July 28 (Bloomberg) -- Cadillac is back at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts after a brief detour to the financial repair shop.
New York-area Tri-State Cadillac Dealers ended its six-figure sponsorship of Jazz at Lincoln Center last year after Cadillac parent General Motors Co. went through a $50 billion U.S.-backed bankruptcy and pared corporate sponsorships. General Motors of Canada also dropped its sponsorship of the Montreal International Jazz Festival in 2009.
Then in March, Bret Silver, the center’s chief external-relations officer overseeing fundraising, teamed with Polly Rua, director of corporate relations, and got the group of Cadillac dealers to back a smaller sponsorship package for the Mostly Mozart festival. Also in the agreement was a mini-sponsorship of the jazz center in May in exchange for displaying a Cadillac near Frederick P. Rose Hall.
“The dealerships wanted to put a toe back in the water to have a relationship with the larger Lincoln Center family,” Rua said.
The dealerships also were keen to lure younger buyers attending the festival by displaying the sexy $38,000 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe. A recent survey by J.D. Power & Associates, an auto-market researcher, found that the average Cadillac buyer is 62 and has a median household income of $129,656.
“Cadillac had this perception of being more for the successful older gentleman, but not today,” said Sammy Bical, president of Tri-State Cadillac Dealers and of Kristal Auto Mall in Brooklyn. “Our vehicles are focused on the younger buyer and the needs of younger people.”
Decline in Funding
The sponsorship gave a little boost to the world’s largest performing-arts center dedicated to jazz at a time when arts nonprofits have seen a decline in funding. Last year, giving to the arts, which represents 4 percent of charitable donations, dropped 2.4 percent.
Cadillac’s support of the summer classical music festival helped offset operating costs for the three-week Mozart program. It opened last night with French conductor and music director Louis Langree leading the festival orchestra in works including Chopin’s Concerto No. 2 with Emanuel Ax on piano and Mozart’s Overture to La clemenza di Tito and Symphony No. 35.
Tonight, Ax will replace Mihaela Ursuleasa, who suffered a back injury, and perform an all-Chopin lineup for a new hour-long recital program at the festival called “A Little Night Music” at 10:30 p.m. in the Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse.
The Estonian-born conductor Paavo Jarvi leads Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie from Bremen, Germany, through Mozart’s Piano Concert No. 17 in G major and two Schumann pieces on Aug. 2. The Mark Morris Dance Group interprets Handel’s oratorio, L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato Aug. 5-7. The Grammy Award-winning Emerson String Quartet will play an all-Mozart chamber-music program on Aug. 16.
Silver said he hopes Cadillac will return as a major sponsor to the jazz center in the near future.
“In a down economy, fundraisers have to cast a wide net to bring in the same number of fish because the competition is strong,” Silver said.
The 44th Mostly Mozart Festival continues tonight at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Information: +1-212-721-6500 or http://new.lincolncenter.org/live/index.php/mostly-mozart-2010
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