At annual meeting, Buffalo Philharmonic announces balanced budget, touts record-breaking season, honors partners, names new trustees and officers

BUFFALO, NY – On Sept. 12, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Society, Inc. stakeholders gathered at Kleinhans Music Hall for its annual membership meeting to review the past season, to elect trustees, and to get updates on the state of the orchestra.

For the 2016-17 season, Treasurer Jim Beardi reported that the BPO broke records in ticket sales, subscriptions, and fundraising. Earned revenue hit an all-time high of $4.4 million, with season tickets accounting for $1.9 million. Fundraising brought the orchestra $4.3 million in contributed revenue, including a new record for the annual fund. Endowment income from increasing assets from the success of the Crescendo Campaign contributed a record $1.7 million and helped the organization achieve another balanced budget, the 12th in the past 13 years.

Executive Director Daniel Hart reported attendance of 210,000 people over the 38-week season, an increase of more than 20,000 from the 2015-16 season, and reported a total of 129 performances of the full orchestra and dozens by BPO musicians in the schools. The BPO education program was lauded as attendance passed the 50,000 mark.

Music Director JoAnn Falletta reflected on numerous artistic success and presented the first-ever “BPO Partner Awards” to several artistic partners. Irish Classical Theater Company collaborated with the orchestra on a successful three-concert performance of “Amadeus.” LehrerDance and the BPO presented “An American Siddhartha” on the UB campus, which fused dance, music and literature and brought the classic Herman Hesse novel to a new generation. A two-year collaboration with Projex and the Richardson Olmsted Campus bore fruit in the landmark “enLIGHTen Buffalo” concert on the grounds of the Campus. The board recognized Vincent O’Neill and Fortunato Pezzimenti of Irish Classical Theatre Company, Jon Lehrer of Lehrer Dance, and Keith Harrington of Projex and Corey Fabian Borenstein of the Richardson Olmsted Campus.

Members also heard presentations from Otis Glover, co-chair of the new BPO Diversity Council, BPO bassoonist and Trustee Martha Malkiewicz, and Carl Klingenschmitt on the activities of the Friends of the BPO.

Alex Montante and Robin Schulze, PhD were elected to three-year terms as trustees. Montante has extensive experience in non-profit board service, including a stint as president of the Junior League of Buffalo. She also serves on the boards of the Western New York Women’s Foundation, Nichols School, and Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute. Schulze is the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of English at UB, and is also a former professional harpist who studied at Eastman School of Music.

Trustee Nicole Tzetzo reported the election of officers for the 17-18 season, including Stephen Swift, Chair, Ange Fatta, Vice Chair, and Jim Beardi, Treasurer. Scott Stenclik was named Secretary, and John Yurtchuk became an additional Vice Chair. Cynthia Zane, Doug Bean, and Cindy Abbott Letro were each elected to a second three-year term. BPO French hornist Daniel Sweeley and BPO bassist Jonathan Borden took over as musician representatives from violinist Megan Prokes and trombonist Tim Smith.

Board Chair Stephen Swift honored outgoing secretary and board member Nicole Tzetzo. Tzetzo served on the board for 11 years, most recently holding the position of secretary, and is now Executive Vice President for the Ralph C. Wilson Foundation.

Director of Sales and Patron Service Mike Giambra was honored for his service to the orchestra as he moves from full to part-time status. Giambra joined the BPO staff in 1999 and oversaw the development and implementation of many of the orchestra’s signature sales promotions.

“The successes we’ve had over the past season really speak to the success of the broader Western New York community,” said Swift. “The BPO is proud to be a driving force in the revitalization of the region. We continue to strive towards fulfilling our strategic priorities of growing our audience, developing and growing artistically, and operating with excellence and fiscal responsibility. We have a clear strategy that works and leverages the talent available to us, ensuring that we can serve this community for many decades to come.”

As Buffalo’s cultural ambassador, the Grammy Award-winning Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra under the leadership of music director JoAnn Falletta presents more than 100 concerts each year. Since 1940, the orchestra’s home has been Kleinhans Music Hall, a National Historic Landmark with a reputation as one of the finest concert halls in the United States. During the tenure of JoAnn Falletta, the BPO has rekindled its history of radio broadcasts and recordings, including the release of 40 new recordings on the Naxos and Beau Fleuve labels. For more information about the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, visit

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