The Colorado Symphony Orchestra is hoping the talents of its newly appointed artistic adviser can keep the orchestra’s forward momentum after recovering from a 1.2 million dollar debt in the past two years. In addition to his role with the CSO, Maestro Andrew Litton is also Music Director of Norway’s Bergen Philharmonic as well as Conductor and Artistic Director of Minnesota Orchestra’s Sommerfest. Arts District’s Carrie Saldo sat down with Litton at the Boettcher Concert Hall to talk about the orchestra’s finances, his goals and what lies ahead for classical music.
The Colorado Symphony Orchestra is hoping the talents of its newly appointed artistic advisor can keep the orchestra’s forward momentum after recovering from a $1.2 million debt.
In the 1990s, Maestro Andrew Litton helped orchestrate the financial resurgence of the once imperiled Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
Litton is busy, he holds leadership roles at three other orchestras and will conduct 18 concerts with the CSO this season. In addition to his role with the CSO he is also Music Director of Norway’s Bergen Philharmonic as well as Conductor and Artistic Director of Minnesota Orchestra’s Sommerfest.
A number of symphony orchestras across the country are struggling financially. Just two years ago, there were fears that the Colorado Symphony could disappear. The musicians agreed to a pay cut and a new business model was adopted. In June 2012, Litton was appointed Artistic Advisor, assuming what the release describes [.pdf] as the “full duties and responsibilities for the artistic leadership of the Colorado Symphony.”
The CSO ended the 2011-2012 fiscal year with a $70,000 surplus and no outstanding debt.
Litton says to keep things moving forward he maximizes his time while in Denver, meeting with as many potential donors as possible in between rehearsals and performances. Litton made it clear though that concert goers are the life blood of the symphony.
“We’ve got to keep making programs that are attractive enough to a wide audience that we’ll continue to fill Boettcher Concert Hall, and that of course helps the bottom line as well,” said Litton.
There’s tech too. The CSO offers digital downloads of its music and videos, both authorized and un-authorized, are easily available online. Litton believes that technology helps lift interest in live performance.
“The great thing about the wide spread dissemination of our art all over the internet is that people get interested,” said Litton. “They go, ‘oh, that looks really cool. I’d love to hear that live. Oh look, the symphony is doing it this week. Let’s go.’”
The CSO has yet to post video of Litton at the podium, but there is this light moment shot during a recent rehearsal:
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