Donations, grants help keep the music playing at CPO

Article content

The phrase ‘and the band played on’ has never been more true with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra receiving a significant infusion of cash.

The CPO’s capital campaign, called Ad Astra: Building to New Heights, has reached almost $1 million in donations since October 2020. This includes an endowment of the resident conductor position and a grant from the federal Department of Canadian Heritage.

The campaign was launched to ensure a sustainable future for the orchestra and the funds raised go to the CPO Foundations’ independent fund to support long-term operations.

The conductor endowment is a major gift to the foundation from longtime patron and arts advocate Mary Rozsa de Coquet and the Rozsa Foundation, a private charitable foundation started by her parents. Lola and Ted Rozsa donated millions to arts, health and educational groups, including a $3-million donation that launched the Rozsa Centre at the University of Calgary.

Advertisement

Story continues below
This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

Rozsa Foundation chair Mary Rozsa de Coquet is an active arts supporter. Photo courtesy: Mike Tan/Diane + Mike Photography
Rozsa Foundation chair Mary Rozsa de Coquet is an active arts supporter. Photo courtesy: Mike Tan/Diane + Mike Photography Photo by Mike Tan/Diane + Mike Photogrpah /Mike Tan/Diane + Mike Photogrpah

The resident conductor, currently filled by Karl Hirzer, is involved in community engagement and education as well as conducting concerts throughout the season. Rozsa de Coquet’s parents began supporting the CPO’s artistic leadership with their endowment of the Music Director position in 1993.

“This is really a gift to the entire community,” says Simon Mallett, executive director of the Rozsa Foundation. “The resident conductor works with the orchestra to create more opportunities for people in our city to experience the joy of music and develop leadership skills that will ultimately benefit us all in the future.”

Karl Hirzer says the endowment means a lot personally. “A resident conductor is a very busy position and it’s an incredible opportunity for someone developing their career,” he adds. “I feel truly honoured to work in such a capacity with so many great colleagues.”

The capital campaign also got a significant boost from Canadian Heritage’s Cultural Investment Fund. The matching grant, based on a percentage of donations to the foundation, contributed $660,000 last year. This federal program helps encourage private donations to arts organization endowment funds, crucial to their long-term sustainability. The CPO’s independent endowment fund has become its largest annual funder.

The Ad Astra capital campaign kicked off in October 2020 with a $1-million donation from philanthropist Dr. John Lacey, the campaign’s Honorary Chair. The goal is to grow the endowment by $25 million over five years, to provide a stable source of revenue for the orchestra.

The Calgary Philharmonic is the largest not-for-profit performing arts organization in Alberta, with 30 administrative staff and 66 musicians.

News Near Sault Ste. Marie

This Week in Flyers