket sales, attendance and attracting new audiencesFred Bronstein, SLSO President and Executive Director, said of the progress made in 2008-09: “The 2008-09 Season represents an important step forward in the SLSO’s audience-building efforts, and is now the springboard toward a bold goal of doubling our audience as identified in our new 10-year strategic vision. This transformation has begun with a diversification of our concert offerings with an eye toward developing new audiences while reconnecting with our core audience. It begins with what you put on the stage, and hence our focus on product, supported by a reinvigoration of our marketing efforts, and continued strengthening of the SLSO brand. It’s a good first step, and now we intend to redouble our efforts to build on this performance next season, and beyond.” In the summer of 2008, the SLSO implemented its Building Our Business initiative, with an emphasis on audience development. A goal of Building Our Business is to make Powell Hall recognized as the place to be for music entertainment throughout the St. Louis region. The SLSO reached significant milestones as the result of these initiatives.
The launch of the new Casual Classics summer series in 2008, and continuing in 2009, was designed as an accessible “entry point” for new audiences as well as an opportunity to extend the season for current patrons. The results have been impressive, generating 25% of attendees in households new to the SLSO.
With such popular offerings as The Lord of the Rings Symphony, Oz with Orchestra, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, The 5 Browns, The Beach Boys, Gipsy Kings and Simply Sinatra, the SLSO has expanded its audience, bringing a wide range of quality entertainment to Powell Hall. As stated above, more than 20,000 people attended SLSO Presents concerts. Five concerts were sold out or near capacity, and 52% of attendees were new to Powell Hall.
The SLSO’s presence on local radio increases as well. Following a successful live broadcast of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in May 2009, SLSO and KFUO Classic 99 are partnering in a new summer series featuring “light classics” from the SLSO archives. In addition, the SLSO and KFUO will inaugurate weekly live Saturday evening broadcasts of the Wells Fargo Advisors Orchestral Series 2009-10 season, beginning on opening weekend, September 26.
In June 2009, the SLSO announced a new three-year collective bargaining agreement with its musicians more than one year in advance of the expiration of the current agreement, a significant departure from past negotiations. The agreement moves the orchestra forward in a fiscally responsible and restrained manner and adds a 43rd week to the season, providing opportunities for more performances and thus enhancing audience development efforts. The labor agreement also adds new flexibility in executing local media projects that help build the SLSO brand.