Sarasota Orchestra
709 N Tamiami Trl
Sarasota FL 34236-4047
We engage, educate and enrich our community through high-quality, live musical experiences.
CEO/Executive Director Joseph McKenna
Board Chair David Steves
Board Chair Affiliation Muirhead, Gaylor & Steves
General Info
Organization DBA
Sarasota Orchestra
Florida West Coast Symphony, Inc.
Supported Organization Sarasota Orchestra Friends, Debutante Committee
Former Names
Florida West Coast Symphony, Inc.
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Incorporation Year 1986
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes Jan 2019
State Registration Yes 0
Financial Summary
Note: Revenue includes the value of in-kind contributions/donations
IRS Letter of Determination
IRS 501c3 CertificationView
Impact Statement

Maestra Tali has set a compelling vision for the orchestra that focuses on several key goals. First is to program the Masterworks Series to build the sound and sonic personality of the orchestra. Second is to feature principal players as soloists and leaders in the Chamber Soiree programs. Third is to develop broader community engagement through innovative programming and community outreach. Finally, to foster artistic growth, the vision calls for new commissions and an aspiration for the orchestra to perform in a series of first class concert halls.

Needs Statement

1. The Holley Hall stage in the Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center needs a new LED work light system. ($6,000)

2. The Orchestra needs to replace administrative computers. ($17,000)

3. Program expenses for the 2018 Summer Music Camp not covered by tuitions. ($70,145)

4. The annual cost for a full-time musician in the Sarasota Orchestra including benefits. (starts at $46,000)

5. The commission of a new work for the 2018 Sarasota Music Festival from composer Robert Sirota to be premiered by yMusic and SMF Music Director and pianist Jeffrey Kahane. ($20,000)

Background Statement

Founded in 1949, Florida West Coast Symphony, dba Sarasota Orchestra, is the oldest continuing orchestra in Florida and one of the first regional arts organizations to pioneer hands-on music education programs in partnership with area school systems. What started as a small resident orchestra of amateur musicians more than sixty-five years ago is now a highly regarded professional orchestra of eighty musicians under the direction of Anu Tali. Today we entertain, engage and educate over 100,000 Florida residents and visitors each year.

Areas Served
Areas Served
FL- Sarasota
FL- Charlotte
FL- Manatee
Service Categories
Primary Org Type Arts,Culture & Humanities
Secondary Org Type Education
Tertiary Org Type
Statement from the Board Chair/Board President
We are on a wonderful journey as the Sarasota Orchestra celebrates its 69th season in 2017-2018 as the oldest continuing orchestra in the state of Florida.
Our Sarasota Youth Orchestra and Summer Music Camp continue to provide high quality music education programs at near capacity levels. Our world-renowned Sarasota Music Festival has a new Music Director, Jeffrey Kahane, who brings new energy and fresh programming. Education is, and will continue to be, a significant part of our mission.
Great performances like those of Masterworks, Chamber Soirees, Great Escapes and Pops activated and elevated the other part of our mission which is to provide a diverse offering of live performances for the Sarasota-Manatee region. We also added a new series, Discoveries, to reach new audiences.
We have learned from the last several years that our courage to adapt, change and innovate is what has made the Sarasota Orchestra the vibrant organization it is today.
On behalf of our organization, we invite you to see how the Sarasota Orchestra has set the stage for a new era of excitement for our region.
David Steves, Board Chair
Joseph McKenna, President/CEO

The Sarasota Orchestra concert season includes orchestra concerts, chamber orchestra events and chamber ensemble performances. Our programming specifically aims to attract new audiences with innovative programs, foster cultural tourism and strengthen the region’s cultural arts by presenting an array of traditional classics, light classics, pop programs and chamber music. The Sarasota Orchestra presents over 125 performances annually, which feature renowned guest artists from around the world.

