Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO) announced that it balanced its budget for the sixth consecutive time in fiscal year 2014. Concert attendance for the 2013-2014 season continued an upward trend, increasing by 4%; individual gifts to the annual fund rose by 7% to $2.6 million; and corporate donations rose by 30%. CSO’s endowment is at its all-time high, $114 million. With all of these successes, CSO is close to eliminating its longtime structural deficit, which was $6.5 million in 2009 and is now down to $500,000.
Cincinnati is the smallest US city to support a year-round orchestra. CSO believes its innovative new projects have helped to secure donations and expose the orchestra to new audiences. Lumenocity, a festival of symphonic performances and digital-light displays, was held for the second year last summer, and CSO debuted the MusicNOW festival during the 2013-2014 season, featuring symphonic music, alternative rock, and world premieres. The musicians’ contract expires in September, and the orchestra anticipates restoring 14 of the 23 tenure-track vacancies that currently exist within future seasons.