PNC Donates $500,000 to Support the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s Community Outreach and Access Initiatives
Portion of gift reflects the PNC Grow Up Great initiative
Baltimore, Md. (September 15, 2010)—At the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s (BSO) annual Gala Celebration on Saturday, September 11, PNC Greater Maryland Regional President and BSO Gala Chair Louis (Lou) R. Cestello announced from stage a $500,000 gift from PNC. This leadership gift will underwrite for three seasons the Orchestra’s outreach and access initiatives, including continued affordable ticket pricing, the Off the Cuff series, the Music Matters campaign, OrchKids and Midweek Education Concerts.
In 2007, PNC provided leadership support of $1 million to launch the BSO’s landmark, multi-year ticket initiative that made all subscription seats available for just $25 beginning with the 2007-2008 season. This historic pricing structure resulted in a 17% increase in the total number of Baltimore subscribers and cemented the BSO’s commitment to accessible ticket pricing. PNC’s most recent grant enables the BSO to offer affordable tickets and reach new audiences in this and future seasons. BSO Music Director Marin Alsop’s engaging series, Off the Cuff, also reaches new audiences by introducing classical repertoire to any level of symphonic enthusiast. As a key supporter of both these initiatives, PNC plays a significant role in further expanding the BSO’s reach into the community it serves.
A portion of the grant aligns with PNC Grow Up Great , a 10-year, $100 million school readiness initiative designed to help children from birth to age five to arrive at school ready to learn, PNC’s contribution also supports several of the BSO’s programs for youth, including OrchKids and the Midweek Education Concerts. The BSO’s OrchKids program provides year-round music lessons, tutoring, after-school care and free meals to more than 200 pre-K through 3rd grade students in West Baltimore. Through the Midweek Education Concerts, the BSO provides almost 35,000 students each year with an affordable and age-appropriate live concert experience.
“The BSO and PNC have been community access and outreach partners for many years,” says PNC Greater Maryland Regional President Lou Cestello. “We are proud to be the founding partner of the groundbreaking $25 Ticket Initiative, which exemplifies the BSO's commitment to creating access through affordability. We welcome the opportunity to stand beside the BSO as they improve the lives of students in West Baltimore through OrchKids. This grant also acknowledges the musicians' recent extraordinary sacrifices, ensuring the Orchestra remains a vital contributor to the community for years to come.”
“We are deeply grateful for PNC’s support of the BSO’s outreach and access programs,” says BSO Board Chair Michael Bronfein. “PNC is a key partner in aiding the BSO’s efforts to build on its legacy of accessible excellence through innovative programs for youth and maintaining the BSO as an affordable cultural destination for the entire community.”
About the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
The Grammy Award-winning Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) is internationally recognized as having achieved a preeminent place among the world's most important orchestras. Acclaimed for its enduring pursuit of artistic excellence, the BSO has attracted a devoted national and international following while maintaining deep bonds throughout Maryland with innovative education and community outreach initiatives.
The BSO made musical history in September 2007, when Maestra Marin Alsop led her inaugural concerts as the Orchestra’s 12th music director, making her the first woman to head a major American orchestra. With her highly praised artistic vision, her dynamic musicianship and her commitment to accessibility in classical music, Maestra Alsop’s leadership has ushered in a new era for the BSO and its audiences.
Under Music Director Marin Alsop’s leadership, the BSO has rapidly added several critically acclaimed albums to its already impressive discography. The BSO recently released Dvorák’s Symphonies Nos. 6, 7 and 8, the final two discs in its three-disc Dvorák cycle. In August 2009, the BSO and Marin Alsop released Bernstein’s Mass featuring baritone Jubilant Sykes, the Morgan State University Choir and the Peabody Children’s Chorus. The album rose to number six on the Classical Billboard Charts and received a 2009 Grammy nomination for Best Classical Album. The Orchestra made its foray into online distribution in April 2007 with the release of a live-concert recording of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring on iTunes, which quickly become the site’s number one classical music download.
In addition to the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, where the orchestra has performed for 27 years, the BSO is a founding partner and the resident orchestra at the new state-of-the-art Music Center at Strathmore, just outside Washington, D.C. With the opening of Strathmore in February 2005, the BSO became the nation’s only major orchestra with year-round venues in two metropolitan areas.
The PNC Foundation's priority is to form partnerships with community-based nonprofit organizations within the markets PNC serves in order to enhance educational opportunities for children, particularly underserved pre-K children through our signature, PNC Grow Up Great program, and to promote the growth of targeted communities through economic development initiatives.
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