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The TSO announces $2.3 million surplus

October 18, 2018

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) held its Annual General Meeting today, announcing that the TSO ended the 2018 fiscal year with a surplus of $2.3 million. Board Chair Catherine Beck and Chief Executive Officer Matthew Loden outlined a series of initiatives over the past year that have focused the institution’s forward momentum, bringing new financial stability and artistic vitality to the TSO. With the recent appointment of Gustavo Gimeno as its new Music Director starting in the 2020/21 season, and with today’s announcement of the revenue surplus, the TSO has strengthened its position and is on track to complete multi-year strategic initiatives and continue delivering dynamic musical programs across Toronto.

Board Vice-Chair & Treasurer Rags Davloor reported that the 2018 fiscal year surplus of $2.3 million enabled the organization to reduce the accumulated deficit to $4.5 million (down from $6.8 million in fiscal year 2017). Remarkably, the TSO has exceeded its goal this year for deficit reduction by exercising fiscal prudence and increasing earned and contributed revenue in adherence to its four-year strategic plan, now half completed. The TSO is continuing to reduce the accumulated deficit while simultaneously focusing on expanding a loyal patron base and building the endowment.

In July 2018, Matthew Loden became Chief Executive Officer, succeeding Interim Chief Executive Officer Gary Hanson, who led the institution for two years. An accomplished arts administrator, musician, and teacher with an impressive and varied career in the classical music industry, Mr. Loden came to the TSO from The Philadelphia Orchestra, where he was Interim Co-President. Mr. Loden has already launched the TSO’s next Music Director while actively pursuing strategic opportunities and building upon the organization’s growing support.

In September 2018, the TSO announced that Gustavo Gimeno will become the Orchestra’s next Music Director. Maestro Gimeno, who begins a five-year term with the TSO starting in 2020, is currently Music Director of the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg (OPL). A much sought-after guest conductor worldwide, he will become the TSO’s 11th Music Director and usher in the Orchestra’s 100th season in 2021/22.

Report on the TSO’s 2017/18 season
“The Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s 2017/18 season was a success by all measures,” said Catherine Beck. “We continued to solidify our reputation as an indispensable element of the Canadian cultural landscape by presenting musical experiences to music lovers in Toronto and across the country, while realizing significant financial improvements that have put us on stronger footings as we enter an exciting new phase.”

With the support of many generous donors, the TSO received more than $4 million directed toward strengthening its financial position, and saw substantial improvements in ticket revenue from growing audiences—thus achieving two important milestones at the midpoint of its four-year strategic plan.

During the meeting, Catherine Beck also welcomed Peter C. Hinman (Chief Financial Officer, BMO Capital Markets) and Doris Chan (Vice President & Senior Portfolio Manager, TD Wealth) who are joining the Board of Directors.

Artistic achievements
Canada Mosaic, a 2017 year-long initiative, was one of the largest endeavours in the TSO’s history, and a resounding success. The Canada 150 Signature Project, funded in part by the federal government, comprised three major components: Musical Legacy & Commissions, Partner Orchestras, and Website & E-learning.

As part of this project, the TSO commissioned and presented an unprecedented 63 works by Canadian composers. In addition to 13 large-scale works, Canada Mosaic included 40 new short orchestral works (Sesquies), which were also performed by orchestras from every province across Canada, as well as the Yukon and Northwest Territories. In February 2018, the TSO presented the Sesquie scores and recordings to then Minister of Heritage Mélanie Joly to thank her for her support toward this historic initiative. The scores will be housed at the Canadian Music Centre, in order to make the works easily accessible to all Canadian ensembles. The TSO's Canada Mosaic project has made a significant and historic contribution to Canadian repertoire.

Many of the 2017/18 season’s highlights were linked to the Canada Mosaic project: World Premières/TSO Commissions by Mychael Danna (Life of Pi), Eliot Britton (Adizokan), Owen Pallett (Songs from an Island), to name a few, and memorable performances of Afghanistan: Requiem for a Generation (Jeffrey Ryan/Suzanne Steele) stand out as exceptional events.

Other notable achievements of the 2017/18 season included the TSO welcoming the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra with Music Director Zubin Mehta for the only Canadian stop on their long-awaited North American tour. Christopher Plummer’s Symphonic Shakespeare, starring the Academy and Tony Award–winning actor, was warmly received. In addition to an exceptional Pops Series designed by Principal Pops Conductor Steven Reineke, TSO audiences greatly enjoyed the series of films with live orchestra, which included Home Alone in Concert and Jaws in Concert. Through their outstanding artistic contributions, RBC Resident Conductor and TSYO Artistic Director & Conductor Earl Lee, and RBC Affiliate Composer Jordan Pal brought more accolades to the TSO. In addition, famed pianist Lang Lang returned to the TSO stage for a Gala performance that raised significant funds for the Orchestra’s education initiatives.

The season culminated with a month-long celebration of Peter Oundjian’s extraordinary 14-year tenure as TSO Music Director. One of the many highlights of June 2018 was the release of the TSO’s new recording, Vaughan Williams: Orchestral Works, on the prestigious Chandos label. The album, celebrating Maestro Oundjian, renowned Canadian soloists, and the Orchestra’s principal players, has garnered rave reviews. “We are grateful to Maestro Oundjian for his transformative leadership, and we look forward to his return to the podium in future seasons as TSO Conductor Emeritus. Thank you, Peter, for your outstanding contributions to the TSO and the city,” said Catherine Beck. The TSO is currently under the artistic leadership of long-time collaborator Sir Andrew Davis, who will lead the Orchestra through the 2018/19 and 2019/20 seasons.

Education & community engagement
In its 96th concert season, the TSO presented 137 performances to the community, including 20 School Concerts to nearly 39,000 students and their teachers in the GTA and beyond. The TSO hosted a special Citizenship Ceremony at Roy Thomson Hall in collaboration with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. Community engagement included partnerships with Pride Toronto, and a collaboration with Toronto’s Red Sky Performance and its founder and artistic director, Sandra Laronde, to present the World Première of Adizokan—a genre-defying creation that explores Indigenous connections to ancestral origins. And to the delight of Torontonians, the TSO offered a free one-hour concert presented in partnership with Roy Thomson Hall in June 2018.

Thank you
The TSO is grateful to the thousands of generous donors and sponsors who share our passion for orchestral music and made gifts to the Orchestra in 2017/18. The TSO also wishes to thank all subscribers and audience members for their continued support.

BMO Financial Group, the TSO’s Season Presenting Sponsor since 2011, continues to stand out as a leader in corporate support of the arts.

All three levels of government—through the Ontario Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the City of Toronto—provided meaningful operating grants to support the symphony. Last year, government grants totalled more than $5 million, making possible the TSO’s artistic achievements and community services.

View the TSO’s 2017/18 Annual Report here.

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