Hearings open in Philadelphia Orchestra bankruptcy case

Posted on: April 21, 2011

In Thursday’s (4/21) Philadelphia Inquirer, Peter Dobrin writes, “Arguing that there are aspects of the musicians’ contract ‘we can no longer afford,’ lawyer Lawrence G. McMichael on Wednesday ushered the Philadelphia Orchestra Association’s Chapter 11 petition into U.S. Bankruptcy Court. In opening statements, McMichael invoked the orchestra’s history and stature, saying the ensemble’s economic ripples were in the ‘hundreds of millions’ of dollars, and calling it ‘one of the three or four premiere orchestras in the world.’ However, the orchestra’s labor and pension costs; its relationship with the owner of its hall, Kimmel Center Inc.; and its obligations to Peter Nero and the Philly Pops were burdens, he said. … Lawyers for management and musicians had agreed a few minutes before the start of Wednesday’s hearing that the afternoon’s proceedings would not include a motion by management to impose a new contract on musicians. Negotiations for a new deal with the players continue, as do all concerts. Much of the hearing was devoted to procedural matters, but both sides quickly outlined one of the central issues in the case: Whether the orchestra, which is seeking to wipe the slate clean on tens of millions of dollars that it may be obligated to pay for the musicians’ pension plans, could be compelled to use some of its $140 million in endowment to satisfy that obligation.”

Posted April 21, 2011