Ottawa Symphony

Why support the Ottawa Symphony

An update for donors, May 2019

You think music makes the world a better place. We couldn’t agree more.

And we know how important this is to you because you’ve made a point of supporting us, more than once.

For over 50 years, the Ottawa Symphony has been nurturing the best of our city’s deep pool of musical talent while bringing together passionate and longstanding music lovers—like you—to collectively enjoy the best we can offer. The Ottawa Symphony plays big music with a big heart, and you’ve embraced us for it. Thank you!

As we near our last concert of the 2018-19 season, we want to underscore our appreciation for your past support. Purchasing concert tickets, lottery tickets, your presence at special events, and your donations help us to do the work needed to ensure that the show can go on. Let us tell you what we’ve been doing to keep your Ottawa Symphony vibrant, and how you can continue to be a part of our future.

Fearless programming, meaningful opportunities

We started the season with our innovative 3D String Theory concert at Ottawa City Hall performing a new orchestral composition on 3D-printed instruments.  Despite that gaze into the future, we did not shy away from the exciting, monumental works of the 19th and 20th centuries that you’ve come to expect.  You know that innovation takes many forms, including this season’s powerful orchestration of Bruckner’s Symphony no. 7, Rachmaninoff’s lush Symphonic Dances, and Mahler’s emotional Symphony no. 5.

We trust you’ll be reassured to know that we embarked on a strategic renewal of the Symphony this year. Because we know how important you think this is, we have reconfirmed our commitment to performing large-scale concerts, like these. While our educational focus is to continue to create pre-professional opportunities for young talent through our established musician mentorship program with the University of Ottawa School of Music, as well as to create new experiential learning programs in arts management with Carleton University.

Moving experiences, shared joy

Ottawa Symphony concerts attract passionate and knowledgeable music lovers—like you— from all over the region, who gather to be transported by excellent music played with passion.  We are working toward creating a richer concert experience that will appeal to current supporters and that will attract new audiences from our dynamic city. While music remains at the core, learning and social opportunities can only elevate the shared experience of coming together in the moving beauty of a live concert experience.

We all love the feelings we experience as we exit a concert, a certain warmth and euphoria. We’ve seen it in your face. And it looks great on you! Still, the reality of producing large scale concerts like those you’ve come to love is sobering. Over the past few seasons, concert expenses have outpaced revenues.  This is due to high production costs, declining audience turnouts, and a decrease in philanthropic support as our donor demographics shift.

But we are exploring many avenues to sustain the Symphony. The invitation to perform at the magnificent Carleton Dominion-Chalmers Centre is helping us to realize a savings of over $40,000 per season. The benefits of this new arrangement go beyond savings, this new venue allows us to more fully be the city’s orchestra, and work towards increasing performances and partnerships.

The savings are timely, but we also need to increase revenues. We’ve been working to secure new and repeat sponsorships from organizations like Alterna Savings and the Insurance Bureau of Canada. And we are fortunate to have a number of committed donors, like you, who have pledged their support of this city’s historic orchestra. Once again, we thank you.

Help us reimagine a stronger Ottawa Symphony

We are at a very critical juncture, having laid some solid footings, we are in reach of a more sustainable future. And we still need your help.

By championing and investing in the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, supporters like you can restore our organization’s financial health, and ensure the strength and longevity of a prestigious cultural pillar in our global, entrepreneurial city.

How can you do this? Well, there are many ways: we can use your donations for specific uses, or as general funds to ensure our very small staff can continue daily operations running our charitable organization. The enclosed donation pledge outlines several ways you can help to produce our season.

Please feel free to contact the general manager of the orchestra, Kate Holmes ( or 613.231.7802), or either of us to discuss these important opportunities to join your peers in sustaining and growing your professional city orchestra. We thank you in advance for your donation to help us keep music in the hearts and minds of people of all ages in the Ottawa area.

Yours in community and music,

Robert W. Peck
President, Board of Directors

George Haynal
Past-President, Board of Directors

Re-Imagine the Ottawa Symphony

For over 50 years, the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra has been nurturing rising musical talent while bringing together passionate music lovers—like you—to collectively enjoy the best of the music world, in Ottawa. The OSO plays big music with a big heart, and you’ve embraced us for it.

The cost to produce large-scale concerts like you’ve come to expect cannot be recovered through ticket revenues alone. And public-sector funding not cannot be relied upon. Funding from supporters like you is what produces an Ottawa Symphony season.

By championing our city’s historic orchestra, you ensure the strength and longevity of a prestigious cultural pillar in Ottawa. And you help to secure the opportunity for musicians and aficionados alike to revel in our shared love for music and the tribe it brings together.