Norway’s philharmonic orchestras both in Oslo and Bergen have racked up losses and been forced to chip into their capital accounts. Both blame the losses on higher pension costs.
The Oslo Philharmonic and Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra logged losses for 2012 of NRK 2.8 million and NOK 3.6 million respectively. “It’s an unfortunate development,” Marti Eia-Revheim, chairman of the Oslo Philharmonic, told Aftenposten. “We don’t have a lot of reserves in the event of a really rainy day.”
The Oslo Philharmonic, which has a strong international reputation, employs 109 musicians and held 163 concerts last year that attracted 113,484 ticket-holders, up from 102,206 in 2011. The Bergen Philharmonic, with 99 musicians, enjoyed an even bigger increase in audiences, from 83,770 in 2011 to 112,428 last year.
Operating revenues for both orchestras also rose, but pension costs rose much more. Both orchestras are working on ways to bring them down before their capital accounts are depleted.
Stavanger’s Symphony Orchestra also saw pension costs rise but could add an operating profit to its capital reserves. The Stavanger orchestra moved into the city’s new concert house last year and has seen a 40 percent increase in ticket sales.