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RPO Presents Financial and Artistic Results at Annual Meeting

January 26, 2009

“Prelude to Transformation” Reports on 2007-08 Results, Shares New Transformation Plan, Unveils New “Look” and Elects New Board Members

Rochester, NY– At its Annual Meeting on Monday, January 26, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra looked both back and ahead, as it reported the financial and artistic results of its 2007-08 Fiscal Year ending August 31, 2008, presented its new Transformation Plan, and unveiled the “look” of its new brand.  The meeting took place at Kilbourn Hall at the Eastman School of Music and was followed by a reception at Max of Eastman Place.

“Prelude to Transformation” – the title of the Meeting – is a reference to the RPO’s new three-year strategic Transformation Plan. The Meeting opened with a musical prelude and fanfare performed by the RPO Brass Quintet, followed by the 2007-08 Chairman’s Report by Jim Boucher, the Maestro’s Report by Music Director Christopher Seaman, presentation of the audited financial statements, election of new board members, a musical interlude by a quintet from the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, the Plan for Transformation presented by RPO President & CEO Charles Owens, and concluding remarks by Jim Boucher.  Questions and answers followed prior to adjournment.

Board Chair James Boucher introduced the meeting, reviewing the 2007-08 85th Anniversary Season within the context of the last three-year strategic plan, Ensuring a Vibrant Future, which began in 2005-2006.  Highlights of the three years of progress toward the goals set by that plan include:

  • Earned revenue from ticket sales and concert fees grew 22% over the three-year period, with an impressive 25% rise in subscription sales and a concurrent 18% rise in single-ticket sales
  • Contributed revenue, including support from individuals, corporations, and foundations, grew 13% during the period, from $3.02 million to $3.42 million.  The average gift to the Annual Campaign rose from $282 to $348, an increase of 23%
  • Giving from the RPO Board and Honorary Board rose 46% over the past three years, from $398,000 to $580,000
  • The completion of the New Century Endowment Campaign which raised $10 million in 2007
  • The successful partnership between the University of Rochester and the RPO which has made possible the renovation and expansion of the Eastman Theatre complex,  now well under way

Music Director Christopher Seaman took the podium next for the Maestro’s Report on the artistic accomplishments of the previous year, beginning with the Red Carpet Spectacular opening the 85th Anniversary Season.  Other artistic highlights included the Rochester premiere of Michael Daugherty’s Deus ex Machina with pianist Terrence Wilson, the sold-out Beatlemania! concerts, guitarist Sharon Isbin’s extraordinary performances, Yo-Yo Ma’s special sold-out concert, the season closer with Carmina Burana dedicated to the Eastman Kodak Company in honor of its support for the Theatre renovation, and the summer CMAC and Symphony on the Genesee barge concert.  He also spoke with excitement about the soon-to-be transformed Eastman Theatre, and thanked his conducting colleagues, the RPO board, musicians, staff and the entire RPO community for their tremendous support.

Seaman was followed by a financial report by Elizabeth F. Rice, RPO Treasurer.  Rice reported that the 2007-08 Season had a 3% growth in tickets sales and concert fees since the previous fiscal year, although this past season was the most challenging of the past three years for the RPO.  Revenue and support of $10,045,000 and expenses of $10,207,000 resulted in a small operating deficit of $162,000, a modest 1.6% of the total operating budget.  Looking ahead, the renovated Eastman Theatre and expansion project will provide an important opportunity for future growth and enhanced services.

Craig Stevens from The Bonadio Group presented and confirmed the election report, with Jim Boucher extending a welcome to the newly elected and returning RPO Board members.  Five members of the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra performed the first movement of the Prokofiev Quintet, providing a musical interlude prior to RPO President & CEO Charles Owens taking the podium. 

Owens began by reviewing last year’s RPYO accomplishments, which he described as “beautifully in sync with the RPO’s own strategic direction, emphasizing the principles of artistic excellence, community engagement, and national recognition.”  He then went on to describe the excellent work done by the 860 RPO volunteers who devoted more than 27,000 hours on behalf of the organization in the past year.

 Building on the theme of future direction of the RPO, Owens presented highlights of the RPO’s new 2008-11 Tranformation Plan, formulated last spring by a committee led by Board Vice Chair Suzanne D. Welch and unanimously approved by the Board over the summer.  Propelled by the ability of the completed Eastman Theatre project to transform the RPO’s concert experiences, the Transformation Plan seeks to:

  • Solidify the RPO’s financial base
  • Optimize the potential of the transformed Eastman Theatre
  • Address musician compensation
  • Achieve greater diversity among Board, staff, and audiences
  • Reach a greater level of national and international recognition
  • Reinvigorate the RPO’s summer season profile
  • Renovate the RPO’s downtown headquarters to create a vibrant and welcoming Orchestra center
  • Position the RPO for the next Endowment Campaign and long-term financial stability

Owens also led a review of the RPO’s re-branding efforts.  The outcome was a brand essence, a brand promise, and a brand personality, translated into a new “look” created by Jay Advertising with a new color palette and new logo, which Owens unveiled.  (A separate release follows describing the new RPO brand and “look.”)


Newly Elected Board Members:

  • Patrick C. Burke, Rochester Regional President; First Niagara Financial Group (Brighton)
  • LaMarr J. Jackson, Partner; Harris, Chesworth, O’Brien, Johnstone, Welch & Leone, LLP (W. Henrietta)
  • Patrick J. Kelly, Vice President and Private Client Advisor; U.S. Trust Bank of America Private Wealth Management Division (Brighton)
  • Dawn F. Lipson, Retired; NYS Workers Compensation/Disability Benefits Board (Brighton)
  • Anne Sartori, Advisor; Insiders Network to Colleges (Rochester)
  • Gregory W. Smith, President & CEO; Jay Advertising (Brighton)
  • Jules L. Smith, Partner; Blitman & King LLP (Penfield)
  • Ingrid A. Stanlis, Industries Knowledge Management Partner-in-Charge; KPMG LLP (Rochester)

Re-Elected Board Members:

  • David W. Ackroyd, Retired Educator (Fairport)
  • Dr. John M. Bennett, Professor Emeritus of Medicine; James P. Wilmot Cancer Center, University of Rochester Medical Center (Brighton)
  • William D. Eggers, Senior Council; Nixon Peabody LLP (Naples)
  • Elizabeth F. Rice, Retired VP Finance; Business Group Operations, Xerox Corporation (Rochester)
  • Dr. Friederike Seligman, Assistant Professor of Russian; University of Rochester (Rochester)
  • Dr. Gwen K. Stearns, Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology, University of Rochester School of Medicine; Chief of Ophthalmology, Rochester General Hospital; Medical Director, Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired – Goodwill (Pittsford)
  • Suzanne D. Welch, Retired Director of Worldwide Compensation and VP Human Resources; Eastman Kodak Company (Rochester)

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