Budget $9,674,275
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Musical Performances
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served General/Unspecified General/Unspecified General/Unspecified
Short Term Success

· The Orchestra continues to enjoy artistically strong programming and healthy sales. FY16 ticket sales increased 9% with an increase in attendance of 2% over the prior year. The Chamber music series was expanded from seven to eight programs contributing to a 10% increase in attendance. The Orchestra and Maestra Tali, in collaboration with Van Wezel Performing Arts Center, performed with Renee Fleming in January to a sold out audience. Due to continued at-capacity sales for Pops programs, the Orchestra began planning an expansion from six performances to nine performances in 2017 through the addition of a Saturday matinee. The continued popularity of the outdoor Pops in collaboration with the Baltimore Orioles and Ed Smith Stadium resulted in a sold out stadium weeks before the concert. This early sell-out prompted planning the addition of a second performance for 2017 to accommodate all who wish to attend this family friendly event. The Youth Orchestra and Summer Music Camp continue to provide music education programs at near capacity levels with a 3% and 15% increase in attendance over FY15, respectively.

Long Term Success

The Sarasota Orchestra was founded in 1949 by a group of dedicated Florida music lovers from Sarasota, Bradenton and Venice, who were committed to building a resident orchestra in their community. Today, it is the oldest continuing orchestra in the State of Florida and a cornerstone of the cultural life of Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte Counties. The Sarasota Orchestra is recognized for its unique, multi-faceted profile, which combines a dual commitment to performance and education, while promoting the highest standards of excellence in orchestral and chamber music. In a visionary effort to claim its future, the Orchestra stepped out by re-launching its brand in 2008 to meet changes brought on by dramatic shifts in demographic trends, the influence of technology in the lives of patrons, and the re-defined economic landscape.

Program Success Monitoring

The success of our programming is evaluated for its artistic quality, audience growth and our overall inclusiveness. Evaluation of our artistic offerings is done by our Artistic Staff. Documenting audience reaction and analyzing music reviews are part of the evaluation. To evaluate the quality of concert programming, our marketing staff regularly analyzes press reviews and articles and distributes audience surveys to attendees of select season concerts. Focus groups are often utilized to garner feedback about various programs and to inform decisions before new programs are implemented.

Program Success Examples

More than anything, success is first measured by its artistic quality and impact with audiences.The variety of programming over the major series (Masterworks, Pops, Great Escapes and Chamber Music) has proved to attract diverse audiences. Collaboration with a wide array of community organizations has also been part of the organization's winning formula. Recent and ongoing collaborations include projects with Sarasota Opera, Sarasota Ballet, Gloria Musicae, Jewish Family Children Services and New College Music Department.


The Sarasota Youth Orchestras are comprised of seven youth orchestras, from beginning strings to the advanced Youth Philharmonic. A record 348 students currently participate in the Youth Orchestra program.

For three weeks each July, over 300 area students participate in the Summer Music Camp. The camp meets every day and concludes with a recital for parents and the community.
The annual Young Person’s Concerts engage over 9,000 fourth and fifth grade students from schools in the tri-county area in a flexible, twenty-six week, in-school preparation/study session, including a concert by the Sarasota Orchestra held at two professional performance venues.
Other outreach includes Orchestra musicians performing and coaching in area schools and community venues. The total number of children and family members served by the Sarasota Orchestra educational outreach each year is more than 10,000.
Budget $558,975
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Music Instruction
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years) K-12 (5-19 years) K-12 (5-19 years)
Short Term Success

The 2016-2017 season marks the 58th anniversary of the Sarasota Youth Orchestras, the 63rd year for the Young Person's Concerts and the 40th season for our Summer Music Camp. Over the last five years, enrollment in the Sarasota Youth Orchestras has grown by 50%, from 232 to 348 students. 62% of the students receive financial support to participate in the programs.

Sarasota Orchestra’s outreach program in support of Manatee County schools was selected for the 2015 Yale Symposium on Music in Schools and received the Yale Distinguished Music Educator Award.  
Long Term Success

For more than 50 years, our education programs have nurtured thousands of talented young music students, many who have gone on to careers in music as performers, teachers, and composers. Past alumni are members of the Sarasota Orchestra and other major symphony orchestras nationwide. All participants in our programs have gained a much deeper understanding and appreciation of classical and chamber music which shapes them for a lifetime, both in their support of the performing arts and in developing an understanding and appreciation of music in their own children.

Program Success Monitoring

Our educational programming effectiveness is evaluated by: the return rate of students; the improvement in playing ability of Youth Orchestra students over the course of the season and from one year to the next; the number of students recruited into the program; and input from music coaches, teachers and parents.

