Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra closes 2015-16 season with record results

The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (MSO) announced that it surpassed both sales and attendance records from the 2014-15 season, marking the 2015-16 season as one of its most successful on record. With earned and contributed revenue continuing to grow, along with a focus on achieving ongoing operational efficiencies, the MSO has now achieved three consecutive years of balanced budgets.

Since the beginning of the season, 5,644 new households purchased tickets, a 32 percent increase in new MSO patrons over last season, which also saw an increase. This includes an eight percent increase in total single ticket sales. The MSO more than doubled single ticket revenue from stand-alone concerts. Contributed income grew over four percent, with nearly 1,500 first-time donors contributing to the MSO’s artistic future.

There were 20 sold-out performances this season, mixed evenly between pops and classics, such as the MSO’s movie series, special guest performances by cellist Yo-Yo Ma and soprano Renee Fleming, the Holiday Pops, the “Secret Symphony” and more. In total, the MSO reached more than 200,000 patrons this season.

“I’m thrilled that more people are experiencing first-hand the power music has to engage the senses and touch the soul, whether that be through attending our performances or participating in our educational and community outreach events,” said Mark Niehaus, executive director of the MSO. “As an organization, the MSO is both artistically and operationally at its highest levels. Our Board and leadership are committed to acting boldly in order to preserve the MSO’s long-term artistic and financial future.”

In January 2016, the MSO launched a new website with added ticketing and donation functionality, and more streamlined, user-friendly experience for desktop, tablet and mobile users. Since the upgrade, there has been a 24 percent increase in revenue brought in through the website and a 38 percent increase in total tickets sold online.

In addition, the MSO presented 15 concerts in its “Concerts for Schools” program, reaching more than 23,000 students from 222 schools throughout the region. Moreover, the MSO’s “Arts in Community Education” (ACE) program served 25 schools and 7,500 students in Southeastern Wisconsin. This included 410 school ensemble visits that both students and families were able to enjoy.

The 2016-17 season will serve as Music Director Edo de Waart’s finale with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. An active and deliberate search is currently underway for his successor.

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