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Philly Orchestra files for bankruptcy

by Adam Russett on April 18, 2011

The board of the Philadelphia Orchestra has decided to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, becoming the first of the five major orchestras in the country to do so.

However, some of the musicians for the Philadelphia Orchestra believe that the bankruptcy filing, which could affect their pensions and cause some musicians to leave, was unnecessary and not filed in good faith, according to a report from the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The orchestra's board voted by a majority for bankruptcy filing. However, some members abstained and the five musicians on the board all voted against the decision against the decision.

The orchestra has $140 million in endowment, an extremely large sum for an organization seeking bankruptcy status.

NPR reports that orchestras in Honolulu and Syracuse have already closed and the Detroit Symphony is on a 6-month-long strike, due to the poor economy.

"In our view, filing for bankruptcy is unnecessary for financial reasons, and will deal immediate as well as lasting damage to the institution artistically," John Koen, a cellist for the orchestra, told NPR.

Even Charles Dutoit, the renowned conductor who is now at the head of the Philadelphia Orchestra, expressed great anxiety over the bankruptcy filing.

"I feel overwhelmed and horrified by the events of the past few days, and I cannot yet grasp what the consequences of today's vote will be. …You know how much I have always cherished my relationship with all of you. I am speechless at the moment but wanted you to know that you are in my heart, in my thoughts, and I look forward to being with you again in 10 days to face these difficult times together," wrote Dutoit to the musicians, according to the Inquirer. 

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