BPO reports balanced budget for sixth year in a row; elects new Trustees and Chair

BUFFALO, NY – At the annual meeting of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Society Inc. held on Sept. 27 the orchestra reviewed important artistic achievements for the 2015-16 season and reported the sixth consecutive season with a balanced budget and the eleventh balanced budget in the last 12 years.
The BPO reported revenues of $11.5 million. Ticket sales and earned revenues accounted for 35 percent, contributed revenue for 43 percent, endowment income for 14 percent and government support for 8 percent. Program expenses (artistic, production and marketing) accounted for 85 percent of total expenses. Executive Director Daniel Hart and Music Director JoAnn Falletta also presented an analysis of programming and attendance: during the last fiscal year, the BPO presented 120 performances: 35 in classical series, 24 youth concerts, 14 summer concerts, 19 regional and tour concerts, 22 pops and rock concerts, and six family series performances. 192,154 people attended concerts and millions heard the orchestra on national radio broadcasts and recordings.
Falletta called the “Finnish Festival” opening of the 2015-16 season that coincided with the 75th annniversary of Kleinhans Music Hall “the artistic highlight of the whole decade.” Other key projects she noted included the East Coast premiere of Byron Yasui’s Ukulele Concerto with Jake Shimabukuro; the collaboration with the Colored Musicians Club for “Orchestra Meets Jazz;” the sixth biennial JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Concerto Competition held in partnership with WNED-WBFO; and the release of five new recordings on the Naxos and Beau Fleuve labels.
Other selected highlights included:

  • $10 million in pledges secured for the Crescendo Campaign, including a new $1.5 million pledge from the Cullen Foundation and another $1 million pledge from an anonymous patron, both coming in August at the close of the season.
  • 27 percent increase in single tickets sold for Pops Series.
  • 16 percent increase in single tickets sold for the BPO Kids Series.
  • Successful artistic collaborations and a three-city tour of Florida, its third tour in six years.
  • International recognition of new recordings and programs.
  • Educational programs served 42,000 students at 158 schools.

“When people ask we are doing about the younger generation and who will take our place in the concert hall,” commented Hart, “one can see we are clearly doubling down on our focus in this important area and the success of our programs shows in the numbers.”

New Trustees and Board Leadership

  • Stephen Swift was formally elected as the new chair of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Society Inc.’s Board of Trustees Swift is the Chief Financial Officer of HealthNow and has served on the BPO Board of Trustees since 2010, including a term as treasurer. He replaces Louis P. Ciminelli, who is rotating off the board after two terms as chair and ten years of service.
  • Angelo Fatta will continue to serve as Vice Chair.
  • James Beardi, a former executive vice president at M&T Bank, will become treasurer.
  • Nicole Tzetzo, newly named Vice President, Finance and Administration for the Ralph C. Wilson Foundation, will continue as secretary.

Amy Habib Rittling and Karen Sperrazza were elected to their first terms on the board. Habib Rittling is an attorney with Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman LLP. Sperrazza is a committed community volunteer and a longtime patron and donor to the BPO. Violinist Megan Prokes will also join the board as an ex officio member. She serves as Chair of the Orchestra Committee. Current board members Peter Eliopoulous, Roger Simon, Michal Wadsworth and Gary Szakmary were elected to additional terms.


Jim Pace, president of the American Federation of Musicians Local 92, attended the meeting to present the BPO with a plaque in recognition of the longstanding relationship between the orchestra and the union. The union represents all 73 BPO musicians, who recently signed a six-year contract, the longest contract between an orchestra and its musicians union in the nation.

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 37 new recordings on the Naxos and Beau Fleuve labels. For more information about the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, visit www.bpo.org.

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