Salzburg Festival

  • Assistance with improving the visibility of the festival in the United States and strengthening the American Friends organization, including a multi-year branding and marketing campaign.
  • Counsel on undertaking a major global development initiative.
  • Counsel on developing a European-based development capacity.


The Salzburg Festival has played a particularly vibrant role in the musical and operatic life of Europe and has long been the world’s premier music festival. It presents an extraordinary array of opera, orchestral, choral and chamber concerts, solo recitals, and theatre by the world’s leading musicians, directors, artists and actors every July and August. The American Friends of the Salzburg Festival was founded in 1987 to enhance the experience of Americans attending the Festival and to provide a way for Americans to make tax-deductible gifts to the Festival.


Under the sponsorship of a leading American patron of the festival, AKA’s first assignment was to design and implement a highly focused, multi-year marketing plan. Working closely with the Salzburg leadership, this plan sought to meet four interrelated goals: improving the visibility of the Salzburg Festival in the United States, increasing the number of Americans attending, expanding membership in the American Friends organization, and growing the financial support of the Salzburg Festival by American Friends.

AKA's Approach

To raise the profile of the Salzburg Festival in the United States, AKA designed and oversaw the implementation of an integrated program that included development of a graphic identity for the festival in the United States; development of an American Friends website; and design of print advertisements in leading publications. The program also included sponsorship of radio broadcasts of Salzburg Festival orchestral and solo performances and a concerted media initiative. In addition, services to American Friends members were broadened and deepened through a series of educational symposia during the festival, the addition of staff based in New York and Salzburg, and the updating of the American Friends website to include streaming of selected symposia.

Our original assignment was subsequently broadened to create an American-style development capacity within the festival itself, in order to increase private funding on a global basis. In this phase, we provided counsel to the president of the Salzburg Festival on the design and structure of a new development office, recruitment of leadership and principal staff for the new office, and development and execution of the festival’s first comprehensive international development plan. The results of this initiative were highly favorable: total revenues from corporate sponsorships and individuals increased significantly, and the pool of prospective donors and supporters grew substantially.

We provided continuing counsel to both the Salzburg Festival and the American Friends on an array of strategic, development, communications and visibility matters.


There was excellent progress in each of the marketing and visibility areas, with the result that American interest in, and support of, the Salzburg Festival has grown substantially. During the five years following the assignment, total ticket sales to Americans increased by more than 50%; membership in the American Friends tripled; and total voluntary support by Americans to the festival grew five-fold.

With our assistance, the festival has realized significant, focused progress in positioning, visibility, and funding. The Salzburg Festival has achieved high name recognition in the United States and ticket sales have reached unprecedented levels. In addition, substantial new private support from both individuals and corporate sponsors is generating significant incremental resources as public funding becomes more constrained. These achievements will enable the festival to deepen its artistic leadership and undertake significant capital construction over the coming years.

Services Provided