@ClassicalNEXT 2017, 17 – 20 May – Registration & Booking is open

You can now register to attend Classical:NEXT 2017 –  classical music’s most important industry event! Booking a stand in the Expo is also possible now: Visit the registration section of the website to see more information.



Classical:NEXT will return to de Doelen, Rotterdam, the Netherlands to host its sixth edition, which will be held 17 – 20 May 2017. Keep your eyes out: the very first programme elements for Classical:NEXT 2017 will be announced on 30 November. For the third year in a row, registration prices remain exactly the same. The earlier one registers the better . One can register before 13 January for the very best prices, and before 3 March to make sure to be included in the Classical:NEXT Guide.

It is possible to register now via the website. Registration only takes a few minutes. One can use last year’s registration data. Participantb will join professionals from all round the globe – delegations and umbrella stands from the countries listed below are already confirmed, and more stands and delegations from all over the globe will follow in the coming weeks and months.

  • Australia (Sounds Australia)
  • Belgium (Flanders Arts Institute & Wallonia / Brussels Music)
  • Canada (Canada Council for the Arts)
  • Denmark (Danish Arts Foundation)
  • Estonia (Music Estonia & Estonian Music Information Centre)
  • Finland (Music Finland)
  • France (Business France)
  • Latvia (Latvia/Letland)
  • Lithuania (Music Lithuania)
  • Luxembourg (music:LX)
  • Spain – Catalonia (Creative Catalonia)
  • Sweden (Export Music Sweden)
  • Switzerland (Fondation Suisa)
  • The Netherlands (Dutch Pavilion)
  • UK (British Music Stand / BPI)
  • UK – Scotland (Creative Scotland)

US Orchestras loose subscribers and audiences

The League of American Orchestras has released Orchestra Facts: 2006-2014, the organization’s first comprehensive longitudinal study of American orchestra finances and operations.

Survey says: US orchestras loose subscribers and audienees

Survey says: US orchestras loose subscribers and audienees

Using an extensive variety of organizational and external data sources, the study depicts the enormous breadth and scope of the American orchestra field, along with the complexities and resiliencies inherent in the art form’s business model. With its focus on the nine-year period from 2006 to 2014, including topline trends, five-year trends, and one-year snapshots, Orchestra Facts examines the effects of the recent recession, as well as broader trends around audience attendance, orchestra finances, and accessibility.

Orchestra Facts: 2006-2014 reveals a remarkable breadth of activity and commitment of resources on the part of orchestras in service to their communities,” said League of American Orchestras President and CEO Jesse Rosen. “Our first-ever longitudinal study provides an authoritative fact base for analyzing orchestras’ finances and operations, as well as new metrics for understanding orchestras’ education and community engagement activity.” The report finds that the scope and scale of the orchestra field in the United States is vast: in 2014, 1,224 orchestras contributed $1.8 billion to the U.S. economy and attracted a total audience of nearly 25 million. Two out of every three orchestras operated with annual expenses budgets of under $300,000. Cost barriers traditionally associated with attending orchestra performances are coming down: the number of free concerts has increased, while the cost of purchasing paid-for tickets fell.


An 18% growth in the number of households subscribing shows that demand for subscriptions is still growing, even if spend per subscriber is down. Overall, audiences declined by 10.5% between 2010 and 2014, broadly in line with other performing arts sectors. However, audiences for classical series concerts declined by 5.5% (corresponding roughly to a 3% decline in the number of classical series performances offered). The report also finds that orchestras’ work continues outside the concert hall through a wide array of education and community engagement activities for diverse audiences.

Generally, the report confirms recession recovery for the field as a whole, but individual orchestras may have different experiences. The study also illustrates the complexity of the orchestra business model as orchestras balance multiple forms of earned, contributed, and investment revenue. Looking at Change in Unrestricted Net Assets (CUNA), defined as the difference between unrestricted income and total expenses, the proportion of orchestras reporting deficits dropped from 40% in 2010 to 18% in 2014.

 Report Highlights*:

See report’s Key Findings (pp 4-5) and Conclusions (p 20) sections for more details.

