Contact: Carl Herko
Vice President, Media & Public Relations
503-416-6347


December 18, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SYMPHONY ENJOYS A BUSY FALL SEASON AT THE BOX OFFICE
Average concert attendance is up by 18 percent;
ticket sales increase by nearly $259,000


Portland, Ore. … The Oregon Symphony closed out the first half of its 2007-08 concert season this week amid signs its audience likes what it hears — and is responding by buying more concert tickets.

Oregon Symphony Association President Elaine Calder reported today that final box office figures for the orchestra’s fall performances have shown a “significant improvement” over last season, even though the orchestra presented six fewer concerts than in the same period a year ago.

All together, the orchestra presented 33 concerts between September and December 2007 and sold a total of 56,227 tickets. While that figure totaled only a handful more than the 56,158 tickets sold for the same period last season, last season’s fall concert calendar included 39 performances.

The bottom line: considerably larger crowds for each concert. So far this season crowds at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in downtown Portland have averaged 1,704 each time the Oregon Symphony has performed, up more than 18 percent from a year ago.

“We deliberately reduced the number of classical programs in the fall season this year and paced them to better meet audience needs,” Calder said. “Our improved schedule, together with some popular programming, enabled us to increase both our attendance and our revenues. And by reducing the number of concerts, we saved on expenses as well — conservatively, at least $50,000 on hall labor and rental charges in the fall season alone.
 
“Our musicians and our audiences are always happy when the Schnitz is full, and we’re working to make that a regular occurrence. We’re a long way from sold out at every concert, but we’re very encouraged by the attendance this fall.”

Ticket sales for the 33 concerts so far this season total $2,467,882, which is $259,000 higher than for last season's 39 concerts and exceed the orchestra’s internal goal by more than $35,000.

Audience favorites have included the season-opening gala concert Sept. 22 featuring legendary pianist Van Cliburn, which played to a near-sellout crowd that filled the concert hall to 98 percent of its capacity, and the Oct. 17 concert celebrating the 90th birthday of Laureate Associate Conductor Norman Leyden, with a paid attendance at 96 percent of capacity.

Other best-sellers included:

Kalmar welcomed the news suggesting that the orchestra is showing signs of becoming a hotter ticket in town.

"I appreciate very much that we have improved our support from the community,” he said. “This is being reflected in our growing ticket sales. Elaine and I are working constantly, together with our musicians and staff, to make the Oregon Symphony the most exciting arts organization in Portland and in Oregon."

Another 45 performances remain in the orchestra’s 2007-08 season, which runs through May 19. Tickets are on sale now for all remaining concerts. 

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