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Financial woes put Toronto Philharmonia Orchestra season in peril

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Last week, Toronto Philharmonia Orchestra president Milos Krajny sent out a letter saying the organization needs to raise $150,000 by the end of the month, or it won’t be able to present its five-concert season starting Oct. 18.

The Philharmonia, a re-incarnation of the orchestra led by Kerry Stratton for many years, has been around in its current form since 2010. Its concerts are based at the excellent George Weston Recital Hall, and it counts many fine professional Toronto musicians on its roster.

Uri Mayer

It landed the internationally known Uri Mayer as its music director last year. Meyer also enjoys a close association with the Royal Conservatory of Music downtown.

Krajny stated in his letter that attendance started at 70 per cent at the start of last season, rising to near capacity by the end, thanks to the excellent word of mouth. But those revenues only represent 35 per cent of the Philharmonia’s needed revenues.

The orchestra desperately needs corporate support and generous patrons. It’s the same situation that every other arts organization in Ontario faces. Except that smaller ensembles don’t have to worry about covering $30,000 in overhead costs for every single performance.

Because of their size and high expenses, many symphony orchestras across North America have had a very difficult time attracting audiences and sponsors over the past five years.

I will try to find out more about what’s going on and provide an update soon.

John Terauds

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