Download the Full Report Here


For the first time, this report publicly reveals a detailed picture of the scope and scale of the orchestra field in the United States:

  • In 2014, the orchestra field contributed $1.8 billion to the U.S. economy and attracted a total audience of nearly 25 million.
  • That same year, there were 1,224 U.S. orchestras, distributed widely across all 50 states, and two out of every three orchestras operated with annual expenses budgets of under $300,000.

Orchestras perform, but also teach, lead, facilitate, and train.

  • Their work drives a vast array of education and community engagement (EdCE) activities.
  • A segment of the report analyzes survey responses from 98 orchestras EdCE activities: these 98 orchestras alone reported 19,000 EdCE performances, musical activities, and events, with 2.1 million people participating in these EdCE events.
  • Two thirds participated without charge.
  • Thirty-eight percent of the EdCE participants were African American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian American/Pacific Islander, or American Indian/Alaskan Native. Sixty-two percent were white.

Cost barriers traditionally associated with attending orchestra performances are coming down:

  • Between 2010 and 2014, the number of free concerts increased, while the cost of purchasing paid-for tickets fell.

Orchestras find themselves at a moment of transition:

  • 2013 saw a significant shift in the traditional orchestra business model as – for the first time – income produced by single ticket and group sales was higher than that earned from subscription revenues.
  • The subscription model remains important: an 18% growth in the number of households subscribing shows that demand for subscriptions is still growing, even if spend per subscriber is down.
  • Overall, audiences declined by 10.5% between 2010 and 2014, broadly in line with other performing arts sectors.
  • However, audiences for classical series concerts declined by 5.5%, corresponding roughly to a 3% decline in the number of classical series performances offered.
  • The stability of contributed income through the recession years and the large number of small gifts made to orchestras (around 75% of the gifts made by non-trustee individuals were under $250) indicate a broad base of continuing community support for – and appreciation of – orchestras’ work.

The orchestra business model is complex but resilient:

  • Orchestras depend upon a complex portfolio of revenue sources that includes multiple forms of earned, contributed, and investment income.
  • Orchestras successfully maintained contributed income levels through the recession while containing growth in expenses.
  • Many orchestras rely on investment income, though this makes them more vulnerable during leaner times.
  • Between 2006 and 2014, total asset value increased by 4% while liabilities decreased by 7.5%, having peaked at the recession’s height. Consequently, net assets grew at a rate exceeding inflation by 6.6%.
  • In general terms, these measures indicate improved organizational stability over time, despite the impact of recession on the field.
  • Looking at Change in Unrestricted Net Assets (CUNA), defined as the difference between unrestricted income and total expenses, the proportion of orchestras reporting deficits dropped from 40% in 2010 to 18% in 2014.
  • It’s important to note that the report confirms recession recovery for the whole field; individual orchestras may have different experiences.

Orchestra Field-wide 2014 Snapshot: 1,224 orchestras in the NCAR and OSR data sets for financial year 2013-14

Orchestra Field 2006-14, 9-year Trends: The 547 orchestras with annual expenses of $50,000 or more that submitted data each of the five financial years from 2005-06 to 2013-14

The OSR data set was also exclusively analyzed in the following two ways: OSR2014 Snapshot: The 107 League member orchestras participating in the Orchestra Statistical Report for financial year 2013-14;  OSR 2010-14, 5-year Trends: The 65 League member orchestras participating in the Orchestra Statistical Report for each of the five financial years from 2009-10 to 2013-14

Figures in the report are adjusted for inflation.

Orchestras surveyed include both professional and semi-professional orchestras, but do not include school, college, or military orchestras.

Youth orchestras are partially represented in the data sets, and are identified by footnotes throughout the report.

Read the full press release here.

Berlin Philharmonic: Another 5 years of Deutsche Bank Sponsorship

Deutsche Bank continues its strategic sponsoring partnership with Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra for another five years. This was announced at the Easter Festival in Baden-Baden. The partnership started in 1989. With some 6 Mio. Euros annual support this is the biggest regular corporate funding for an orchestra in Germany.

