Philadelphia Orchestra musician: bankruptcy damages reputation

Posted on: May 20, 2011

In an opinion piece in Wednesday’s (5/18) Philadelphia Inquirer, John Koen, cellist and chairman of the Philadelphia Orchestra Members’ Committee, writes, “For more than a century, the Philadelphia Orchestra has been recognized as one of the world’s premier cultural organizations. We’ve toured the globe, bringing the renowned ‘Philadelphia sound’ to five continents and dozens of countries. The musicians believe it’s our responsibility not just to perform world-class music, but to uphold the legacy and reputation the orchestra has built since it was founded in 1900. That’s why the orchestra board and management’s decision to push us into bankruptcy is as frustrating as it was unnecessary. The orchestra is not insolvent—its assets well exceed its liabilities, as even the board has admitted in court filings—and the filing damages the very institution they have promised to protect. … We believe the management chose bankruptcy to escape provisions of our contract that it doesn’t like, and that it did so heedless of the cost to the orchestra’s reputation. … The orchestra’s bankruptcy filing was greeted with shock around the globe. According to The Inquirer, reports of it were published as far away as Vietnam, Slovakia, and Italy. Bankruptcy threatens not only our future, but the city’s reputation as a place where world-class arts and culture thrive.”

Posted May 20, 2011