YouOverThere

Colorado Symphony Orchestra About To Go Under?

48 posts in this topic

I confess that I also found the website design to be less than ideal. At least for those looking for quick information on schedules and ticketing.

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Getting back on-topic: The Denver Post just came out with an article that stated that the CSO had hired an interim CEO. I hadn't been aware that the CEO position was vacant.

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Interesting, YouOverThere. I wonder how long they've been without one. Nothing helps like a leadership vacuum.

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If you click over to "purchase now" you'll see the schedule of performances.

I looked Saturday morning, and they had no performances listed for Saturday at all(according to the Colorado Public Radio website, they had both a matinee and an evening show).

The Colorado Ballet apparently has fixed the problem with not listing the current day's show(s) on their website.

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If you click over to "purchase now" you'll see the schedule of performances.

I looked Saturday morning, and they had no performances listed for Saturday at all(according to the Colorado Public Radio website, they had both a matinee and an evening show).

The Colorado Ballet apparently has fixed the problem with not listing the current day's show(s) on their website.

In fact, it is not only possible to purchase tickets online for tonight's performance but the system shows a lot of good seats available that were shown as not available when I bought my tickets :(.

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This is where an organization could show business smarts: if you called the box office, explained the situation, and they exchanged your ticket(s) for better ones.

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In fact, it is not only possible to purchase tickets online for tonight's performance but the system shows a lot of good seats available that were shown as not available when I bought my tickets.

Many big theaters hold back really good "house seats" until the last day or two for big donors, special guests, etc. If they're not used, then they are made available for sale. I don't know the policy at Ellie Caulkins Opera House, but wouldn't be surprised if that's what happened.

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In fact, it is not only possible to purchase tickets online for tonight's performance but the system shows a lot of good seats available that were shown as not available when I bought my tickets.

Many big theaters hold back really good "house seats" until the last day or two for big donors, special guests, etc. If they're not used, then they are made available for sale. I don't know the policy at Ellie Caulkins Opera House, but wouldn't be surprised if that's what happened.

That could be it. I called them and asked if I could change seats, and they said that it was too late. I think they must know that they "have me" and no matter how frustrated they make me I will still keep going :) Usually the head ticket guy is at the box office, so maybe I will be able to change seats when we get there.

ETA: YES!!! The head ticket guy changed my seat. He may have even given me a seat in a higher price range. I ended up in the perfect seat for a SPLENDID performance of "Swan Lake".

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Getting back to on-topic, before Saturday's concert (which featured a MASTERFUL performance of Beethoven's 7th, conducted by Toronto Symphony music director Peter Oundjian), a percussionist who is one of the longest-tenured members of the CSO gave a brief "update" on the situation in which he stated that the financial problems are not life-threatening and that there is no chance that the CSO won't survive the next few years.

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This whole business on tickets and websites really gets me on my nerves. After many years of theater attending, now I just go the same day of the performance and buy tickets. Many times I've seen whole sectons of theaters being "sold out" online-(the cheaper ones)-with availability for the most expensive ones. Then you go on the same day of the performance, and the same online sold out section is still available at the box office. It is shameful that this could be an strategy to try to sell the most expensive seats, but at the bottom line there is the fact that I've NEVER seen a performance completely sold out in US OF ANY KIND. On Friday afternoon I browse the cyber cultural scene and decide what I want to see that same evening and just go. Also, many times organizations sale rush tickets-(like MCB)-at half price for the upper levels 45 minutes pre-performance. I usually buy them and then I seat in orchestra wherever I spot an empty seat-(which is usually the 99% of the cases). For instance...this weekend I plan to attend the Miami Symphony Orchestra, MCB, NWS and Festival Miami. That will be in the course of three/four days, and I don't have tickets for any performance yet...( haven't decided when will I go to see what yet...)

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This whole business on tickets and websites really gets me on my nerves. After many years of theater attending, now I just go the same day of the performance and buy tickets. Many times I've seen whole sectons of theaters being "sold out" online-(the cheaper ones)-with availability for the most expensive ones. Then you go on the same day of the performance, and the same online sold out section is still available at the box office. It is shameful that this could be an strategy to try to sell the most expensive seats, but at the bottom line there is the fact that I've NEVER seen a performance completely sold out in US OF ANY KIND. On Friday afternoon I browse the cyber cultural scene and decide what I want to see that same evening and just go. Also, many times organizations sale rush tickets-(like MCB)-at half price for the upper levels 45 minutes pre-performance. I usually buy them and then I seat in orchestra wherever I spot an empty seat-(which is usually the 99% of the cases). For instance...this weekend I plan to attend the Miami Symphony Orchestra, MCB, NWS and Festival Miami. That will be in the course of three/four days, and I don't have tickets for any performance yet...( haven't decided when will I go to see what yet...)

In this case, it was higher priced seats that were mysteriously unavailable. Cheap seats could have been had all along. I've only noticed the Colorado Symphony trying to steer people towards more expensive seats, and that has only been in the last few years.

Shows in Denver occasionally do sell out. I got left out in the cold once when I tried to buy a ticket at the last minute to the CB's Beauty and the Beast, and I think some performances of The Nutcracker sell out. Big name soloists like Yo-Yo Ma routinely sell out and popular touring Broadway plays sometimes sell out at least on Saturday evenings and Sunday matinees.

