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Louisville Symphony/ Chapter 11 ?

Discussion in 'Orchestral Auditions [DB]' started by Dr Rod, Jan 22, 2006.

  1. Dr Rod

    Dr Rod

    Aug 19, 2005
    Is it true that the Louisville Symphony is going under ?
  2. Ahh, no, it's not true yet.

    but the current board president thinks somehow that's the way he can Get His Way.

    The Bd. Prez. may have some points in his logic, but mainly has little understanding of orchestras, not to say non-profits.
    He has compared our jobs to "the guy who comes to mow my lawn."

    The Louisville Orchestra has not yet filed for anything
    It's important to note that almost any orchestra in North America could, technically, file for bankruptcy at any moment (having more debts that assets [donor-restricted endowments don't count as liquid asset]). But just because thay Can, of course, doesn't mean that they Should, or that they can get away with it.

    One orchestra south of us had a similar problem - their path was corrected by someone with lots of money coming in and giving tons of $$$ and firing all the small-thinkers - the entire board - who tried to destroy it. the L. O. could benefit from just such a solution....
  3. Dr Rod

    Dr Rod

    Aug 19, 2005
    Glad to hear Karl.

    I really hope the situation eases.
  4. Jeremy Allen

    Jeremy Allen Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    Y'all ought to send a letter to Bill Cook; I think the home he spends the most time in (a beautifully restored antebellum plantation mansion) is on the Ohio River close to L'ville, on the Indiana side, and he's only worth three billion dollars. Of course, he already gives a lot of money to a lot of causes (like IU), so who knows. But as they say in the development world, you gotta "make the ask."
  5. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Really??? That's incredible... wow...
  6. bierbass


    Sep 5, 2005
    Knoxville, TN
    the guy who mows the lawn... I mean most all of us have lawn mowers or have mowed a lawn, unless of course you have only lived in an urban area like New York or were rich to begin with. So I think I'm pretty competent when it comes to mowing the lawn. Call me jaded but, sometimes I feel like patrons and board members think because they took piano lessons in the 8th grade they can relate to what we go through in conservatories or, once out of school, our daily practice etc... Am I too jaded?:meh:
  7. ILIA


    Jan 27, 2006
    You are not jaded. In fact, you are in good company. Milton Babbitt once said that music (like politics) is a subject where anyone,no matter how musically illiterate, can think they have an informed opinion about music and musicians.

    Now about the landscaping arts.....After I played the "Theme to Beverly Hills 90210" for about the 75th time in two years, I DID feel like I was mowing some rich guy's lawn. Now, am I too jaded? ;)
  8. ispider6


    Jan 30, 2005
    I'm not taking any sides here but I can tell you that Scott Provancher is not some bureaucrat who knows little about music. We were classmates at Eastman where he earned a performance degree in percussion. We lost touch after graduation so I'm not sure what he was up to afterward but the point is, he understands what it's like to go through the conservatory atmosphere and what it's like to be a working musician. I really hope that the musicians and management can come to an agreement here.
  9. bierbass


    Sep 5, 2005
    Knoxville, TN
    I wasn't necessarily talking about Scott Provancher but more the mentality that we musicians don't really work for a living. They see us only as being "in the office" 20 hours a week or so. I think some of them figure that since they or their son/daughter played music in middle school or took piano lessons that it is the same thing as what we do. They don't hear the difference or understand the amount of work or time spent just getting to the level of being able to play professionally. Then there is the issue of expensive instruments and the list goes on. And on top of that at some point we'd all like to have a life. You know, kids, hobbies, mowing the lawn. In many cases, services are spread across the week in ways that make it difficult or impossible to schedule or plan stuff. In my case, 5 years ago when I was getting ready to get married, the symphony added a couple services at the last minute (30 days as per the contract) for my wedding day. Our then general manager actually suggested making me play them since they had abided by their end of the contract. Who plans a wedding 29 days out from the event? I ended up taking half a week unpaid leave. Our most recent former executive director also had conservatory experience. He came in and got rid of most of the production staff, hired new people with no experience at half the wages. The quality of our productions has never been the same. Incidentally, he's now doing the same thing in Milwaukee. Oh, and he went to Eastman too. I couldn't afford Eastman, not that I'd want to go there. For once I'd like to see an executive director sell the board and the community on why we need music in our communities as justification for writing big checks instead of going around and kissing their butts, then turning around telling us its "great what you do."
  10. ispider6


    Jan 30, 2005
    I hear what you're saying. It's a shame that there are folks like that managing orchestras. Then again, it can be like that in any business. When you have people heading up companies who only care about the bottom line ($$), the employees always wind up feeling underappreciated and overworked. It's even worse when you're an underappreciated, overworked and underpaid musician with loans to pay off, kids to feed, rent to pay, etc. I feel ya' man. I really do.
  11. bierbass


    Sep 5, 2005
    Knoxville, TN
    Thanks man, I appreciate it. One thing I'd like to add, I don't feel sorry for myself because of the career path that I've chosen. If anything, situations like feeling under-appreciated have energized me to work harder to become a better musician. I figure that hard work will pay off eventually, perhaps later in life than would be ideal, but eventually. Its my own fault for not working harder while I was in school. I also would like to acknowledge that I know there are a lot of people in the world who want the arts to thrive. I hope we all can convince more to support us.
  12. Well, I have to say that conservatory experience does Not equal "understanding" of professional orchestras and musicians.

