New York Philharmonic helps NCH keep ticket revenues steady

Some 320,000 people visited the National Concert Hall in 2015 but rising expenses sees venue report €300,000 deficit

The appearance of the New York Philharmonic helped the National Concert Hall to keep ticket sales steady at the €7 million mark in 2015, but an increase in expenses saw its deficit rise to €293,340. Fundraising efforts however, saw the first increase since the economic downturn in 2008.

The concert hall, which was put on a statutory footing earlier this year, staged over 1,000 events during 2015, attracting over 320,000 concert goers with highlights included the appearance of the New York Philarmonic Orchestra with Joyce DiDonato, soprano Natalie Dessay with pianist Philippe Cassard; the Helsinki Philharmonic and pianist Leif Ove Andsne. During the year the Kevin Barry rooms were refurbished as part of a €6 million investment and were recently re-opened. The top selling promotions during the year were Keith Jarrett and Phillip Glass, while the New York Philharmonic was the top-grossing event.

The deficit at the concert hall rose to €293,340, up from €4,433 previously, as revenues rose marginally to €4.7 million.

"Financially there were a number of specific issues that adversely impacted on the annual outcome: the weakness of the euro against both sterling and the dollar in the first part of the year affected some major promotions; sales on a number of new initiatives were well below pre-crash-levels," chief executive Simon Taylor said.

A third of the concert hall’s income came from grants (€2.2mn) in 2015, with a further 8 per cent generated (€0.6mn) from fundraising efforts. 2015 was the first year of growth in contributed income, which rose by 18 per cent, since the economic downturn in 2008. Online donations grew by 23 per cent during the year, while sponsorship from the corporate sector advanced by almost 30 per cent

The concert hall is currently engaging in a brand review, due to be completed this summer, which will be “transformative in terms of our brand, our market positioning and our strategy”.

Employee figures remained steady during the year, at 102. The accounts show that a Steinway piano was acquired during the year at a cost of €87,063. It is written down over five years,

Earlier this year the National Cultural Institutions (Concert Hall) Act was enacted, providing for the creation of a new statutory body, An Ceolaras Naisiunta the National Concert Hall.

Fiona Reddan

Fiona Reddan

Fiona Reddan is a writer specialising in personal finance and is the Home & Design Editor of The Irish Times