In Wednesday’s (3/2) Oregonian (Portland), David Stabler reports, “After a poor turnout at the box office last season, ticket sales to Oregon Symphony concerts are up 35 percent over this time last year, says Carl Herko, a symphony spokesman. With 11 of the season’s 16 classical subscription-series programs complete, the orchestra has attracted an average paid audience of 1,771 per concert. That translates to an average of 454 more ticket buyers per performance than last season. … Still, a couple of other numbers are worth noting, too. When music director Carlos Kalmar arrived in 2003, the number of ticket buyers at a classical concert averaged 1,744. That’s almost identical to this season. But during those eight years, the orchestra’s donated income rose from $3.8 million to $7.1 million today.  That means, while donated income has almost doubled in eight years, the number of people paying to see classical concerts is practically unchanged.” The article quotes symphony President Elaine Calder as stating, “For many people, buying a ticket equates with supporting the orchestra—and for people in the most expensive seats … that is literally true.  … But … if we can increase attendance we must then try to increase the pool of donors as well.”

Posted March 4, 2011