Philadelphia Orchestra and the Philly Pops Merge Operations
The administrative and operational staffs of the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Philly Pops have merged, a move intended to streamline office operations, bolster shared resources, and take pressure off music director Christoph Eschenbach at the Philadelphia Orchestra to perform “pop” concerts, says Elizabeth Warshawer, vice president and chief operating officer of the Philadelphia Orchestra. “The number-one thing is this notion of being able to operate both entities more efficiently.”
Under the terms of the merger, both organizations continue to operate as separate legal entities, retaining separate boards and orchestras, under the umbrella of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Both orchestras will continue to perform at the Kimmel Center.
Freelance musicians contracted to play for the Pops remain unaffected by the merger as well, with no work lost and no changes in compensation.
Driving the decision is an “opportunity to expand and grow another product line,” according to Warshawer, referring to the Philly Pops, whose 20 annual subscription concerts typically sell out.
Potential for growing and diversifying each orchestra’s respective audience is also a major goal; the administrators hope that Pops audiences cross over to the Philadelphia Orchestra, and vice-versa.
“This allows us to promote the Pops as a separate brand,” says Warshawer, adding that additional holiday Pops concerts are planned.
The merger also means that the Philly Pops can now take advantage of the Philadelphia Orchestra’s extensive development department, fund-raising and sponsorship drives, and various other resources that the orchestra’s $40 million budget affords.
The Pops, under founding music director Peter Nero, operates on a $4 million budget. The merger also moves the administrative staff of the Pops into the building used by the Philadelphia Orchestra and combines computer and various other internal systems to maximize efficiency.
“The nice thing about this,” adds Warshawer, “is that this consolidation brings together two healthy and strong companies.”