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Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra Announces Modest Surplus for 2009-10 Season

ROCHESTER, NY – At the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra’s (RPO) Annual Meeting today, the Orchestra announced a modest surplus for the 2009-2010 Season that ended August 31, 2010. The surplus was $2,416 on a budget of approximately $9.2 million. The Orchestra had ended the previous, 2008-2009 Season, with a $776,000 deficit.

“We are proud that in this continued tough economic climate, we are able to announce a balanced budget for last season.  This milestone was achieved with tremendous sacrifice on the part of our musicians, conductors and employees and with great generosity on the part of individuals in the region who value the RPO and its mission—and without compromising our commitment to our patrons, to our community, and to maintaining our tradition of artistic excellence.  Our musicians, conductors, and staff accepted enormous wage reductions with the knowledge that this was a necessary step toward stabilizing the RPO’s finances,” remarked Charles Owens, RPO President and CEO.

In January 2010, the Orchestra announced the Million Dollar Community Challenge.  At the time, a group of longtime donors anonymously pledged $500,000 to spark the challenge.  In the end, the organization raised nearly $1.1 million toward the RPO’s bottom line.

Board Chair Suzanne Welch said, “We are so thankful to the Rochester community for their continued giving to the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in this economy.  Over the last few seasons, we have had to make tough decisions that in the end benefit the long-term outcome of the RPO.  While these choices have not always been easy, we have remained committed to the artistic integrity of this fine Orchestra.  While the budget has been tight, our education and community engagement programs continue to run at full speed, and we continue to bring world-class guest artists and conductors to the Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre stage.”

The current 2010-2011 Season has seen record-setting subscription sales, totaling nearly $2 million.  In continued support of the Education and Community Engagement programs, the Orchestra also announced the upcoming release of a children’s recording, featuring actor John Lithgow as narrator.  During the 2009-2010 Season, the Orchestra recorded Poulenc’s Babar the Elephant! with Principal Conductor of Education and Outreach Michael Butterman conducting (The Louise and Henry Epstein Family Chair).  The disc also features A Family for Baby Grand by Brad Ross, with Jennifer Carsillo, Butterman’s wife, narrating.

Throughout the 2010-2011 Season, the RPO continues to celebrate Christopher Seaman who is stepping down after 13 seasons as Music Director.  Seaman will be honored with the title of Conductor Laureate, beginning in 2011-2012.  Owens concluded the meeting by detailing the upcoming events planned to honor Seaman, including A Bow Tie Affair on June 4, 2011, at the Country Club of Rochester.

Also, during the Annual Meeting, board members were elected.  Returning board members for the term expiring January 2014 are Patrick Kelly, Nannette P. Nocon, Paula H. Pattison, Gregory W. Smith, and Jules L. Smith.  New board members elected are:

Steven Hess
Hess was born in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.  He graduated from Columbia University and served as a Navy Officer.  Moving to Rochester in 1976, he headed The Saunders Group, a major photographic equipment manufacturer.  Hess is married to Sara D. Atkinson, MD and is CFO and Practice Manager of his wife’s clinical research practice.  He serves on the Board of Directors of the Rochester Humane Society.

John K. Purcell
Purcell has served as CEO of Rochester-based Fibertech since the company launched in May 2000.  Fibertech now operates in 23 cities in the Northeaster United States providing high-speed fiber optic connections to hundreds of business customers.  Purcell previously served on the RPO Board of Directors from 1988 to 1997.  He also has served on the boards of the Memorial Art Gallery and the Rochester Business Alliance.  Purcell is a graduate of LeMoyne College, which honored him in June 2010 with the Ignatian Award for achievements in his profession.

Jeffrey A. Wadsworth
Wadsworth is an attorney with Harter, Secrest & Emery LLP, specializing in business and commercial litigation.  Wadsworth earned his law degree with highest honors George Washington University Law School and has a BA from the College of William and Mary.  He is an elected member of the American Law Institute, serves on the Advisory Group to the New York State and Federal Judicial Council, is the founder and current President of the Rochester Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society.