The Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra (NSO) has a long history in the province, dating back to its establishment in 1962. Today, the NSO is still going strong, partly thanks to longtime private-sector support from companies like Pluto Investments.
Pluto Investments (a private equity company) is proud to be a longtime sponsor of the NSO, as well as a supporter of individual musicians and performing/visual artists, says Paul Antle, Pluto’s president and owner. Citing Albert Einstein’s quote, “Imagination is more important than knowledge,” Antle says one goal of Pluto Investments’ arts sponsorships is ensuring that the province’s artistic traditions are preserved and passed along.
“Pluto’s objective is to help ensure we maintain a diverse and professional community that can pass along their expertise to the next generation,” he says.
Antle first joined NSO’s board of directors in 1997 and has twice acted as chair. In addition to being the only orchestra in Newfoundland and Labrador, the NSO is the largest arts organization, and the largest employer of musicians, in the province. With that comes particular financial and administrative challenges.
“I am very proud of the strides we made in sustaining that organization,” Antle says. “There were some dark years, times when the NSO came very close to not existing.”
The NSO relies on the help of volunteers, who make up a quarter of its workforce. Antle credits the hard work of the volunteers on the orchestra’s board with helping them pull through the difficult periods.
“Through the collective efforts of those many passionate people, we were successful in creating what I believe is a sustainable arts organization,” he says. “It’s one that will benefit both the artistic community and society in general for many decades to come.”
Whichever artistic outlets you prefer, whether it’s the NSO or another of the province’s many organizations, they all play an important role in providing distraction and emotional release, Antle says, and vital to a healthy society.
Antle admits that his personal history is part of the reason behind his passion for arts support.
“It also helps that I was classically trained in music during my childhood and that I married a musician.”
Whatever the personal motivations for contributing, working to preserve organizations like the NSO is important not just for the organizations themselves, but for the province’s overall health.
“The cultural fabric of Newfoundland and Labrador is held together by our artisans,” Antle says.
“A vibrant economy needs the arts as an outlet for entertainment and enjoyment. We need to be able to laugh, listen, watch, learn, experience and be wowed. The arts make that happen.”