From the President
Thank you for visiting this space. I am writing with regard to important developments at the St. Louis Symphony, with a focus on results of the recently completed 2013 fiscal year.
An Outstanding 2012-13 Season, our 133rd
Any discussion of the past 12 months must begin by noting that the St. Louis Symphony over the past year continued to provide outstanding performances at Powell Hall, across the community, nationally, and internationally through two major tours and weekly radio broadcasts. Music Director David Robertson and our musicians remain dedicated to producing the best artistic product possible in every venue, across an impressive variety of offerings. We are very proud of them.
The year was also extraordinary in the scope of initiatives undertaken, framed by a return to international touring after a nearly fifteen-year hiatus, resulting in a highly successful European festivals tour garnering raves from audiences, critics, and presenters alike. Bookending the season was our hosting of the League of American Orchestra’s 68th Conference, held in St. Louis for the first time since 1966. The Conference brought 950 delegates from across North American to St. Louis for three days of concerts, meetings, and symposiums. The Conference was highly successful, with the St. Louis Symphony garnering accolades for its performances, presentations, and overall hosting of the event. It was also a perfect opportunity to show off St. Louis. In between these two major projects, we recorded John Adams’ City Noir for release on Nonesuch and undertook a highly successful California tour, our second in three years, including a three-day residency at the University of California-Davis. All this fit into a year that included 110 concerts at Powell Hall and hundreds of individual education and community partnership activities across the region.
Summary of Financial Results
FY2013 Financial results (Download | PDF)
Operating revenues for the year totaled $25.5m, a 7.2% increase over the prior year. Operating expenses totaled $28.2m, 5.7% over the prior year. The result for FY13 was a loss of $2.62m (favorable to a budgeted gap of $2.79m) and a $190k improvement from a $2.81m deficit in FY12. Contributing to the result was better-than-projected endowment growth, additional underwriting gifts associated with the League Conference, and expense savings. The FY13 deficit is the smallest since 2005, and as a percentage of budget, it is at its lowest point in more than twelve years. The St. Louis Symphony has no accumulated deficit as additional stopgap funds outside the operating budget have been raised to fund the structural gap over a multi-year period.
Earned revenues, comprised mostly of ticket sales, totaled $7.9m (excluding tours.) Ticket revenues were off 2.6% from FY12, mostly the result of strategic re-pricing to hold ticket prices in check while ensuring a range of purchase options for buyers. This follows four years of robust ticket revenue growth totaling 39 percent. Total attendance for this year was up from 192,445 to 193,274 with per-concert average attendance growing from 1,734 to 1,757. Attendance has increased 16.5% since the launch of audience development efforts as part of our strategic plan five years ago, with 39,000 new households added.
Thanks to the generosity of the St. Louis community, contributed operating revenues totaled $9.76m (not including $620k raised for touring), representing a 5.7% increase over FY12. This growth was in part the result of Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield’s generous underwriting of the League of American Orchestra Conference in June and a record gala thanks to the outstanding leadership and generosity of David and Thelma Steward. Total contributed operating revenues have grown 26% over five years since the launch of our strategic plan and remain at their highest point in more than thirteen years.
The endowment of the St. Louis Symphony stood at $148.6m, up from $131m in FY12, largely the result of a $10m bequest from a very generous, longtime supporter of the St. Louis Symphony and better than projected market performance of 8.4%.
Even with the growth of our endowment and strong results in increased earned and contributed revenues in recent years, as well as strong expense management, we continue to focus on building operating revenues with a renewed effort to build endowment to ensure a sustainable operating structure and secure the greatness of the Symphony and its education and community efforts for the future. You’ll be hearing more about this in the coming year.
We are indebted to all who support this orchestra in our community, and to the extraordinary board, orchestra, and staff who all have had a hand in the many successes of the St. Louis Symphony this past year, and in all the years that came before. We have much to do over the next year and beyond, and look forward to a continued trajectory onward and upward.