DSO 2011 Spring Season Shatters Sales and Fundraising Expectations

DETROIT, (June 24, 2011) – The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) announced today that it reached an audience of 40,456, achieving its spring revenue goal of $456,000, during its abbreviated 2011 Spring Season and raised $3,018,000 in gifts and pledges during the 8-week season that began April 9 and concluded June 5. The DSO reached an audience three times larger than expected and processed twenty times the number of tickets traditionally processed for the two-month time period between April and June. Annual Fund giving from individuals was also up 100% over the same period last year. 

Total attendance for all Orchestra Hall performances achieved a solid 83% capacity with half of the evening performances selling out leading patrons to purchase “standing room only” seats for several of the performances. In pursuit of “meaning more to more people,” the DSO performed for an audience of more than 1,000 in three neighborhood venues that included Southfield, Beverly Hills and Dearborn. Patron Minded Pricing of $20 for all DSO concerts in Orchestra Hall welcomed new audiences; between one-third and one-half of Spring Season audiences across all venues were brand new to the DSO. 

Following in its footsteps as the first orchestra in the world to broadcast radio concerts, the DSO became the first American orchestra to broadcast concerts, live, through a series of HD webcasts called Live From Orchestra Hall, delivering the DSO to a world-wide viewing audience. More than 7,000 viewers across the world tuned in to the webcasts, expanding the DSO’s Spring Season audience reach by an additional 17%. One third of these viewers were from outside the state of Michigan, representing a dozen different countries. Live From Orchestra Hall was generously underwritten by Phillip Wm. Fisher and produced in collaboration with Detroit Public Television. 

The DSO’s 2010 – 2011 Annual Fund campaign has also earned notable achievements. Through June 5, the DSO raised $8,479,000 in gifts and pledges, with $3 million of that committed in April and May alone. Fundraising is ahead of last year’s campaign by $500,000 with the year-on-year number of donors up 1,000 or 27%. The annual Classical Roots gala in March raised over $118,000 and personal giving from the Board of Directors is closing in on $2 million – up 88% over last year at this time. Several board members have increased and even doubled their contributions, resulting in additional revenues exceeding $200,000. 

Launched this spring, the new Governing Members program has attracted over 20 new members who join 85 legacy donors at the $2,500 and up level. Inspired by the DSO’s movement to address the deeper engagement of its leadership-giving patrons, the majority of these donors graduated to the $2,500 level from the $400 and up range of giving. Seven of these donors had either not made a gift in recent years or had never given a previous gift to the DSO’s Annual Fund. As the Spring Season concluded, Governing Member giving exceeded $1 million.

Finally, the DSO’s broadest base of community donors (giving $1 to $2,499) has grown by one-third over last year at this time with gifts coming from nearly 4,000 households. This is 12.5% ahead of last year. 

“I have found that people are inspired by the DSO’s Spring Season results,” said Anne Parsons, DSO President and CEO. “These sales and fundraising achievements send the message that the Orchestra’s work is appreciated and that our community is ready to support us as we move forward. We are committed to meeting some challenging goals in the years to come, and so we are delighted to be able to celebrate some early success as we prepare for next season.” 

The DSO’s summer season will conclude with appearances at Greenfield Village at The Henry Ford on June 30-July 3 and at the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House on July 8-9. The $11 million DSO Annual Fund will wrap up on August 31, 2011. A continued community response of new and increased gifts will ensure a successful campaign, placing the institution on more secure footing for the much anticipated 2011 – 2012 season. 


The internationally acclaimed Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the fourth-oldest symphony orchestra in the United States makes its home in historic Orchestra Hall, one of America’s acoustic gems, and actively pursues a mission to impact and serve the community through music. For more information visit www.dso.org.