NEWS RELEASE (2009-09-01)
Mona L. Myhre, Executive Director, Chamber Music West, (623) 972-0478
Steve Carr, The Kur Carr Group, Inc., (602) 317-3040
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
STEADY AUDIENCE DECLINE FORCES CHAMBER MUSIC WEST TO CONSIDER SUSPENDING OPERATIONS AFTER 2010-11 SEASON
Full Concert Schedule Planned for 2009-10
Chamber Music West, which has been presenting the world's finest chamber music and artists in the West Valley for 33 years, will suspend operations after the 2010-11 season because of the impact of a steady decline in audience over the past five years.
"It's not so much a matter of finances as it is about audience development," said Chamber Music West Board of Directors President Ellen Straney. "The organization remains financially sound today, but looking beyond 2010-11 is very difficult given the consistent drop in audience size despite our best efforts to raise interest and awareness. Without significant increases in ticket sales and fund raising we will be forced to suspend operations after what we expect will be a shortened 2010-11 season."
Chamber Music West's six-concert 2009-10 season begins Monday, Nov. 9 with a performance by the Brentano String Quartet at 7:30 p.m. at Faith Presbyterian Church, 16000 N. Del Webb Blvd. in Sun City.
Chamber Music West's subscriber base stands at 230, down from a high of 851 in 1984.
"We have maintained a very conservative financial approach to our operations, but we have been forced to dip into our savings and the principal of our Arizona Community Foundation-managed endowment the last few years," Straney said. "Our financial position will enable us to present the full six-concert schedule this season, but our current assets and revenue projections will not support a similar schedule next year. We are now designing a program for 2010-11 that will continue our tradition of engaging quality artists and performances although the length of the season will probably have to be reduced."
Ticket sales generally account for less than 50 percent of a nonprofit arts organization's revenues with the rest generated from grants and donations.
"This was an incredibly difficult decision by the Board of Directors," Straney said. "And while we will explore all options available to us over the next two years, we believe this decision is both financially and strategically prudent."
She said that the organization hopes "that our loyal audience members and donors will continue their support to the degree that we can present a full schedule of the quality performances they have come to expect in 2010-11."
In a letter to subscribers, Straney expressed her gratitude for Chamber Music West's being able to be "an important component in the West Valley's cultural life over the past 33 years. We would like to continue in that role, but in our responsibilities as board members, we are also realistic and pragmatic in our approach."
Season tickets for current subscribers for the 2009-10 season will be mailed the beginning of October. Single tickets can be purchased online (www.chambermusicwest.com) or at the venue on concert nights. The full concert schedule is online at www.chambermusicwest.com.
Single tickets are $25 and student tickets are free with a valid ID. Season packages for the six-concert series are available for $120. All seating is reserved.
Chamber Music West is supported by The Arizona Commission on the Arts with funding from the State of Arizona and the National Endowment for the Arts, the City of Peoria, Target and The West Valley Arts Council.
For additional information or to purchase tickets, call (623) 972-0478. For additional information about Chamber Music West, visit www.chambermusicwest.com.