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September 20, 2019

Portland Symphony raises record $5.9M in ongoing capital campaign

File Photo / Tim Greenway Carolyn Nishon, executive director of the Portland Symphony Orchestra, says that with the arrival of a new music director, the PSO "is thinking about its future."

The Portland Symphony Orchestra said Thursday that it has raised nearly $5.9 million in a capital campaign now underway, bringing the orchestra closer to its goal of raising $6.5 million by December 2020.

The PSO also said the amount raised so far is seven times more than any campaign in the organization's 96-year history, and that an anonymous donor will match up to $100,000 for new or increased gifts to the current campaign.

The campaign, known as Crescendo, was launched privately in January 2016 and enters its second, public phase this week.

Details were unveiled at an event Wednesday evening celebrating the inaugural season of the Portland Symphony's new music director, Eckart Preu.

"With Eckart's arrival, we are thinking about our future," said Carolyn Nishon, the PSO's executive director, in a Thursday news release.

She also said the campaign is an investment "in our own world-class musicians and performances" and programs including PSO Explorers, a nationally recognized arts education program that is helping students meet literacy and social growth goals in two Portland public schools.

The PSO has operated in the black for the past 11 seasons.

The Crescendo campaign is spearheaded by trustee Jim Konkel with committee members from the board, orchestra and staff. The PSO says the campaign's goal is to ensure the orchestra can offer world-class, accessible, and transformative music programs for generations to come.

Support comes from individuals, corporations and foundations, including the Bingham Trust, Lunder Foundation and Crewe Foundation.

The 2019-2020 season starts this Sunday.

In an "On the Record" interview with Mainebiz this summer, Preu promised a "stunning season" and spoke of longtime support for the arts in Portland. He also said he enjoys the business aspects of his job, and "the American model" of engaging with the audience.

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