Innovation, Growth & Expansion Lead Toronto Symphony Orchestra to Second Consecutive Surplus

November 23, 2015

TORONTO, Monday, November 23, 2015: At its Annual General Meeting today, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) credited its bold new strategy—rooted in innovation, growth, and expansion—for its successful 2014/15 season with the announcement of a second consecutive surplus.

Christopher Hodgson, Chair of the TSO Board of Directors, reported that the TSO’s operating expenses for the 2014/15 season were $27,952,967, with revenues of $28,088,748. The TSO ended the June 30, 2015 fiscal year with a surplus of $135,781. Annual fundraising revenues showed an increase of $3,444,160 over fiscal 2014—the third consecutive year of growth in this area—and revenue from ticket sales was up $167,930. Tour expenses, primarily related to the highly successful August 2014 European Tour, amounted to $1,912,101, and contributed to increased costs in fiscal 2015. The earned revenue from fundraising and special events represented 36% of total revenue, ticket sales represented 32%, government operating grants represented 19%, the distribution from the Toronto Symphony Foundation represented 8%, and other sources accounted for 5%.

Christopher Hodgson stated: “For the second consecutive year, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra ended its season on a high note in all possible regards. The TSO’s key stakeholders deserve much of the credit for this positive result. Without the generous support of patrons, individual donors, foundations, corporate sponsors, and the government, the TSO would simply not be able to achieve its goals."

To open the AGM, TSO Principal Harp Heidi Van Hoesen Gorton performed “John Riley” from Every Lover Is a Warrior by Canadian composer Kati Agócs. During the meeting, TSO President & CEO Jeff Melanson thanked retiring Board Chair Christopher Hodgson for his years of service and welcomed incoming Chair Richard Phillips. Mr. Hodgson thanked retiring Board members Stephen Grant, Allan Kimberley, George Lewis, and Peter Luit.

"During the 2014/15 season, the TSO community created a new set of strategic objectives developed around the idea that, over time, we might become the world’s most innovative orchestra," said Jeff Melanson, who marked his one-year anniversary with the TSO on November 1, 2015. "We have already made significant progress toward these objectives, which include Cultural & Artistic Excellence, Pre-professional Training & Talent Development, Community Outreach & Education, and Innovation Platforms & Arts Leadership."

Cultural & Artistic Excellence

In 2014/15, the TSO’s 93rd season, Peter Oundjian completed his 11th year as Music Director and Earl Lee was appointed as the RBC Resident Conductor. Maestro Oundjian led an esteemed roster of 90 musicians, acclaimed as a world-class ensemble and as individually gifted artists, and the TSO welcomed nearly 90 guest artists (including 49 Canadians), 63 of whom made their TSO début. The season included six world premières, five Canadian premières, and one North American première, seven of which were TSO-commissioned works. Continuing its commitment to cross-cultural collaboration, the Orchestra presented the second annual Chinese New Year Celebration, featuring superstar pianist Lang Lang, as well as Ararat: Music of Armenia. With the generous support of the Esther Gelber Fund, the TSO commissioned Toronto-based piano virtuoso Hilario Durán to compose an orchestral piece. The world première of his Concerto for Latin Jazz Trio and Orchestra, “Sinfonia Afrocubana,” was warmly received in April 2015.

Pre-professional Training & Talent Development

The Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra (TSYO) comprised 81 musicians in the 2014/15 season, and performed seven concerts—two of which were joint performances with the TSO. When the TSYO celebrated its 40th anniversary at its spring concert at Koerner Hall in April 2015, Jeff Melanson announced that the program would be offered tuition-free to all members beginning in the 2015/16 season. This has made it possible for every talented young musician aged 22 and under to audition for a position in the orchestra, knowing they can participate in the program regardless of means.

Community Outreach & Education

The TSO presented 132 performances to the community, with 127 at Roy Thomson Hall (including 18 student concerts and a free thank-you concert for all Torontonians), three at the George Weston Recital Hall, one free concert at Metro Hall—in partnership with the Luminato Festival—and another free concert in Regent Park’s Central Park, in collaboration with the Regent Park School of Music. Attendance at TSO concerts at Roy Thomson Hall and George Weston Recital Hall totalled 249,516. The Orchestra also kicked off Culture Days’ fifth anniversary with Conduct Us!, presented “Pianos in the City” as part of the RBC Piano Extravaganza, and performed the national anthem at the Opening Ceremony of the 2015 Pan Am Games. As part of its child and youth education programming, the TSO welcomed 36,877 students and teachers to its curriculum-based concerts specifically designed for school groups. The TSO is working to extend these efforts to create fully subsidized access to TSO educational concerts for every student in the GTA, and beyond through e-learning.

Innovation Platforms & Arts Leadership

In March 2015, the TSO launched a radio show, Sunday Night with the TSO, in collaboration with ZoomerMedia. It soon became the number-one show in its time slot in Toronto. Always exploring new ways to connect with members of the community, the TSO took to social media in a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) for the first time in January 2015, which saw Peter Oundjian and Jeff Melanson answer questions from TSO supporters and cultural enthusiasts. This successful endeavour helped the TSO to reach a new audience and provided participants with access to the minds behind the organization. In collaboration with the legendary Second City comedy theatre, the TSO presented The Second City Guide to the Symphony. The first concert of its kind in Toronto, this unique blend of sketch comedy, satire, and songs was an instant hit and will return in June 2016 due to popular demand. The 2014/15 season included the TSO’s 11th annual New Creations Festival, one of the highlights of which was the Canadian première of Written on Skin, an unforgettable opera-in-concert that garnered critical acclaim and brought international attention to the TSO.

The TSO wishes to thank the following individuals and organizations that supported annual operations during its 2014/15 season: BMO Financial Group, Season Presenting Sponsor; Air Canada, Official Airline; Pam and Chris Hodgson, Season Patrons; Renette and David Berman, Lead Patrons of the August 2014 European Tour; RBC Wealth Management; Scotiabank; the Canada Council for the Arts; the Ontario Arts Council; the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund; and the City of Toronto.


The TSO 2015/16 Season Presenting Sponsor is BMO Financial Group.
The TSO 2015/16 Season Patron is The Renette and David Berman Family Foundation.

Twitter: @TorontoSymphony

About the TSO: Founded in 1922, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is one of Canada’s most important cultural institutions, recognized internationally. Music Director Peter Oundjian leads the TSO with a commitment to innovative programming and audience development through a broad range of performances that showcase the exceptional talents of the Orchestra along with a roster of distinguished guest artists and conductors. The TSO also serves the larger community with TSOUNDCHECK, the original under-35 ticket program; the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra; and music-education programs that reach tens of thousands of students each year.

For high-resolution photos of TSO President & CEO Jeff Melanson and TSO Music Director Peter Oundjian, please visit the Media Room.

Media Contacts:

Francine Labelle

Manager, Publicity
Toronto Symphony Orchestra
416.593.7769 X 267

Melissa Prince 

NATIONAL Public Relations

Alison Crocker 

NATIONAL Public Relations

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