Handel and Haydn Society Holds 2012 Annual Meeting


At the annual meeting held in Boston on September 24, the Handel and Haydn Society (H&H) presented its audited financial statements for the year ending June 30, 2012 and announced that it had balanced its budget in addition to reaching key organizational accomplishments for the 2011–2012 Season. Also discussed was the undertaking a strategic planning process and development of a five-year Strategic Plan set to guide the organization through its 2015 Bicentennial and beyond.

Executive Director and CEO Marie-Hélène Bernard commented, "As we continue the journey towards the 2015 Bicentennial, it is critical that we both listen and respond to the members of our community. The Strategic Plan has given us an opportunity to do just that, and the response was overwhelming. H&H is in wonderful position to remain strong as we approach this landmark event."

Ambitious plans are already in place for the celebration, including a commission, free concerts for the Boston community, expanded educational outreach initiatives, special lectures and exhibitions, and recording projects.

At the meeting, it was announced that H&H ended its FY12 fiscal year on June 30, 2012, with a surplus of $42,663. The Society balanced its budget with unrestricted revenue of $3.30 million and total expenses of $3.26 million. Total revenues for 2012 were up 4.4%. Unrestricted contributions from individuals and grants, representing more than half of operating revenues, remainEd Strong, with a record-breaking Society Ball, H&H's annual gala fundraiser. Handel and Haydn Society generated $1,400,069 in ticket revenue, consisting of $726,346 in subscriptions and $673,723 in single tickets.

The Handel and Haydn Society's 2011–2012 Season, the third under Harry Christophers' artistic leadership, was greeted with acclaim from critics and audiences alike. Highlights included performances by exceptional international and local talent, with the debut of newly appointed Concertmaster Aisslinn Nosky in January with Vivaldi The Four Seasons and guest artists including fortepianist Kristian Bezuidenhout opening the season and Jean-Marie Zeitouni conducting Beethoven's groundbreaking Eroica symphony. Soprano Teresa Wakim, mezzo-soprano Paula Murrihy, tenor Thomas Cooley, and baritone Sumner Thompson, were featured in Mozart's Coronation Mass, which was recorded live in April and released on CD September 11, 2012.

"It continues to be a pleasure and a privilege to lead the Handel and Haydn Society's talented and passionate musicians. Last season saw a big development in what my thinking and my vision for H&H is, as we continued to reach new levels artistically with works including the Bach St. Matthew Passion. We are working to develop an orchestra and chorus that can stand in its own right and stand high amongst the early music in Boston and across the globe," said Harry Christophers.

Collaborations with educational and arts institutions in the Greater Boston area remain important to Handel and Haydn. H&H musicians provided in-class performances at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); demonstrated period instrument equipment and performance technique; and lent their expertise to the singers of MIT's Chamber Chorus and Concert Choir. H&H's partnership with the New England Conservatory (NEC) continued with the Conducting Apprenticeship Program in which three NEC Master's candidates in Orchestral Conducting spent a week with Harry Christophers and Jean-Marie Zeitouni. Other partnerships resulted in special events, lectures, and performances at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Boston Public Library branches; Massachusetts College of Art; Concord Museum; Cambridge Center for Adult Education; and Boston Children's Museum.

Chairman of the Board Nicholas Gleysteen remarked, "Handel and Haydn continues to focus on its commitment to full participation, community partnerships, education and to artistic excellence in the field of historically informed performance. The path to the Bicentennial is an exciting one, and I look forward to seeing H&H deepen it's relationships with the community and expand it's footprint locally, nationally, and internationally as we approach this momentous occasion."

H&H was heard on the radio both locally on WGBH/Classical New England and nationally on NPR's SymphonyCast over the course of the season. Four concerts, including Mozart in Vienna and Handel Messiah, were aired.

The Handel and Haydn Society celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Collaborative Youth Concerts, a component of the Karen S. and George D. Levy Educational Outreach Program. Since 1987, high school choirs from Belmont, Boston, Brockton, Danvers, Lawrence, Lynn, New Bedford, Newton, and North Quincy have performed choral masterpieces by Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Purcell, Schubert, and Vivaldi with our Period Instrument Orchestra and vocal soloists. To mark the anniversary, in February 2012 students from Boston, Brockton, Lawrence, and Roxbury joined Associate Conductor John Finney and Society musicians on stage at Symphony Hall to perform the "Gloria" from Mozart's Coronation Mass.

Nicholas Gleysteen was re-elected Chairman of the Board by the Board of Governors and Overseers. Gleysteen, a lawyer and CPA, is a Portfolio Manager at Hellman, Jordan Management Co., and also serves on the boards of the Weston Land Trust, Somerset Club Executive Committee, Fort Ticonderoga, National Trust for Scotland USA, Handel House USA, and the Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club.