Program Success Examples

Over the last five years, enrollment in the Sarasota Youth Orchestras has grown by 50%, from 232 to 348 students.

We have been most fortunate to recruit the finest instructors to enhance the experience for our area youth who are all highly regarded educators. 

The Sarasota Music Festival is one of the premier chamber music festivals in the United States. We celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2014. For three weeks each June, we transform Sarasota County into a springboard for the training and promotion of outstanding college-aged musicians, while providing a performance platform for some of the world’s most distinguished chamber musicians and faculty. This three-week residency program selects approximately 60 students each year from more than 400 applications, representing the world’s top colleges and music conservatories. Students receive individual and ensemble training, coaching and mentoring from a faculty roster of exceptional, world-famous professors, scholars and musicians. With a dual focus on education and performance, the Festival offers an intense daily schedule of chamber music, master classes, coaching sessions, public lectures, demonstrations, open rehearsals and concert performances.

Budget $510,625
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Music Festivals
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served General/Unspecified General/Unspecified General/Unspecified
Short Term Success

· AArtistic Director Robert Levin concluded his successful tenure as leader of the Festival in June 2016. After an extensive search process, the Board of Directors is thrilled to announce that acclaimed pianist and music director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Jeffery Kahane will step into the role of Festival Music Director during the 2017 Festival.

Long Term Success

The Sarasota Music Festival, founded by Paul Wolfe, began in 1965. The first Festival was a one week event with seven guest artists. Within two years, the Festival grew to three weeks and succeeded in attracting national attention. By 1985, the Sarasota Music Festival came under the auspices of the Sarasota Orchestra. More than 40 faculty and 60 students converge on Sarasota from around the globe for this three week Festival of international acclaim. As a result of its long and distinguished record, the Sarasota Music Festival has garnered the noteworthy claim by the State of Florida as the State’s official teaching Festival.


Program Success Monitoring

The success of the Sarasota Music Festival is evaluated by: the growth of our audience; feedback from instructors and students; media reviews and articles; and surveys of audience members.

Program Success Examples
Past Sarasota Music Festival participants now hold positions with the following esteemed musical organizations: The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, among others.
CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director Joseph McKenna
CEO Term Start 2001
CEO/Executive Director Email
Experience Joseph McKenna is an established leader and visionary administrator. During his 15 year tenure at the Orchestra, he has guided the organization through a period of unprecedented artistic growth which has seen the unionization of the Orchestra, a doubling in the size of the Orchestra’s endowment corpus, the re-launch of the Orchestra’s brand, and most recently, completed the Orchestra’s first global search for a new Music Director. Prior to coming to Sarasota, Joe was Managing Director of the Cedarburg Performing Arts Center, Cedarburg, Wisconsin, where he supervised the final stages of construction and successfully opened greater Milwaukee’s newest multi-million dollar performing arts venue. Prior to heading up the Cedarburg Performing Arts Center, McKenna served as Executive Director of the Great Woods Educational Forum in Mansfield, Massachusetts, while concurrently serving as Music Director and Conductor of the Southeastern Massachusetts Wind Symphony and Conductor of the Wheaton College Chamber Orchestra. Promoted to Assistant Professor at Wheaton College in 1996, McKenna also volunteered as a music instructor for the SPES Program, an inner city youth program serving the Dorchester, Mattapan, and Roxbury neighborhoods of Boston. A graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music, McKenna holds degrees in Trombone Performance and Music Education with distinction.
Former CEOs/Executive Directors
Senior Staff
Gordon Greenfield Vice-President of Marketing, Sales and PR
RoseAnne McCabe Vice-President of Education/Sarasota Music Festival Administrative Director
Ryun Schienbein Vice President of Artistic Planning and Program Operations
Anu Tali Music Director
Cathy Wilson Vice-President of Finance
Staff & Volunteer Statistics
Full Time Staff 86
Part Time Staff 91
Staff Retention Rate % 96
Professional Development Yes
Contractors 82
Volunteers 400
Management Reports to Board Yes
CEO/Executive Director Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Recent collaborations include: Sarasota Opera, Sarasota Ballet, the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Van Wezel Foundation, Jewish Family and Children's Services, Ringling College of Art & Design, Choral Artists of Sarasota, and the Baltimore Orioles.
External Assessments and Accreditations
Risk Management Provisions
Government Licenses
Organization Licensed by the Government No
Fundraising Plan No
Communication Plan No
Strategic Plan No
Strategic Plan Years
Strategic Plan Adopted 0
Management Succession Plan No
Continuity of Operations Plan No
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
Policies and Procedures No
Management Comments by Organization

