Donation will help support musician’s salaries for three years
PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) has received a $1.2 million dollar gift from Pittsburghers Michele and Pat Atkins.
The restricted gift, which will be distributed over three years, will be used to support the recently announced salary increases of PSO musicians.
“We believe strongly that the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra plays a pivotal role in the city of Pittsburgh and in this region,” said Michele and Pat Atkins. “When we heard that the musicians chose to take a pay reduction to ensure that the orchestra would remain a strong and vital institution in this region, we knew we wanted to recognize their sacrifice. We wanted to make a stretch gift to signal that these musicians are worthy of support and recognition. They do so much to make our community thrive. We understand that this is the first such gift to the PSO to fund a portion of musician salaries as compensation for decreases they have taken over the years. It is our hope that others in this region will recognize and reward the orchestra’s greatness and the generosity and dedication of the musicians who give of their talent and also of their personal resources for the benefit of us all.”
PSO Bass player Micah Howard, chairman of the musicians’ Orchestra Committee, said, “Words cannot express how grateful we, the musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony, are to Michele and Pat Atkins. Their very generous gift will help to ensure the future of this great institution both artistically and financially. We are truly blessed to live in a city with people such as Pat and Michele who so deeply believe in the value of maintaining a world-class orchestra.”
Reflecting upon this unique donation, Music Director Manfred Honeck remarked, “This great act of generosity shows the depth of commitment the Atkins feel toward the Pittsburgh Symphony’s wonderful musicians. As I look ahead to next season, I do so with a feeling of profound gratitude.”
James A. Wilkinson, President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Symphony observed, “The Atkins gift is as remarkable as it is generous. Through it, Michele and Pat have spoken with their hearts and with deep understanding of the challenges facing our organization. This gift is one very important step as we strive to reach a repeatable balanced budget by 2015, and we are sincerely appreciative.”
The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has been a vital part of the City of Pittsburgh’s heritage for more than 116 years. With its noble history of the finest conductors and musicians and its strong commitment to artistic quality and excellence, audiences around the world have claimed the PSO as their orchestra of choice. In September 2008, the PSO welcomed its ninth Music Director Manfred Honeck. Beginning in the early 1900s with frequent performances in Canada, the PSO confirmed its ranking as a world-class orchestra, earning critical acclaim for each tour abroad. Its 36 international tours include 20 European tours, eight trips to the Far East and two to South America. In January 2004, the PSO became the first American orchestra to perform at the Vatican for Pope John Paul II, as part of the Pontiff’s Silver Jubilee celebration.