Season Highlighted by Artistic and Community Partnerships and Strong Financial Results
Seattle, WA – Seattle Symphony President & CEO Simon Woods announced the financial results for the most recently ended fiscal year at the Symphony’s Annual Meeting at Benaroya Hall.
In addition to numerous artistic and organizational milestones, the fiscal year ending August 31, 2015, showed a $1.27 million surplus in Symphony operations. The consolidated company of the Seattle Symphony, Seattle Symphony Foundation and Benaroya Hall showed an increase in net assets of $555,000. This is the fourth consecutive year that the organization has posted positive financial results.
“While we are thrilled with our positive financial results, we know that these results stem from a deep connection to our audiences and our community-at-large, and we thank everyone for their steadfast commitment to our work,” commented Woods. “The 2014–2015 season was as exciting for its rave reviews and Grammy Award, as it was for the inspiration we all received from our community programs which share the gift of music with many people who would not otherwise have a chance to experience it. I want to recognize the dedication and inspiration of our Music Director Ludovic Morlot and our musicians, Chorale, staff, volunteers and Board, in particular our Board Chair, Leslie Jackson Chihuly.”
The 2014–2015 season was marked by the first-ever Grammy Award for the Seattle Symphony, the release of three new recordings on the Seattle Symphony Media label, the three-week Sibelius Festival led by Principal Guest Conductor Thomas Dausgaard and collaborations with local artists ranging from sound sculptor Trimpin, to Mike McCready of Pearl Jam. Seattle Symphony Media was nominated for four Grammy Awards in 2014 and three in 2015. The 2014–2015 season also saw the second year of Link Up: Seattle Symphony, which invited over 9,000 third through fifth graders to sing and play recorders with the orchestra in Benaroya Hall. In the current season even more students will be served, and a dozen Seattle Symphony Teaching Artists are working with schools across the Puget Sound region to prepare students for the experience. The Seattle Symphony’s Community Connections program has grown to include over 50 local nonprofits, and makes symphonic music and creative projects available to youth, cultural, military, health services, senior and social service groups including those who are experiencing homelessness.
For the 2014–2015 fiscal year, the Symphony returned a $1.27 million operating surplus on a budget of $27.3 million. Fundraising increased by 5.8% from $12.76 million the previous year, to $13.5 million, with increases in the categories of individual giving, corporate support, special events, and foundation and government support. Average paid attendance for the core Masterworks Series in the 2014–2015 season increased to an average of 73% of capacity, up from 69% in the previous season. Revenue from overall ticket sales and fees increased 3.7% from $11.2 million to $11.6 million.
Operating expenses increased by 6.7% from $25.6 million the previous year, to $27.3 million. Expenses increased due to a planned increase in musician and staff salaries, and the new alignment of the Seattle Symphony and Benaroya Hall operations to streamline event management.
Benaroya Hall posted a small surplus of $48,000 on its budget of $3.17 million for the 2014–2015 season. The hall budget continues to provide funding for ongoing leasehold improvements and capital renewal reserves in order to ensure that Benaroya Hall is maintained as a first-class facility.
The Seattle Symphony’s endowment, which is managed by the Seattle Symphony Foundation, contributed $1.64 million to Symphony operations. The total net assets of the Seattle Symphony Foundation increased from $32.3 million to $33.3 million, which includes the $26.6 million invested assets of the endowment.
Click here for the online version of the 2014–2015 Annual Report.
About the Seattle Symphony
The Seattle Symphony is one of America's leading symphony orchestras and is internationally acclaimed for its innovative programming and extensive recording history. Under the leadership of Music Director Ludovic Morlot since September 2011, the Symphony is heard from September through July by more than 500,000 people through live performances and radio broadcasts. It performs in one of the finest modern concert halls in the world — the acoustically superb Benaroya Hall — in downtown Seattle. Its extensive education and community engagement programs reach over 65,000 children and adults each year. The Seattle Symphony has a deep commitment to new music, commissioning many works by living composers each season. The orchestra has made nearly 150 recordings and has received two Grammy Awards, 21 Grammy nominations, two Emmy Awards and numerous other accolades. In 2014 the Symphony launched its in-house recording label, Seattle Symphony Media.