Assessing the Philadelphia Orchestra bankruptcy, a year on

Posted on: April 17, 2012

In Monday’s (4/16) Philadelphia Inquirer, Peter Dobrin writes, “When the Philadelphia Orchestra filed for Chapter 11 last spring, its leaders said the reorganization would cost $2.9 million in legal and administrative fees, and they predicted the orchestra would be out of bankruptcy in the latter part of 2011. The legal tab now looks likely to be triple that initial estimate, and the case is entering its second year. On April 16, 2011, the ensemble’s 75-member board voted—with a few abstentions, and all five musicians on the board voting ‘no’—to become the first major U.S. orchestra to file for bankruptcy. … A business plan calls for raising more than $160 million over five years to underwrite deficits, support new initiatives, and boost endowment. … Bankruptcy has achieved a new contract with musicians and, in a deal expected soon, lower rent at the Kimmel Center. But one major negotiation has proved more nettlesome. The pension plan from which the association withdrew Nov. 1, the American Federation of Musicians and Employers’ Pension Fund (AFM-EPF), says it is entitled to millions of dollars as a result of the withdrawal. … A trial set for April 30 will address the fund’s latest claim: that $3.1 million be set aside for it from the bankruptcy estate.”

Posted April 17, 2012