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Classical presenter Tacoma Philharmonic to merge with Broadway Center

Post by Rosemary Ponnekanti / The News Tribune on Feb. 10, 2012 at 1:15 pm with No Comments »
February 13, 2012 2:31 pm

After 75 years of offering classical music in Tacoma, presenting organization the Tacoma Philharmonic is merging into the Broadway Center for Performing Arts, the non-profit organization that manages Tacoma’s downtown theaters, which are owned by the City. The BCPA will now present the Philharmonic’s current classical series and educational programs under its own umbrella and management, manage the Philharmonic endowment and welcome Philharmonic trustees to the BCPA board.

The merger begins April 30, and follows a trial period of joint presentation after Tacoma Philharmonic executive director Andy Wood left early last year. Both boards voted unanimously on the move.

“The BCPA and Tacoma Philharmonic are both leaders in presenting world-class performances,” said Broadway Center’s executive director David Fischer in a recent press release. “This decision will allow both organizations to preserve what matters most ­– continuing great programs.”

Fischer cited lower operating costs as another reason for the merger. “As the economy improves, lower administrative and operating costs will provide the best environment for future growth,” he said.

Philharmonic board president Barry Benson noted that as both organizations have a similar role and mission, the combination would “benefit the community in a big way,” with some Philharmonic board members joining the BCPA board or classical music sub-committees.

Over its 75-year history, the Tacoma Philharmonic – not to be confused with the Tacoma Symphony, which is a performing orchestra – has changed from an independent orchestra to a combined orchestra with the Seattle symphony to a presenter of touring classical musicians and, in the last few years, children’s concerts. This year’s four-concert season included violinist Joshua Bell and the upcoming Cypress String Quartet program on February 18. The organization also sponsors the annual Beatrice Hermann Young Artists Competition and K-12 education programs.

After the Philharmonic decided to release all employees early last year, including director Andy Wood, the board began to work with the Broadway Center to manage and market the season. After the upcoming merger, the Philharmonic will cease to exist as a non-profit organization.

The BCPA will also manage the Philharmonic’s endowment, which current stands at $600,000, as a separate entity in its accounts. Donors may continue to give specifically to the endowment, which will support the presentation of classical music in Tacoma.

The two groups will hold a “Wedding Ceremony” on May 18 at the Fircrest Country Club to celebrate the merger. For more information, call 253-591-5894 or visit www.tacomaphilharmonic.org.


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