Melbourne Symphony Orchestra announces surplus for 2016

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The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra today announced a surplus of $761,000 for 2016, its first positive financial result since 2014 while maintaining artistic vibrancy through a commitment to the highest levels of symphonic music in all its forms.

Sophie Galaise, who commenced as the MSO’s Managing Director in April 2016, said that while it was a year of great challenge and structural change, the successes of the MSO during 2016 far outweighed the challenges.

‘After combining another year of artistic excellence with a strengthening of our financial position, I am delighted that 2016 saw the MSO return to surplus.

‘In addition to changed management practices, the positive result can be attributed to a significant increase in ticket sales revenues, continued growth in donations from trusts, foundations and private philanthropy.

‘We reached out to new audiences with a record year for special events returning an extremely positive net result, with the series of four sell-out Indiana Jones concerts the highest netting program in our long history. We explored new ways of engaging with audiences as well as maintaining our commitment to performing our core classical repertoire at the highest artistic level.

‘We continued to play a central role in Victoria’s artistic landscape, presenting a wide array of Australian and international guest artists and soloists, commissioning new works, and expanding our collaborations with like-minded arts institutions. We look to build on this nationally and internationally through 2017 and beyond,’ said Ms Galaise.

While expanding its global footprint, the MSO strengthened its engagement with local communities with 163 performances including 22 free performances in Melbourne and regional Victoria.

2016 saw the MSO engage with over 3.35 million people through live performance, digital and broadcast channels, at festivals, free events, on tour, in workshops and in schools.

Michael Ullmer said his first year as Chairman was a tough year for the MSO, one that saw changes to achieve organisational effectiveness positioning the orchestra for sustained growth.

‘The changes to achieve organisational effectiveness have positioned the Orchestra for sustained growth to ensure our current performance scale, quality and vibrancy can be maintained and enhanced. I am pleased to report that the operating result for the year was a profit of $761,000. Before investment income and capital contributions to our foundation reserves of $476,000 we achieved an operational profit of $285,000 for the year. This is a remarkable achievement for the MSO and all staff are to be commended for their hard work in achieving this result. I would like to thank our Government funding partners, our generous corporate and philanthropic supporters, and the community at large for their commitment to our great orchestra through this difficult time.

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in 2016:
• Performed 14 world premieres and 13 Australian premieres
• Commissioned 8 Australian works
• Performed with 24 Australian guest artists and soloists and 36 international artists
• Seven sales of MSO-developed orchestral productions
• Performed three international concerts in Shanghai and Indonesia
• Performed 13 commercial hires including Australia’s biggest recorded hip hop concert with the Hilltop Hoods
• Presented 25 education and community engagement programs reaching over 41,000 people
• Performed 22 free concerts engaging over 84,000 people including 30,000 who attended the Sidney Myer Free Concert Series.

The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s 2016 annual report can be viewed online at