Orchestra Musicians Form New Organization, Will Host Free Concerts

by Gabe Bullard on January 18, 2011

The musicians of the Louisville Orchestra have started a new organization to raise money and sponsor free concerts.

Keep Louisville Symphonic is not affiliated with the orchestra, though it is made up of all the musicians and outside supporters. The orchestra filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year, but the musicians are still being paid and shows will continue. In addition, Keep Louisville Symphonic will host a series of concerts starting this month.

The concerts will be free, but donations will be accepted. Musicians Association chair Kim Tichenor says the idea for Keep Louisville Symphonic grew out of negotiations between the musicians and orchestra management. She says the musicians wanted to raise money to close a budget gap, but the management insisted on pay cuts and a smaller orchestra.

“So, what we have, again, done is taken all that collective energy and put it toward fundraising anyway,” she says, adding that the concert series will help prove the musicians’ point in negotiations. “You really do have to get creative in order to solve the problems. New creative programming can absolutely be an answer. New marketing, new fundraising, all of those things can be vital when you’re talking about problem-solving.”

Tichenor says none of the money will go to the orchestra, but rather to the players as they plan free monthly concerts under the Keep Louisville Symphonic moniker. In several other cities, musicians have started new orchestras to shed management during bankruptcy proceedings. Tichenor says that’s not necessarily the goal of Keep Louisville Symphonic.

“It’s just simply an organization that is absolutely dedicated to preserving symphonic music in Louisville, Kentucky,” she says.

The first Keep Louisville Symphonic performance will be on the 29th at Ballard High School.

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