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The Colorado Symphony has reversed course and put a couple of the cancelled programs back in the schedule (on different dates - it was too late to use the original dates). One of the resurrected programs is the collaboration with the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble on Romeo and Juliet.

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The weather in Denver in freezing, but the rhetoric is just getting heated up. On Dec. 2, The Denver Post published a (shoddily written) editorial bashing the musicians in the CSO

http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_19458871?source=bb

The musicians union fired back on their website, claiming that the board contained several known anti-union activists and that expenditures for musician salaries have been a decreasing percentage of the budget while expenditures for administrative costs have taken a larger share of the budget

http://www.dmamusic.org/news/1061/hostile-nonprofit-takeovers

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Thanks for the update, YouOverThere. I found the comments to the Denver Post editorial very interesting reading.

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In the latest twist, the Colorado Symphony has ended its 56-year relationship with the Denver Debutante Ball. The DDB has raised an average of $75000 a year for the CSO and in return the DDB got a seat on the Board of Trustees. The DDB's representative was one of the 20 board members who resigned because the union musicians allegedly were unwilling to take pay cuts to keep the CSO above water (the musicians actually did agree to pay cuts). One wonders if this was retaliation by the CSO for the resignation. It certainly will take a lot of the luster from the DDB (does anyone really care about debutante balls any more?) unless they can find another prestigious charity to give them a reason to exist (Colorado Ballet?).

In the unlikely event anyone is actually interested in the details:

http://www.bizjournals.com/denver/blog/broadway_17th/2012/05/colorado-symphony-severs-ties-with.html

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At first, it seems like a stupid thing for the CSO to do because of the loss of substantial revenue. But when you read the entire article, it does appear that the CSO is regaining its footing and its financial viability. And the CSO is trying to get away from its stuffy, elitist image, so cutting ties with the debutantes makes sense. The debs need a charitable tie-in so their annual ball doesn't look like the ridiculously vain, pompous display of wealth that it really is. Perhaps they could link up with the Homeless Coalition in Denver, now that the ban on unauthorized overnight camping is going into effect! Or, if that's too political, perhaps the Boys and Girls Clubs, a very good charity, would like to link up with them.

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Thank you for keeping us posted on developments, YouOverThere. I agree, California, the symphony must feel secure enough financially to give the debs and their parents the finger.

does anyone really care about debutante balls any more?

Yes and no. It's no longer the heyday of Brenda Frazier and Cobina Wright, Jr., to be sure, but these things do still matter to some of the people who matter. Apparently.

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But when you read the entire article, it does appear that the CSO is regaining its footing and its financial viability.

The attendance at the CSO has been very impressive this Spring, especially considering the limited number of low-priced seats (thank goodness for my student ID, which has been getting me substantial discounts to concerts smile.png ). They virtually sold out all 3 performances of their (hard to believe) first ever programming of Shotakovich's 11th symphony last weekend (given Denver's large Russian immigrant community, some of the credit goes to having a Russian soloist - in this case, pianist Olga Kern - in the program as well).

And the CSO is trying to get away from its stuffy, elitist image, so cutting ties with the debutantes makes sense.

IMHO, an overdue move. Though I'm hardly an unbiased commentator.

The debs need a charitable tie-in so their annual ball doesn't look like the ridiculously vain, pompous display of wealth that it really is. Perhaps they could link up with the Homeless Coalition in Denver, now that the ban on unauthorized overnight camping is going into effect!

The irony would be delicious.

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At first, it seems like a stupid thing for the CSO to do because of the loss of substantial revenue. But when you read the entire article, it does appear that the CSO is regaining its footing and its financial viability. And the CSO is trying to get away from its stuffy, elitist image, so cutting ties with the debutantes makes sense. The debs need a charitable tie-in so their annual ball doesn't look like the ridiculously vain, pompous display of wealth that it really is.

An article in today's The Denver Post hinted that part of the motivation for dumping the debutante ball was that people whose daughters didn't get selected to be debutantes became disinterested in donating money to the CSO.

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For this weekend's end-of-the-season program, the CSO is offering seats at whatever price someone is willing to pay for them, with a minimum offer of only $1!

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A nice story in today's Denver Post about saving the Colorado Symphony Orchestra:

http://www.denverpost.com/entertainment/ci_20807271/colorado-symphony-orchestra-rethinks-programming-funding-everything

Just seven months ago, the CSO was poison — so toxic that 20 trustees made an angry and abrupt exit when a move to make players part-time failed. Now it is re-emerging as something everyone wants a taste of.

Venues across the region are eager to book it; a reconstructed board is drawing prominent names; and the orchestra has added considerably to the number and type of concerts it will perform starting July 4 with its summer session.

I wonder if this might signal the future needed for other performing arts groups to survive.

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Today (June 25), the CSO announced that they have signed former Dallas Symphony music director Andrew Litton to the role of "artistic advisor". This role apparently means that Litton will fulfill most of the duties of a music director, such as approving all the programming, but will only conduct a limited number of programs (probably 3 in the 2012-13 season). IMHO, this is good news as now there will be an internationally-known conductor affiliated with the CSO.

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