Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Looks To Star Wars And Drag Queens To Keep Up Subscription Growth

Apr 25, 2019

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is gearing up for summer programming set to include music from John William’s films, the Rolling Stones and the U.S. premiere of “Thorgy and the Thorchestra” – a collaboration with "RuPaul’s Drag Race" star Thorgy Thor. 

Melia Tourangeau came to the Pittsburgh Symphony from the Utah Symphony | Utah Opera, the only combined 52-week orchestra and opera organization in the United States.
Credit Michael Sahaida / Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

Like symphonies across the globe, PSO CEO Melia Tourangeau says the Pittsburgh orchestra struggles to keep subscribers up and its bank statements in the black.

Tourangeau joined the organization in 2015 and immediately faced a nearly bankrupt pension program followed by a 55-day strike by musicians. She credits those musicians with making tough compromises to end the strike, including switching to a 401k-style pension program. Now, she says subscriptions are up for the first time in more than a decade and musicians are more engaged in the organization than before.

Tourangeau says the organization now works more closely with its marketing department to base its repertoire on what appeals most to the community. Find the PSO’s full event calendar here.

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