BPhil CEO Michael Hoffmann, Sir Simon Rattle, DB Co-CEO Jürgen Fitschen (from the left)  (C) Monika Rittershaus

BPhil CEO Michael Hoffmann, Sir Simon Rattle, DB Co-CEO Jürgen Fitschen (from the left) (C) Monika Rittershaus

In the past Deutsche Bank money made many things possible: the education program Zukunft@BPhil, the outstanding Digital Concert Hall or the latest education project Vocal Heroes amongst others. Digital Concerthall has reached out to more than 550.000 people around the globe. Since 2002 more than 37.000 kids and young people participated in BPhil education projects.

Full press release (in German)

Detroit Symphony Annual Giving Surpasses Goal At 17,4 Mio USD!

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) is back on the read of success – economically as well as artistically. DSO has surpassed its goal of $17 million for annual operational support with $17.4 million in individual, corporate and foundation gifts following the official close of the 2014 fiscal year on August 31, 2014. Individual giving, which saw an increase in every constituency, is owing to the generosity of 10,350 donors who represent the fourth consecutive year of donor base growth.

Home of DSO downtown Detroit

Home of DSO downtown Detroit

“Year after year we are humbled by the outpouring of support from this community,” said DSO President and CEO Anne Parsons. “The health of the DSO as an institution hinges on the generosity of others and thanks to the people of metro Detroit we are proudly on our way to a second consecutive balanced budget year.”

Individual giving increased from every constituency during fourth consecutive year of donor base growth

While overall individual giving grew by 8 percent, board giving grew by 10 percent for a total of $2.3 million. In its inaugural year, the Gabrilowitsch Society ($10,000+ giving club) secured more than 100 members giving a total of $3.3 million. The Governing Members, the DSO’s voting body, grew for the fourth consecutive year reaching 400 members. The Volunteer Council generated $200,000 in support through events and activities. With individual gifts ranging from $1 to $1 million, the median gift was $100.

DSO staff contributed to the Annual Fund with 100 percent participation in response to an anonymous $250,000 challenge grant. Likewise, DSO musicians contributed with an unprecedented leadership gift to the Heroes Gala honoring Dan Gilbert and Matt Cullen. Special events like the one-night-only performance with John Williams and Steven Spielberg, Heroes Gala and Classical Roots generated $1.2 million, a 35 percent increase over special events revenue from 2013.

The DSO is a community-supported orchestra, and strives to also be community supporting. In reciprocation for the support that makes programming possible at the Max M. Fisher Music Center, around metro Detroit and across the world through global webcasts, in FY 2014 DSO staff and musicians donated approximately 5,000 hours of service to the community through a company-wide Day of Service, in-kind event services and engagements at hospitals, schools, libraries and the like.


Many US orchestras are in turmoil, except…. Well, except the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. The DSO announced on October 8 that its 2013 Annual Fund campaign set a record-breaking pace by raising more than $18.9 million in the fiscal year ending August 31, 2013. This represents a 43 percent increase compared with the 2012 campaign, which raised $13.2 million. Over $6 million of the total came from the exceedingly generous giving of DSO directors and trustees.

Detroit Symphony Hall

Detroit Symphony Hall

An imperative part of the campaign’s success is owing to a rapidly growing donor base that has doubled since the 2011 campaign. In just two years, the DSO giving community has grown from 4,500 to the current 10,250, exceeding 10,000 for the first time in a decade.

Annual fundraising for operations tops $18.9 million, donor base doubles

DSO subscription sales are up for every product, world-wide audiences numbering in the hundreds of thousands tune in to watch live and encore webcasts, a steady stream of talented musicians audition for the chance to earn a prestigious position on the DSO roster.

The DSO has achieved remarkably ambitious fundraising goals, paving the way for the prospect of the first DSO balanced budget since 2007: Corporate and Foundation giving were up 12 percent and 11 percent respectively, totaling $5.9 million, an 11.5 percent increase over the 2012 campaign. Special event fundraising topped $750,000, while the DSO Volunteer Council raised an additional $125,000, both increases over 2012 campaign results.

These fundraising results will continue to position the DSO among the very top echelon of American orchestra campaigns and are a key element of achieving a balanced budget in fiscal year 2013. Although the annual audit will not be finalized until early December, two requisites in reaching a balanced budget (outlined in Blueprint: 2023, the DSO’s 10-year plan revealed at last December’s Annual Meeting) were fundraising of $18.9 million and ticket sales of $6.25 million – revenue targets that were both reached successfully.

