Despite Crappy Economy, St. Louis Symphony Still Had a Good Year

One of the most awesome things in St. Louis is our world-class symphony orchestra, led by world-class conductor and sometime-kazoo virtuoso David Robertson. Over the past fiscal year, which ended August 31, more St. Louisans have started to appreciate the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, at least if the symphony's revenues are any indication.

This may also be due to efforts on the part of the symphony over the past two years to draw in more listeners, including performances of the Lord of the Rings Symphony, providing musical accompaniment for films and playing innovative pieces like Tan Dun's Water Concerto for Water Percussion and Orchestra.

(Video footage of the SLSO in rehearsal after the jump.)

Whatever the case, in the 2010 fiscal years, the SLSO took in $8.1 million in revenue, an increase of more than $1 million from 2009. It's not just due to higher ticket prices, either; the symphony sold 197,105 seats last year, 18,268 more than it did in 2009, with an average of 1,792 people plunking their butts into Powell Hall's plush seats every performance.

Meanwhile, income from donations holds steady while the SLSO's endowment continues to rebound, up to $116.6 million from its all-time low of $93 million in March, 2009.

"Going forward," said SLSO president Fred Bronstein, "we will continue to focus relentlessly on growing audience, building our fundraising base with a particular emphasis on strengthening our repeatable annual contributed revenue capability, and reducing and eliminating the structural deficit - essential to continued financial stability, all within the framework of presenting the highest quality music-making possible."

Or just continue to remember the words of playwright William Congreve: "Music has charms to soothe the savage beast."

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