Hawaii Symphony Orchestra makes financial changes as it prepares for second season

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Last year was the inaugural year for the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra. And while artistically, organizers say it hit all the right notes, financially it was still a struggle. So, there will be some changes.

“It doesn’t mean cheapen it or anything of that sort. Expenses go down, income goes up. We find the right balance,” Hawaii Symphony Orchestra President Steven Monder said.

Monder says the symphony lost money last year, but raised funds after the season to break even, so this year there’s a clean slate.

To cut down on the costs, it will be a shorter season. This year will be a total of 19 weeks, which includes the opera and the Nutcracker Ballet. Last year’s season lasted 22 weeks.

“So it’s a struggle, it’s a sacrifice, but we believe it’s what’s necessary at this point,” Monder said.

Marketing strategy has also changed. They’re getting the word out two months earlier.

“We also have significantly more lead time to market the season to subscribers and single season purchasers,” Hawaii Symphony Orchestra Finance Director Randolph Moore said.

It’s also more lead time to get sponsors and donations. Moore says the symphony gets about one-third of its revenue from ticket sales and the rest from corporate sponsors and donations.

In the past, what was known as the Honolulu Symphony, ran into all sorts of financial problems and wound up going bankrupt. Its last performance was in Dec. 2009.

With a new name and a new president who had success running the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Monder says it will take time, but it will be successful.

“We believe that what we’re presenting is an A-list of artists terrific musicians on the stage in a way that is sustainable for the community,” Monder said.

The second season starts in October and tickets are now on sale.

For more information, visit this website.

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