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Arts and Culture

Symphoria launches first full season of concerts

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

For the first time since before the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra went bankrupt two years ago, musicians will play a full season of symphonic music. The Symphoria's "Music in the Key of CNY" series marks a big moment for the fledgling musical group.

A brass quartet serenaded Wednesday's announcement of the 2013-2014 season for Symphoria, featuring five different concert series ranging from classical to casual.

"To have concerts scheduled for a whole year in advance, and to know what they'll be, is a milestone for us," said Symphoria musician and board member Jon Garland. He says almost 50 of the former Syracuse Symphony Orchestra musicians are part of the new group, which is a cooperative orchestra, owned and operated by the  musicians.  They've chosen the music and are trying new venues and more casual concerts to try and draw in new listeners.  This season will go a long way in determining if the business model is working says Garland.

"We started operating in earnest in December, and now we're in May. So we've had about six months behind us in operation in earnest and having a full season will give us tremendous perspective on the situation."

Onondaga County continues to support the fledgling group.  Legislator Kathy Rapp says musicians have lived up to the terms of an agreement that gives $75,000 of hotel room tax revenues to the group every quarter.

"We're still releasing money periodically. There continues to be benchmarks, and so far they've exceeded every single one we've set," said Rapp.

And the group won tax exempt status from the IRS last month, that will allow it to solicit tax-free donations to help build for the future.

Symphoria is also trying to get former SSO concert goers back in the fold, by extending a  ticket exchange for people who still had tickets for a season cut short by bankruptcy.

"Extending the offer through the end of the calendar year is an effort to make sure they know we would like the to come back, and we welcome that.  Some have, and other's haven't taken advantage of that, and we hope they will," said Garland.

Credit Ellen Abbott/WRVO
A brass quartet serenaded the announcement of Symphoria's new season.