Organization Policies and Procedures

The Sarasota Orchestra has three documents that address policies and procedures for the institution. They include the Board of Directors Handbook for management of Board matters, the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the American Federation of Musicians for administration of orchestra operations and the Personnel Handbook for management of staff policies and procedures.
Board Chair
Board Chair David Steves
Company Affiliation Muirhead, Gaylor & Steves
Board Term Aug 2017 to July 2019
Board Chair Email
Board Members
Board Members
Gerri Aaron Retired
Jack Buhsmer Tax Attorney
Michael Esposito Syncora Holdings, Inc.
Anne Folsom Smith Anne Folsom Smith Interior Design
Rose-Anne Frano Williams Parker
David Green Independent Marketing and Branding Professional
Arnold Hoffman Retired
Tom Koski Retired
Richard Lannamann Willowmere Investments
Jill Levine Community Volunteer
Billy Robinson Retired Sarasota City Clerk
Tom Ryan Retired
Tammie Sandoval BMO/Harris Bank
Robin Serbin Serbin Printing
Susan Sofia Arts Advocate
David Steves Attorney
Lois Stulberg Retired
Charles Wood Investor
Board Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 18
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Gender
Male 10
Female 8
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 3
Board Orientation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 7
Board Meeting Attendance % 83
Board Self-Evaluation Yes
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Board Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
% of Board Making Monetary Contributions 100
% of Board Making In-Kind Contributions 11
Current Year Projections
Tax Year Start Month Aug
Tax Year Start Day 01
Tax Year Begins 2017
Tax Year End Month July
Tax Year End Day 31
Tax Year Ends 2018
Projected Revenue $9,674,275.00
Projected Expenses $9,674,275.00
Organization has Endowment Yes
Endowment Spending Policy Percentage
Endowment Spending Policy % 5
Capital Campaign
Currently In a Capital Campaign No
Campaign Purpose
Campaign Goal
Amount Raised To Date 0 as of 0
IRS Form 990s
Financial Review
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201720162015
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$630,573$566,621$761,001
Individual Contributions$2,925,727$2,726,606$2,495,951
Investment Income, Net of Losses$108,014$120,820$113,085
Membership Dues$0$0$0
Special Events$522,183$486,547$472,271
Revenue In-Kind$20,123$54,649$10,750
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201720162015
Program Expense$8,257,602$7,506,464$7,150,896
Administration Expense$797,963$842,806$937,784
Fundraising Expense$714,444$661,487$548,903
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.140.960.96
Program Expense/Total Expenses85%83%83%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue13%13%11%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201720162015
Total Assets$10,418,379$9,045,782$9,210,237
Current Assets$3,606,266$2,468,741$2,396,796
Long-Term Liabilities$143,189$178,542$212,225
Current Liabilities$2,138,650$2,071,581$1,873,090
Total Net Assets$8,136,540$6,795,659$7,124,922
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201720162015
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountSymphony Concerts $2,993,954Contributions, gifts, grants $2,726,606Contributions, gifts, grants $2,495,951
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, gifts, grants $2,925,727Symphony Concerts $2,634,226Symphony Concerts $2,423,500
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountOther Settlement $1,757,497Related Organizations $1,182,746Foundation & Corporate Support $1,212,000
CEO/Executive Director Compensation $150,001 - $175,000
Tax Credits No
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities1.691.191.28
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets1%2%2%
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Foundation Financial figures taken from IRS Form 990.  990 and audit are reconciled. State and local government grants are commingled and not separately stated in the audited financial statements.
Nonprofit Sarasota Orchestra
Address 709 N Tamiami Trl
Sarasota, FL 4047
Phone 941 953-4252