Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
Press Release

Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Closed 2015.16 Season with Record Results

There were 20 sold-out performances this season.

By - Sep 28th, 2016 04:31 pm
Edo De Waart

Edo De Waart

MILWAUKEE, WIS. September 28, 2016 – The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (MSO) announced today that it surpassed both sales and attendance records from the 2014.15 season, marking the 2015.16 season as one of its most successful on record. With earned and contributed revenue continuing to grow, along with a sustained focus on achieving ongoing operational efficiencies, the MSO has now achieved three consecutive years of balanced budgets.

Since the beginning of the season, 5,644 new households purchased tickets, a 32 percent increase in new MSO patrons over last season, which also saw an increase. This includes an eight percent increase in total single ticket sales, a 14 percent increase in classics single ticket sales, and a six percent increase in pops single tickets sold. The MSO more than doubled single ticket revenue from stand-alone concerts. And in a clear demonstration of its wide-reaching impact, contributed income grew over four percent, with nearly 1,500 first-time donors contributing to the MSO’s artistic future.

There were 20 sold-out performances this season, mixed evenly between pops and classics, such as the MSO’s popular movie series, special guest performances by world renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma and soprano Renee Fleming, the perennial favorite Holiday Pops, the widely popular “Secret Symphony” and more. In total, the MSO reached more than 200,000 patrons this season.

“I’m thrilled that more people are experiencing first-hand the power music has to engage the senses and touch the soul, whether that be through attending our performances or participating in our educational and community outreach events,” said Mark Niehaus, executive director of the MSO. “As an organization, the MSO is both artistically and operationally at its highest levels. Our Board and leadership are committed to acting boldly in order to preserve the MSO’s long-term artistic and financial future.”

In January 2016, the MSO launched a new website with added ticketing and donation functionality, and more streamlined, user-friendly experience for desktop, tablet and mobile users. Since the upgrade, there has been a 24 percent increase in revenue brought in through the website and a 38 percent increase in total tickets sold online.

In addition, the MSO presented 15 concerts in its “Concerts for Schools” program, reaching nearly more than 23,000 students from 222 schools throughout the region.  Moreover, the MSO’s “Arts in Community Education” (ACE) program served 25 schools and 7,500 students in Southeastern Wisconsin.  This included 410 school ensemble visits that both students and families were able to enjoy.

“One of the most important markers of an economically and culturally vibrant city is a thriving symphony,” said Andy Nunemaker, chair of the MSO Board of Directors and CEO of Dynamis Software Corporation. “Over the past several years, the MSO has worked hard to improve its long-term financial position while continuing to perform at an elite level for the more than 100,000 patrons annually who attend our concerts in downtown Milwaukee. We are grateful for the community’s continued support, and look forward to providing memorable musical experiences and fostering music appreciation for generations to come.”

Assistant Conductor Yaniv Dinur is wrapping up his first season conducting the MSO’s many youth, family and outreach concerts. Born in Jerusalem in 1981, Dinur has performed with orchestras in Israel, Europe, the United States, Canada and Mexico. He is a winner of numerous conducting awards, among them the Second Prize at the 2009 Mata International Conducting Competition in Mexico and the Yuri Ahronovitch First Prize in the 2005 Aviv Conducting Competitions in Israel. He was chosen by the League of American Orchestras as a featured conductor in the 2011 Bruno Walter Conducting Preview, and is a recipient of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation and the Zubin Mehta Scholarship Endowment.

The 2016.17 season will serve as Music Director Edo de Waart’s finale with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. An active and deliberate search is currently underway for his successor.

The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, under the dynamic leadership of Music Director Edo de Waart, is among the finest orchestras in the nation and the largest cultural institution in Wisconsin. Now in his sixth season with the MSO, Maestro de Waart has led sold-out concerts, elicited critical acclaim, and conducted a celebrated performance at Carnegie Hall on May 11, 2012. The MSO’s full-time professional musicians perform over 135 classics, pops, family, education, and community concerts each season in venues throughout the state. Since its inception in 1959, the MSO has found innovative ways to give music a home in the region, develop music appreciation and talent among area youth, and raise the national reputation of Milwaukee. For more information, visit

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