RPO sees 'transition year' in finances combined with artistic success

Feb 16, 2017

Credit Erich Camping / RPO

The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra is coming off a year which saw strong growth in ticket sales, while it is still working to overcome its financial weaknesses.

That according to RPO President and CEO Ralph Craviso who says the orchestra had a deficit $2.2 million in the fiscal year that ended last August. But he says bills were paid with the help of the orchestra’s endowment, and he says the RPO is transitioning to a more stable financial situation.

Craviso says current revenue from subscriptions is up 10 percent over the previous fiscal year, and single ticket sales are up 28 percent so far.

“What we’ve done is we’ve offered a more diverse repertory, which has brought more people in and a more diverse audience in. At the same time, we’ve done well in terms of  our Pops and 'Phil’s' programming, which is more appealing, so we’re selling more tickets for our traditional products as well," he told WXXI News.

At the annual meeting of the RPO on Wednesday night, Craviso said that, "While many orchestras faced with similar challenges incur debt, creating a heavier burden in a recovery plan in an attempt to both raise revenue and retire debt, the RPO enters FY17 with minimal long-term debt of about $315,000.”

Craviso says the long term plan is for the RPO to actually be running a surplus at the end of its five year-turnaround plan.

“Our goal is not only to use these one-time gifts to essentially fund the deficits, they’re declining deficits every year, but also to leave us with a one million dollar reserve fund and right now we know we have $375,000 of that."