Detroit Symphony surpasses fundraising goal – one third over 2011

Really amazing news form the U.S. orchestra sector:  Just 16 months since returning to the stage at historic Orchestra Hall, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) has triumphed not only in meeting its highly ambitious fundraising goal of $12.32 million, but also in surpassing pre-strike annual fund contributions ($11.5 million raised in fiscal year 2010). This is an outstanding success and showcases how a straight and wise management can redevelop the orchestra organization from the scratch.

Home of DSO downtown Detroit

From the DSO press release:

“It is highly unusual for an orchestra’s philanthropic support to rebound so quickly,” said DSO Executive Vice President Paul Hogle. “Our fundraising success this year is a testament to metro Detroit citizens and how strongly they believe in the DSO’s bright future. Now more than ever, we are so very proud to call ourselves a community-supported orchestra.”

Number of donors doubled since 2010 pre-strike level

These extraordinary results represent remarkable increases in giving, as well as a dramatic expansion of the DSO donor base. The current number of donors stands at 9,287, which is 15 percent higher than the abbreviated 2010-11 season and a 100 percent increase over the 2009-10 campaign. Among these new donors are 130 new Governing Members, (voting members of the organization who give $2,500 or more) bringing the roster of this new group to 271 in only its second year.

Board giving accounts for $2.1 million of the total amount raised with the average board gift at about $25,000. Corporate fundraising levels have returned to that of the 2009-10 season with a $390,000 increase over last season, representing 25 percent growth. The net contribution from projects of the Volunteer Council earned $93,678, which is nearly $30,000 over goal.

The goal for donations related to special events was crushed by a whopping 122 percent, grossing $1.3 million thanks to such wildly successful fundraisers as the annual Classical Roots gala and concert, this year honoring Dr. Arthur Johnson; the season-end Heroes Gala, dedicated to board member Lloyd Reuss; and a very special sold-out, one-night-only performance with Kid Rock.

The DSO 2013 annual fund campaign, with a goal of $12.865 million, is now under way.

Meanwhile other US orchestras are in dire straits: Atlanta Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony, San Antonio Symphony etc.

Berlin Philharmonic – a most successful business model

As a public foundation, the Berlin Philharmonic is not only financed by grants from the City of Berlin (15 Mio. Euro per year). Ticket sales, hall rentals, merchandizing, recordings and concert tours secure the prestigious orchestra also own revenue on a constant high level. The total budget is about 34 Mio Euro per year. The commitment of major sponsors such as the Deutsche Bank guarantees the continued existence of the award-winning education program Zukunft@BPhil and the DIGITAL CONCERT HALL (DCH).

Mission of the most successful orchestra

High revenues

What could medium and small orchestra learn the business model of the Berlin Philharmonic?  The Berlin Philharmonic since 2002 is a public foundation, which is supported by the City of Berlin. The Foundation generates additional revenue about 67 percent of the whole budget to the city’s own contribution. This is outstanding. Within the Berlin Philharmonic Foundation, there are three main pillars of self-generated revenue: 1. proceeds from the ticket sales of a magnitude that is nearing the height of the city’s grant. 2. In addition, revenues come from the rental of rooms, the two concert halls and concert tours of the orchestra. 3. Deutsche Bank and further sponsors support the orchestra.

Sponsors and Friends
The sponsorship money is managed by the Berlin Philharmonie GmbH (Ltd.), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Foundation. The main sponsor is the Deutsche Bank, which finances the education program Zukunft@BPhil, the communication and marketing departments and the DCH with about 6 Mio. Euro per year. The second major sponsor is the Volkswagen Group, which makes the annual European Concert. The Friends of the Berlin Philharmonic support the orchestra especially in obtaining high-quality instruments. These are usually purchased by the Friends of the Foundation and forwarded to the Foundation or directly to the musicians as permanent loans.

