Learn more about H&H's rich history and explore our interactive timeline.
Society announces Financial Results and Summary of Achievements for Fiscal Year 2011
September 20, 2011 (Boston, MA) – At the annual meeting held in Boston on September 19, the Handel and Haydn Society announced the renewal of Harry Christophers’ contract as Artistic Director for an additional term of four years, extending his leadership of the Society through the 2015 Bicentennial year and celebrations, and into 2016. The Society presented its audited financial statements for the year ending June 30, 2011 and announced that it had
balanced its budget in addition to reaching key organizational accomplishments for the 2010–2011 Season.
Since his appointment as Artistic Director in 2008, Harry Christophers has reinvigorated the Handel and Haydn Society. Under his leadership, the Society has resumed recording activities, releasing two CDs on the CORO label, and increased its reach with local and national broadcasts of concerts. Christophers has looked to the rich musical heritage of the Society and brought back pieces premiered in the United States by Handel and Haydn, including Handel’s Israel in Egypt and the upcoming performance of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion. His conducting brings a vibrancy and freshness to well-known works, such as the annual performances of Handel’s Messiah, exposing deeper levels of beauty in the music and leading to sold out houses. Greater attendance from broader audiences has resulted in increased engagement among patrons. Executive Director and CEO Marie-Hélène Bernard commented, “The Handel and Haydn Society has continued to flourish under Harry Christophers’ leadership, reaffirming the Society’s position as a leader in the field of Historically Informed Performance. Harry has cultivated a new level of excellence, and I am very pleased that he will remain as Artistic Director and lead us through our Bicentennial.” Ambitious plans are already in place for the celebration, including a commission, free concerts for the Boston community, expanded educational outreach initiatives, special lectures and exhibitions, and recording projects.
Chairman of the Board Nicholas Gleysteen remarked, “The Society’s commitment to historically informed performances of Baroque and Classical music and its dedication to serving as a music educator and community partner are fundamental to its mission. Keeping Harry Christophers on as Artistic Director is critical to the execution of that mission. In his first two seasons he has already both raised the level of performance and broadened the Society’s audiences, and I can’t wait to see what he does next.”
“It has been a pleasure and a privilege to lead the Handel and Haydn Society’s exceptionally talented musicians over the past two seasons. I look forward to continuing to work with them and to bringing great performers and performances to our Boston audience. As the Society moves towards the Bicentennial celebration in 2015, I am thrilled to be a part of this momentous and historic occasion,” said Harry Christophers.
Also announced at the meeting, the Society ended its FY11 fiscal year on June 30, 2011, with a surplus of $9,393. The Society balanced its budget with unrestricted revenue of $3.16 million and total expenses of $3.15 million. Total revenues for 2011 were up 30.5% or approximately $861,000. Unrestricted contributions from individuals and grants, representing more than half of operating revenues, remained strong. Handel and Haydn Society generated $1,393,404 in ticket revenue, consisting of $694,140 in subscriptions and $699,264 in single tickets. This represents the highest single ticket revenue figure seen since 2001, and a 57% increase in revenue from FY10.
Nicholas Gleysteen was re-elected Chairman of the Board by the Board of Governors and Overseers. Gleysteen, a lawyer and CPA, is a Portfolio Manager at Hellman, Jordan Management Co., and also serves on the boards of the Weston Land Trust, Somerset Club Executive Committee, Fort Ticonderoga, National Trust for Scotland USA, Handel House USA, and the Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club.
Thomas J. Watt, philanthropist, was newly elected to the Board of Governors, and Bill Achtmeyer of The Parthenon Group, an Overseer, will serve as a Governor. Elected to the Board of Overseers were Richard Batchelder, Jr. of Ropes % Gray LLP, and Paul V. Kelly of EMC. All will serve three-year terms.
In addition to Nicholas Gleysteen as Board Chair, officers were elected for the coming year. Vice Chairs will be Todd Estabrook of Commonwealth Financial; Deborah First of Deborah First Communications; Mary Nada, philanthropist; Susan Stemper of Biogen IDEC; and Wat Tyler, philanthropist. Joseph Flynn of Howland Capital Management, Inc. was elected Treasurer; Winifred Li of Ropes & Gray LLP elected Secretary; and Marie-Hélène Bernard as Chief Executive Officer.
The Handel and Haydn Society’s 2010–2011 Season, the second under Harry Christophers’ artistic leadership, was greeted with acclaim from critics and audiences alike. Highlights included performances by exceptional international and local talent, with guests including Baroque violinist Rachel Podger opening the season, fortepianist Robert Levin and conductor Bernard Labadie joining forces to present works by Beethoven and Haydn, and British conductor and fortepianist Richard Egarr leading a sold out performance of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Soprano Elizabeth Watts, mezzo-soprano Phyllis Pancella, tenor Andrew Kennedy, and bass-baritone Eric Owens, were featured in Mozart’s Requiem, which was recorded live in May and released on CD September 13.
The Society continued its collaborations with area cultural and educational institutions. Partners included Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where Society musicians and guest artists gave in-class performances of music by Mozart, Haydn, and Bach, and period instrument and vocal technique demonstrations and coachings. Masterclasses were also presented by Society artists, including Rachel Podger at Harvard University and New England Conservatory (NEC), and on February 14 Harry Christophers visited a Harvard Collegium rehearsal as they prepared for an April 1 performance of Israel in Egypt, for which the Society served as the orchestra.
