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THE SCOOP | Tafelmusik Enjoys Yet Another Year In Budgetary Paradise

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Haus Musik at 918 Bathurst, with performers from Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra (l to r) Felix Deak, Julia Wedman, Cristina Zacharias, Tricia Ahern, and Lucas Harris. (Photo: Joshua Chong)
Haus Musik at 918 Bathurst, with performers from Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra (l to r) Felix Deak, Julia Wedman, Cristina Zacharias, Tricia Ahern, and Lucas Harris. (Photo: Joshua Chong)

For an arts presenter working within a niche, it’s tempting to spend a little more than you make to feel like your keeping up with the big boys. But for Toronto’s debt-free period orchestra, there is nothing like the feeling of being free and clear.

Announced yesterday at Tafelmusik’s 2016 annual general meeting, they achieved an impressive 16-year balanced budget streak with an operating surplus of $107,017 on a budget of $5.4 mil. Ticket sales rose by $5,501 from last year’s $1.7 mil.

“Tafelmusik’s long-standing tradition of excellence in financial management continues in 2015/16. Extensive budgeting, regular monitoring, forecasting and risk management processes are the foundation of this success, along with strong contingency planning,” said Treasurer Jeff Bennett in a press release statement.

Expenses were down substantially by $272,429 from the previous year, largely due to cutting back on touring. In 2014/15, Tafelmusik was on the road for a total of ten weeks, which included trips to New Zealand and Australia. Last year they toured for only half that time with stops in Europe, Ontario, and Western Canada.

Investment income from their pool of endowment funds rose by just over $23,000, from a total of $250,000 for the 2015/16 fiscal year. Tafelmusik’s rainy day fund remained steady at $402,100.

Despite a press release calling it a “record-breaking” year, the numbers show a flat year of growth for Tafelmusik, who remain remarkably stable despite new programming initiatives such as the launch of a new late night series Haus Musik, and a new multimedia concert creation by Alison Mackay, and a recording of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. It is no small feat in today’s storied waters of arts sector turmoil where excessive debt and rising productions cost have become all too common.

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Michael Vincent
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Michael Vincent

Editor at Musical Toronto
Michael Vincent has worked as a senior editor for La Scena Musicale and web editor for Norman Lebrecht. On January 21, 2014, he went to lunch and left as the publisher of Musical Toronto. Later that year he found himself as a freelance classical music critic for the Toronto Star, the former employer of his favourite author Ernest Hemingway. Michael holds a Doctorate in Music from the University of Toronto.
Michael Vincent
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