Sunday, February 29, 2004

Fine Arts Fund spotlight: Symphony Orchestra

By Janelle Gelfand
The Cincinnati Enquirer

What does the Fine Arts Fund mean to one of the country's best symphony orchestras? The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra received close to $3 million last year - about one tenth of its operating budget.

"The Fine Arts Fund's generous support of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra is essential to the existence of a world-class orchestra in Cincinnati," says music director Paavo Jarvi.

"However, the enormity of the Fine Arts Fund's support should not be quantified in dollars alone. ... (It) reaches thousands of Greater Cincinnatians ... by creating opportunities for them to attend concerts in Music Hall, at Riverbend, or in some cases, in their own neighborhoods. The FAF provides an additional and unique means by which the CSO creates partnerships with our community ."

Founded in 1895, the Cincinnati Symphony is the fifth oldest orchestra in the country. It has been traveling to "the world's stage" at Carnegie Hall since 1917, and was one of the first orchestras to cut a record the same year.

With a $31 million operating budget, the orchestra tours nationally and internationally. It presents 130 concerts year-round, both in Music Hall and outdoors at Riverbend, its summer home.

When its members put on red blazers, it is the Cincinnati Pops.

Today, with the classical recording industry in shambles, the Cincinnati Symphony is one of only two orchestras in North America that holds a recording contract, with Cleveland-based Telarc. Last weekend, Jarvi finished recording two new albums for Telarc, including Debussy's La Mer and Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring.

Cincinnati Pops maestro Erich Kunzel will release his 75th disc - Classics at the Pops - in March. The Pops has sold 9 million albums worldwide.

About 340,000 people annually attend symphony concerts.

The 2004 Fine Arts Fund campaign continues through April 30 with a goal of $10.3 million. The 55th annual campaign provides operating funds to members: Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati Ballet, Cincinnati Opera, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Contemporary Arts Center, May Festival and Taft Museum of Art as well as smaller grants to associate members and project grants to small Tristate arts organizations. The Enquirer will be highlighting recipient organizations during the 10 weeks of the campaign.

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