There is a stark reality increasingly facing American orchestras: They are now charities, relying more, on average, on philanthropy than on the ticket sales that used to buttress them.

While orchestras have always required subsidies — whether from monarchs, the church, governments or patrons — the balance has shifted to the point where they generally get more revenue from donations than from selling tickets, according to a report released Tuesday by the League of American Orchestras, an industry association. The report also found that orchestras had reached a tipping point in how they sell tickets: In 2013, for the first time, ensembles no longer earned a majority of their ticket revenue from the subscription packages they have depended on for decades.



雖 然管弦樂團一直都需要補貼,無論它來自君主、教會、政府或金主,根據同業協會「美國管弦樂團聯盟」周二公布的報告,兩者的消長已轉變至通常慈善捐款多於售 票收入的地步。報告還發現,管弦樂團在售票上已來到拐點:2013年,樂團首次無法再從套票訂購上賺取大部分的售票收入,數十年來他們一直十分仰賴這項收 入。

These changes have forced orchestras to change everything from how they organize their staffs to how they define their missions. The new report and interviews with players, administrators and union officials paint a picture of a field in transition, with some ensembles struggling, some doing well, and nearly all trying to adapt as classical music’s footprint in the broader culture shrinks. This season has already had a long strike by the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra in Texas; a 48-hour strike by the storied Philadelphia Orchestra; and a bitter, continuing strike by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, a top-notch ensemble that raised this city’s profile even during the most painful days of its deindustrialization.


Orchestras (and their growing marketing departments), for example, must now spend more to sell single and group tickets — at a time when it is harder to fill seats. (Attendance declined by 10.5 percent between 2010 and 2014, the study found.) And as ensembles and their development departments work to appeal to philanthropists, many are now going beyond merely making music, offering more educational programs and community engagement initiatives. Finally, there is increasing pressure from many boards and administrators to try to curb growing costs, which can lead to labor disputes like the strike in Pittsburgh.

The question of how effectively orchestras can attract philanthropic support is increasingly the key to their survival. The report found that in 2014, an average of 43 cents of every dollar orchestras received came from contributions, while 40 cents came from ticket sales, touring, hall rentals, parking and other sources of earned income; and the remainder from investments.






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