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April 30, 2014

Zachary Woolfe New York Times Dear Mr. Woolfe: To quote the ever-witty Samuel Clemens, I am writing to let you know that the death of classical music in Syracuse has been greatly exaggerated by you, in your article of 4/30. Your first sentence indicates that you drove right by Syracuse in your travels from Albany to Buffalo, and in so doing you missed the chance to see for yourself the excitement that Syracuses new, innovative, and successful professional orchestra is generating. In the wake of the unfortunate demise of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra in April, 2011, a new and nimble organization emerged in December 2012. We chose the name Symphoria in part to reflect our commitment to presenting inspiring orchestral music throughout Central New York, and to do so within the framework of a flexible and responsive business model that will help ensure our sustainability. Symphoria emerged from the ashes of the old institution much as new growth emerges in the wake of a forest fire green and vibrant and bursting with life. And we are growing audiences, engaging community members, and building our base of support as part of a widespread revitalization of this beautiful and historic community. We are one of only two musician-driven cooperative orchestras currently operating in the U.S. Our core of 50 professional musicians have chosen to take the risk of the new symphony on themselves if we succeed, they succeed. If we fail to meet our revenue goals, theirs is the first line item to be adjusted. That said, we deliberately opted to avoid the per service model embraced by our colleagues in Albany, choosing instead a structure that asks our musicians to be prepared to have skin in the game, and cultivates commitment to the institution and to our community. Weve hired talented professionals, and we offer healthcare coverage as part of the (albeit modest) compensation package. Were about to complete our first full season, and the audience response has been warm and enthusiastic. Ticket sales have grown steadily, and our subscribers are anxious to renew and save their seats for next season. Were working collaboratively with colleagues throughout the region, presenting concerts in venues large and small, from bars to barns, and museums to schools, as well as our home concert hall in Crouse Hinds Theater in downtown Syracuse.

P.O. Box 1161 Syracuse, NY 13201 315/299-5598

Weve welcomed community members of all ages, including offering free tickets to any concert for kids 18 and younger, and a $5 ticket to any Symphoria concert to those with a valid college ID. Many of our performances include a multimedia component; several include food and wine; some are presented in the evening and some on Sunday afternoons; and all have been warmly received. Were new, and theres plenty of room for growth in audience numbers and diversity, resource development, organizational capacity building, and enhanced recognition as your drive-by suggests. But as the newest orchestra in the region, we have every opportunity to help shape the future of this industry, and we intend to leverage that leadership position. Just watch us soar. Best wishes,

Catherine Underhill Managing Director, and the Musicians of Symphoria

P.O. Box 1161 Syracuse, NY 13201 315/299-5598