As the numbers start to come in from the Jacksonville Symphony’s 2015-2016 season, the first complete season for both Music Director Courtney Lewis and President and CEO Robert Massey, the impact of the many programs and initiatives created by the new leadership duo is becoming clear.
The 2015-2016 performance season saw over the previous year an increase in ticket sales of 9%, an increase in contributed income of 6% and an increase in total individuals served of 11%. Through subscription series, community concerts, educational programs and special events, the Jacksonville Symphony performed to 201,000 individuals this past season, up from its previous record of 180,000 the year before.
“This has been a phenomenal season of music making in our community,” said Robert Massey, President and CEO. “North Florida’s incredible support of symphonic music is inspiring, and I salute our musicians, board, staff and volunteers who come together every week with the sole purpose of enriching the human spirit of our community through this work.”
Courtney Lewis opened his first inaugural season with a week of free community concerts at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre, Unity Plaza and Jacoby Hall that alone introduced 4,000 people to symphonic music. Highlights from the Florida Blue Masterworks Series included Holst’s The Planets, Mozart’s Great Mass and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. Lewis, who is adamant about including living composers on the flagship series, also included modern masterpieces John Adams’ Short Ride in a Fast Machine and Thomas Ades’ Asyla.
New series launched in 2015-2016 included the bestbet Symphony in 60, Symphonic Night at the Movies and Sunday Matinees for both Masterworks and Fidelity National Financial Pops Series performances. The Symphony introduced a young professionals program, UpTempo, a Civic Orchestra that invites amateur musicians to perform alongside Symphony professionals at Jacoby Symphony Hall and an annual gala, which this year featured violin virtuoso Joshua Bell.
Besides the increase in ticket sales and revenue, the Symphony recorded an increase in the number of donor households going from 1,397 to 2,143. Fifty percent of renewed donors increased their annual fund gifts and the Symphony achieved a $100,000 match from Florida Blue in one month. A unique and first-time crowd funding event, Rock the Glockenspiel, allowed the Symphony to purchase a new percussion instrument.
As the largest music educator in northeast Florida, the Jacksonville Symphony performed, free-of-charge, to more than 80,000 students. More than 300 young musicians of various skill levels participated in the nationally recognized Jacksonville Symphony Youth Orchestra and Jump Start Strings program.
Off-stage, the Symphony was just as active, introducing a new logo, branding, redesign of Encore magazine and website. The Symphony migrated to a new customer relationship management system that allows patrons greater convenience, including online ticketing capability and customizable packages.
The upcoming 2016-2017 season which opens September 30 will include twelve Florida Blue Masterworks Series programs, twelve Fidelity National Financial Pops Series programs, ten Mayo Clinic Coffee Series performances and four bestbet Symphony in 60 Series performances. International superstar pianist Lang Lang will be the featured artist in the Symphony’s February 17 Gala, which also celebrates the 20th anniversary of Jacoby Symphony Hall. New to the upcoming season is a Create Your Own subscription that allows patrons to pick and choose which Masterworks and Pops performances they wish to attend. Create Your Own and regular subscription holders have first right of purchase for tickets to the Gala.
The Jacksonville Symphony is North Florida’s leading cultural institution offering live symphonic performances at Jacoby Hall in the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts and other venues throughout the area. In addition, the Symphony provides music instruction for youth and operates the Jacksonville Symphony Youth Orchestras.
For more information about the Symphony, visit http://www.jaxsymphony.org, like them at www.faceboook.com/JaxSymphony, follow them on @jaxsymphony, on Instagram at JaxSymphony and on YouTube at JacksonvilleSymphony.