Ticket sales
The ticket sales developed quite well during the last few years. The orchestra was able already before the creation of the foundation to set the ticket prices itself. Over the past few years the foundation had to raise ticket prices because of stagnant public funding and had to absorb all cost increases itself. Meanwhile, the organization has arrived at a magnitude of about 10 Mio. Euro from ticket sales per year. This high amount refers to the stable attendance of audiences to the two concert halls. The revenue accounted for a total capacity of around 95 percent of the paid seats. The free ticket contingent is lower by about two percent less than that of many other cultural institutions in the city.

In Berlin, the price can vary for concert tickets known to be at a lower level than in cities such as Hamburg or Munich. However, the cultural offers in Berlin are very big. The Berlin Philharmonic takes a pool position with a variety of concerts at the present market. Per season, the orchestra performs 90 – 95 symphony concerts and some 40 chamber concerts. In such a situation prices cannot be calculated as high as at a festival, where an orchestra only occurs two or three times. The ticket prices are in comparison to the ticket prices in the pop music industry very reasonable.

The chamber music hall has been opened for more experimental programs. This created a larger audience. In the great hall the orchestra can reach at symphony concerts, of course, a higher utilization. However, considering that the chamber music hall with more than 1100 seats rather large, some 70 percent of tickets sold are a thoroughly enjoyable record. Various campaigns, media partnerships and support from other institutions have helped the management to increase the capacity of this smaller hall continuously.

The large hall with 2440 seats is particularly popular as it offers the possibility to generate high revenues. Due to the large number of the own events and rehearsals of the orchestra, the large hall is not often available. On stage of the Chamber Music Hall only small concerts can take place due to space and security reasons. Otherwise, there are still areas such as the “Green Room” or the south foyer for receptions on rent. But in the overall balance these items are rather small.

Touring income
The income from concert tours is very important for the balance sheet. For the orchestra alone it is important from an artistic point of view to be present in other major music centers of the world. For the foundation as an institution, it is also crucial that touring generates stable income. One must pay close attention to financial balance. Not at any place equally high yields can be achieved. The touring business is still an important economic factor, despite the global financial crisis.

Media deals
At the time Herbert von Karajan already a compaby of musicians was formed, which perceived the media rights of the orchestra. Since 2002, a Limited of trustees, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Foundation’s manages the income from sales of recorded music and film rights. But times have changed. Unlike to other orchestras the BPhil musicians do not get a media package, but the orchestra members can decide on the exploitation of their rights themselves. Purely legal, it is income to the individual orchestra members directly and are therefore not reflected in the foundation budget. While there are agreements under which the foundation of the proceeds of certain audio and video recordings is involved in the Philharmonic budget. This however makes up only a small portion of the foundations revenue.

Even marketing and communications have changed since the founding of the Foundation. As the organization completed the sponsorship deal with Deutsche Bank, it was settled that the presence should be expanded in the medial department. Since then the orchestra had the opportunity to make its publications more expensive. Even in marketing, one can operate differently than before. It depends not so much on the new legal form than with the higher financial resources given by the sponsor. The internet is for marketing of great importance, because potential customers can be addressed directly in this way.

The management is working on electronic tickets, which you can print out on your computer yourself as such as airline or train tickets. There must be, however, a maximum protection against forgery, to prevent in most popular concerts some hundreds of illegal e-tickets in circulation. The advantages of electronic tickets are obvious: The customer would save much time, and the orchestra could reduce administrative costs. At pre-booking-weekends already 60 to 65 percent of the tickets are purchased through the internet. Other distribution channels such as the cash register, the telephone and the written order, however are continued to be kept open to all interested parties to offer a real chance at a concert visit.

The future of the Berlin Philharmonic looks bright: The management has safety in planning for the next time, both in terms of state funds as well as the sponsors. If nothing unexpected happens, the economic situation over the next four to five years will remain stable. Also the fact that the contract has been extended with chief conductor Sir Simon Rattle in 2018, has a positive impact on the overall situation.


The design of the BPhil foundation model is of course specifically connected with the Berlin Philharmonic. The five-year grant contract with the City of Berlin allows the management to plan to work with guest conductors and soloists and concert tours with the necessary time heats. The model of a public foundation that provides both legal and economic independence is more generally also suitable for other orchestras.