Updated: Louisville Orchestra Files For Chapter 11

by Gabe Bullard on December 3, 2010

The Louisville Orchestra has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

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The body is about 500 thousand dollars in debt and will not be able to meet its payroll for musicians beyond December 15th. Further, orchestra CEO Rob Birman says the ensemble must emerge from bankruptcy with a 5.75 million dollar annual budget. Its current budget is 6.9 million dollars.

The reorganization plan is due April 4th. Birman says he and other administrators will work with the court and musicians union to find a sustainable plan. He says that may include reducing the number of contracted musicians from 71 members to 55.

“You have a core of musicians that are supplemented by extra players as needed,” he says. “That’s a very common model. What we’re seeking is nothing different than trying to be within the average of those orchestras in our budget class from across the country.”

Birman says the staff reduction has already been discussed. A representative for the musicians was unavailable for comment.

Birman says the orchestra’s performances of The Nutcracker will continue at least through the 15th, though they are scheduled through the 19th. He says an agreement must be reached with the musicians if the orchestra season is to continue next year.

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{ 2 comments }

Kelly December 3, 2010 at 3:12 pm

As a professor in higher education in the arts, I cannot believe that Mr Birman has allowed (or perhaps designed) this monumental failure. The very fact that he is prepared to follow a “common” model of reducing size, means he does not see nor value the spectacular worth of the LSO as a full symphony. It is anything but common. He has clearly neglected basic good business management protocol. He does not deserve the chance to reach an agreement with any body of musicians – these musicians or other musicians in the future. Shame on him for for the music , enjoyment, societal benefits, and sheer joy from hearing symphonic music performed live, that he has taken away from every singe individual in Louisville, now and for years to come.

Thomas Parkes December 6, 2010 at 6:51 am

Sounds like Bad Business Practice 101. Louisville will lose its orchestra – the 70 musicians that are the heart and the soul of the orchestra will leave town. They will not wait another 6 months for a resolution; they are not being paid. All this a grim penality to pay for what was a resolvable situation – yes, renegotiate the contracts; yes, reduce the costs; yes, work out the 20 ways to raise more revenue; but no, don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. As the musicians have said ‘we are the product’. The product is now lost. Bad business.

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