The 2010–2011 Season marked the beginning of a new partnership with NEC on a Conducting Apprenticeship Program, in which three NEC Master’s degree candidates in Orchestral Conducting each spent a week as apprentices to Society conductors. Other partnerships resulted in special events, lectures, and performances at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; MIT’s Kresge Auditorium; and Boston Children’s Museum.
The Society was heard on the radio both locally on WGBH/99.5 Classical and nationally on NPR’s SymphonyCast over the course of the season. Three concerts from the season, including the 157th annual Messiah and Handel’s Israel in Egypt, were broadcast to as many as 350,000 listeners on over 230 stations.
The Handel and Haydn Society celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Karen S. and George D. Levy Educational Outreach Program. Established in 1985, the program provides meaningful opportunities for youngsters to both listen to and perform classical music. Workshops, recitals, and youth concerts are offered at no cost to schools or families, reaching over 10,000 children in the greater Boston area each year. During the 2010–2011 Season the Vocal Quartet, a group of Handel and Haydn Society vocalists and piano accompanist, presented programs including What’s an Oratorio? at local public schools, Jewish day schools, and a school for the blind. The Vocal Apprenticeship Program (VAP) choruses continued to provide students in grades 3 through 12 the opportunity to sing as well as study music theory, and VAP choruses made special appearances at Lord & Taylor, and the Massachusetts Music Educators Association’s All-State Festival, and 70 members of the choruses sang at The Society Ball on February 12, 2011, along with the Vocal Quartet and VAP alumna Meredith Lustig. The anniversary provided an opportunity to launch a series of expansions, broaden awareness of the program, and galvanize the community, and offered a number of unique and exciting opportunities. Handel and Haydn held a reception on February 20 to honor the program’s anniversary; the celebration brought together nearly 200 students, parents, alumni, and faculty (past and present), who then attended the Society’s performance of Israel in Egypt together at Symphony Hall.
Harry Christophers enters his third season as Artistic Director of the Handel and Haydn Society with the 2011–2012 Season. Since September 2006, when he led a sold-out performance in the Esterházy Palace at the Haydn Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria, he has conducted Handel and Haydn each season and, following his appointment in 2008, Christophers’ tenure as Artistic Director began with the 2009-2010 season. Christophers and Handel and Haydn have since embarked on an ambitious artistic journey with a showcase of works premiered in the United States by the Handel and Haydn Society over the last 195 years, and the release of the first of a series of recordings on CORO leading to the 2015 Bicentennial. Christophers is founder and conductor of the UK-based choir and period instrument ensemble The Sixteen. He has directed The Sixteen
throughout Europe, America, and the Far East, gaining a distinguished reputation for his work in Renaissance, Baroque, and 20th-century music. In 2000, he instituted The Sixteen’s “Choral Pilgrimage,” a tour of British cathedrals from York to Canterbury. With that ensemble, he has recorded close to 100 titles for which he has won numerous awards, including a Grand Prix du Disque for Handel Messiah, numerous Preise der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik (German Record Critics Awards), the coveted Gramophone Award for Early Music, and the prestigious Classical Brit Award (2005) for his disc entitled Renaissance. In 2009, he received one of classical music’s highest accolades, the Classic FM Gramophone Awards Artist of the Year Award, and The Sixteen won the Baroque Vocal Award for Handel Coronation Anthems, a CD that also received a 2010 Grammy Award nomination. Harry Christophers is also Principal Guest Conductor of the Granada Symphony Orchestra and a regular guest conductor with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and the Orquestra de la Comunidad de Madrid. In October 2008,
Christophers was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Music from the University of Leicester. Most recently, he was elected an Honorary Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford and also of the Royal Welsh Academy for Music and Drama.
About Handel and Haydn Society
Handel and Haydn Society (H&H) is a professional Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus and an internationally recognized leader in the field of Historically Informed Performance, a revelatory style that uses the instruments and techniques of the composer’s time. Founded in Boston in 1815, H&H is the oldest continuously performing arts organization in the United States and has a longstanding commitment to excellence and innovation: it gave the
American premieres of Handel’s Messiah (1818), Haydn’s The Creation (1819), Verdi’s Requiem (1878), and Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (1879). Handel and Haydn today, under Artistic Director Harry Christophers’ leadership, is committed to its mission to perform Baroque and Classical music at the highest levels of artistic excellence and to share that music with as large and diverse an audience as possible. H&H is widely known through its local subscription series, tours, concert broadcasts on WGBH/99.5 Classical and National Public Radio, and recordings. Its recording of Sir John Tavener’s Lamentations and Praises won a 2003 Grammy Award and two of its recordings, All is Bright and Peace, appeared simultaneously in the top ten on Billboard Magazine’s classical music chart. In September 2010, H&H released its first collaboration with Harry Christophers on the CORO label, Mozart’s Mass in C Minor—the first in a series of live commercial recordings leading to H&H’s Bicentennial in 2015. The 2010–2011 Season marked the 25th anniversary of Handel and Haydn’s award-winning Karen S. and George D. Levy Educational Outreach Program, which brings music education, vocal training, and performance opportunities to 10,000 students annually throughout Greater Boston and beyond.
Handel and Haydn Society is funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Visit our new media center for releases, photos and more.