Houston Symphony Wraps Record 2012-13 Season
With its Centennial season well underway, the Houston Symphony shared record-shattering statistics from the first few months of activity for the historic 2013-14 season along with notable financial results achieved during the previous fiscal year that ended May 31.
"A real coming-to-life of our mission statement is embedded within these unprecendented numbers," said Mark C. Hanson, executive director and CEO. "Interest in our centennial celebration and our strong financial performance are making it possible for us to inspire and enrich more and more of Houston's growing and diverse population."
The 2012-13 Annual Fund campaign was the most successful in the Symphony's 100-year history with more than $10 million contributed from almost 5,000 donors to support the orchestra's performances, education programs and community engagement initiatives. In total, the Symphony raised $14.3 million in operating support during the 2012-13 season, inclusive of the Annual Fund, event contributions and special project support. Overall, the Symphony achieved a balanced budget for the third consecutive year, the third in an ambitious five-year financial plan adopted in April 2010 to strengthen its financial position while expanding its community impact.
The Symphony also announced a significant $2 million, multi-year gift from Board member Ms. Marie Taylor Bosarge. In announcing the gift, Hanson said, "The leadership that Ms. Bosarge has shown with her commitment is incredibly inspiring. Through her extraordinary support, she is helping the Symphony by investing in our core programing in the concert hall and allowing the orchestra to deepen our reach and relevance through an expansion in education and community programs, especially in this historic Centennial Season."
The Centennial Season officially began on June 21 with a free concert celebrating the exact 100th birthday of the orchestra and attracting 17,000 to Miller Outdoor Theatre. Houston Symphony media partners KTRK Channel 13 and Classical 91.7 KUHA FM reached another 250,000 people through live television and radio broadcasts of the program. KTRK also produced a special 30-minute documentary about the Symphony's history, collecting footage and interviews over the course of nine months and from around the world. The show aired twice before the birthday performance, with one immediately before the live broadcast, generating incredible ratings for KTRK and the Symphony - more than 1,000,000 impressions in the Houston media market.
The Houston Symphony has been performing summer concerts in Hermann Park at Miller Outdoor Theatre since 1940, and with the Centennial edition of the series entitled Summer Symphony Nights Presented by ExxonMobil with leadership support from the City of Houston through the Miller Theatre Advisory Board, the Symphony attracted a record 50% more people than in a typical year. By including the blockbuster birthday performance and concluding with the annual July 4 Star Spangled Salute, the Symphony created additional awareness and boosted attendance. In fact, the June 22 concert featuring Mozart and Scheherazade drew the biggest single audience ever, more than 8,000 people, for a standard Houston Symphony free concert in the park.
The momentum continued with the first ever Day of Music at Jones Hall on July 13. The Symphony produced the free, day-long festival as a special event for the city during the Centennial Season and to celebrate Houston's musical diversity. The Symphony joined forces with local groups Music Doing Good, Houston Blues Museum, Sugarhill Studios and Guitar Houston. The Houston Chronicle stepped-in with valuable exposure in targeted areas with a dedicated insert in the newspaper, reaching more than 60,000 households. Five stages featured almost 30 community music groups performing everything from jazz to gospel and Japanese drumming. In between performances, patrons could enjoy food truck fare on Jones Plaza and flex their own musical muscles at harmonica clinics and the Symphony's Instrument Petting Zoo. All told, Day of Music attracted 10,000 music fans, likely the most people to visit Jones Hall in one day.