Orchestra Iowa Gets Creative to Stay in Business

Photo courtesy of OrchestraIowa.org

Photo courtesy of OrchestraIowa.org

With the recession and floods that forced them out of their concert hall, Orchestra Iowa hasn’t had an easy time the past few years. But instead of closing their doors or cutting back on performances, the company is thriving and managed to balance their $3.1 million budget. How did they do it? Diana Nolan of The Gazette spoke with Orchestra Iowa’s CEO Robert Massey and Music Director Timothy Hankewich. You can read the full article here, and we gathered a few highlights from the Orchestra’s efforts below:

“What we’re doing is incredibly revolutionary” in the orchestral industry, Hankewich said. “In essence, it’s diversifying our income portfolio.”

Orchestra Iowa:

•Acts as the ticketing and public relations agents for all events at the Paramount Theatre

•Runs the Opus Concert Cafe, showcasing chamber, jazz and cabaret concerts, as well as offering a lounge for receptions and concessions during all Paramount events, providing a new revenue stream for the orchestra and the city

•Produces the Paramount Presents series, contracting world-class performers, most recently featuring William Shatner’s solo Broadway show, the King’s Singers from Great Britain and Pink Martini with the von Trapps.

“There is no such thing as a purely artistic decision,” Hankewich said. “Every choice that I make has financial implications — the size of the orchestra, what repertoire we play, what kind of soloists are we going to bring in, what are some of the outreach opportunities to build audiences — everything has an expense to that.

“And so if you have an artistic director that doesn’t understand the business or a CEO that doesn’t understand the art, then you’re not going to get anywhere.”

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