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Symphony calls it quits after 110 years

By Michael Tsai

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 01:34 p.m. HST, Dec 11, 2010



After 110 years of operation, the bankrupt Honolulu Symphony will permanently exit the Honolulu stage with its leadership deciding to liquidate the organization.

The decision comes roughly a year after the Honolulu Symphony Society filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in hopes of salvaging what had become a teetering organization mired in revolving debt.


According to a release issued late last evening, the society’s board of directors unanimously voted to convert to Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

The society was scheduled to appear in U.S. Bankruptcy Court on Monday to request a third extension for filing a reorganization plan.

Symphony leaders previously said that the symphony would continue only if it could find a financially sustainable model for operating. In the release, the society noted the inability of symphony leadership and the union representing symphony musicians to come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement that would help the society cut costs by more than half in the first years of reorganization.

Negotiations between the two parties broke down in July, leading to the announcement by the symphony society that it was accepting the resignations of the musicians based on its belief that the musicians were forming their own independent orchestra. The musicians, who have not formed such a orchestra, maintained that they never resigned and filed an unfair labor practices complaint against the society.
 
They later dropped the complaint after the society claimed it could not proceed with filing a reorganization plan with a complain still pending.

Rumors of the society’s intention to liquidate the organization intensified this week after symphony leaders called a last-minute meeting of the full board to discuss issues related to the bankruptcy. However, the two musicians representatives to the board — both full voting members — were excluded from the meeting, as they had been for the last several board meetings.






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