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Victoria Symphony closes record-breaking season

The symphony saw the largest audience total in six years
The Victoria Symphony. (Victoria Symphony)

The Victoria Symphony (VS) has officially bounced back from the pandemic with a record-breaking 2023-24 season, one that saw 36,000 patrons attending in-person concerts.

One of the most successful seasons in a decade, ticket sales saw a 16 per cent increase from the previous year.

Free broadcasts of three VS concerts also reached 228,000 homes.

“It has been heartening to see the community’s response to our 2023-24 season,” said CEO Matthew White in a press release. “A growing audience, generous donors, government funders, and corporate sponsors all continue to recognize the value that this orchestra brings to Victoria’s cultural life.”

The season wrapped up on May 12 with the seventh performance under the musical leadership of Copenhagen-born Christian Kluxen. As music director, Kluxen brought diversity to the programming, with highlights such as Jurassic Park in concert, two VS-commissioned world premieres by Canadian composers and a collaboration with the Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra.

The season also saw new programming on the West Shore and in Qualicum Beach as well as the release of the soundtrack You Are My Bones for the CBC mini-series and feature film Bones of Crows on the legacy of residential schools.

Fulfilling its mandate to inspire and educate young people, the VS saw 6,000 K-6 students attend the Education & Outreach Concerts in Victoria and Duncan. Additionally, 17 VS musicians led outreach programs in 41 schools across three school districts, engaging 5,600 students.

Through vsNEW, a program for local young composers ages 11-18, six new works were created and several of the composers went on to win local, provincial and national awards.

White wanted to use the success of the season to draw attention to the need for continued community support.

“This orchestra is now considered to be one of the best in the country and our programming on par with what is on offer in much larger cities,” White said in a press release. “Despite all of the recent success, however, we are dealing with a key issue shared by other orchestras across the country, production expenses are rising faster than revenues. We will continue to advocate for the important role that the symphony plays in civic life and feel optimistic that the necessary community support will continue to be there.”

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