The Toronto Symphony Orchestra is not only back, it is in black.
That is the takeaway from the financial statement presented at the organization’s annual general meeting on Thursday. The significant news related to its comeback 2021-22 season – the previous season was cancelled because of COVID-related lockdowns – was the elimination of an accumulated deficit that had existed for more than four decades.
In their reports, board treasurer Peter Hinman and new chief executive officer Mark Williams said that the organization closed the 2022 fiscal year with a surplus of more than $901,000, which resulted in an accumulated surplus – the TSO’s first since 1979 – of more than $781,000.
“It feels fitting that we enter our next century with a clean slate and better positioned to weather the challenges to come as we collectively rebuild and adjust to our postpandemic reality,” noted Williams.
The country’s largest orchestra is currently in the midst of its centennial season under new direction. Williams took over as CEO this spring, succeeding Matthew Loden, who stepped down from the role just over a year ago. The Spanish conductor Gustavo Gimeno officially began in his position as music director effective with the scuttled 2020-21 slate.
The TSO’s 2021-22 season was not without its setbacks. The opening of the schedule was purposely delayed until November, with initial performances held with enforced capacity limits on both audiences and musicians. Further, in the winter, Ontario concert halls were ordered to close because of a surge in COVID-19 infections, resulting in the cancellation of two months’ worth of TSO programs.
It was not until the spring that the orchestra was able to present – for the first time in two years – full-length concerts with large ensembles for maximum-capacity houses. The season concluded with Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, which was appropriate enough under the circumstances.
Earlier this month, the orchestra opened its current season at Roy Thomson Hall with a performance of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade and the guest appearance of Canadian pianist Bruce Liu, winner of the 2021 Chopin International Piano Competition.