    About the second comment, that's IT! The management has to show the community that donating to and participating in The Arts is an INVESTMENT! You're not just "throwing money" at a salary problem, rather, investing in the culture of your city! A manager or board president who publicly says otherwise is *trying* to screw things up.

    When Mgmts. start publicity wars, they destroy the very trust that they are PAID to build up!!!
  13. bierbass


    Sep 5, 2005
    Knoxville, TN
  14. Here's the latest, in a press release below.

    Some Louisville Orchestra executives and board members (?!) are fixated upon ripping the orchestra down from 71 full players to a small "core" - a terrible "quick fix" for their alleged "structural deficit" (read as: failure of mgmt. to obtain sustainable revenue growth from arts fund and community leaders, and complete failure to market orchestra effectively to community and civic leaders).

    To take **ACTION**, visit http://savethelo.org
    OR --- contact the L.O. offices at 502.587.8681 and ask for Board President Joe Pusateri (or even Exec. Director Scott Provancher)
    Or ---You could even go online to reply to Mgmt at http://louisvilleorchestra.org/contactus.html, but a phone call would be much better.

    Monday, March 6
    "Orchestra Officials reject musicians' offer"
    With Orchestra Shutdown Looming in Four Weeks, Musicians Resubmit Cost-Savings Proposal
    With only four weeks before a board-imposed deadline for shuttering the Louisville Orchestra, the orchestra’s musicians will again present a proposal that will produce the cost-savings the board says it needs to avoid Chapter 7 bankruptcy on April 3.

    At Monday’s 1 p.m. meeting, the board’s negotiators will hear the results of a secret ballot vote by the full orchestra overwhelmingly supporting the musicians’ proposal to maintain 71 musicians in the LO. By lopping six weeks from the season, the musicians’ plan would save over $400,000, a quarter-million dollars more than the board’s proposal. The board’s latest proposal cuts the LO’s full-time musicians from 71 to 53, freezes their annual pay, and retains another 21 musicians at part-time status with an annual base salary of $19,907. All musicians would also have to assume more health care premiums.

    Monday’s meeting will determine whether the orchestra’s management wants to preserve orchestral music in Louisville past the arbitrary April 3 deadline, according to musicians’ chairman Tim Zavadil. “This will be a test,” Zavadil said. “If we can save the same money using either plan, then the board’s demand to downsize the orchestra seems to reflect a mere desire to apply some arcane management theory rather than a commitment to save the institution and its artistic integrity.”

    Under the musicians’ proposal, first proposed at a Feb. 25 mediation session, the musicians suggested that the orchestra’s interests would be better served by a shortened season that preserved the artistic cohesion developed by the full-time corps of 71 musicians. The plan would save $265,000 more than the board’s proposal. However, the board’s negotiators rejected the musicians’ proposal, and insisted on the smaller core orchestra.

    The management’s proposal would have 53 musicians filling full-time slots during a 39-week season, with 21 more musicians receiving part-time pay. “A 53-person orchestra is really not a symphonic orchestra,” Zavadil said. “You just don’t have enough bodies who are together frequently enough to perform the symphonic repertoire with the degree of precision and cohesion that the music and our audiences deserve.”

    The current dispute erupted when the orchestra’s management withdrew its contract proposal to the musicians on Jan. 17 after only three formal negotiation meetings, and declared it would seek Chapter 7 bankruptcy if the musicians did not agree to an acceptable contract. Unlike Chapter 11, which permits institutions to continue operations while they reorganize, Chapter 7 suspends the company’s activities, and sells its assets to pay its debts.

    If the board follows through with its plan to declare bankruptcy on April 3, the last classics concert of the Louisville Orchestra’s 69-year history will be a performance of Beethoven’s final symphony, the Ninth, on March 26. “For nearly 70 years the Louisville community has been able to depend on our boards to advance the Louisville Orchestra,” Zavadil said. “But we’re concerned about how the stewards on this board will respond to the test that every other board has fulfilled.”
  15. bierbass


    Sep 5, 2005
    Knoxville, TN
    Good Luck Karl,

    We'll keep you in guys in our thoughts and prayers.

    In Solidarity,

  16. ILIA


    Jan 27, 2006
    You guys are doing the right thing. Reducing the number of full-time musicians is NEVER an option.

    Because if musicians allow management to reduce the number of full-time musicians from 71 to 53. Next time, management will ask to reduce 53 to 35, then 35 to 23, then 23 to 17.....'til the only full-time people left in the organization are the conductor, executive director, and upper level support staff.

    While the fear of ending up like the Savannah Symphony or Florida Philharmonic might make a musician consider caving in to management, doing so sets a precedent that facilitates the slow death of an organization.

    But what impresses me most of all about the Louisville musicians is that they have not lost sight of the artistic integrity and professional integrity of an orchestra whose membership is all full-time.
  17. Does L.O. own any of the instruments? (New Jersey Symphony bought a collection of rare instruments - including an alleged Strad - to be played by its members) In Chapter 7 they would have to take them back and sell them.
  18. The orchestra owns the music library, stands, chairs and the celeste, timpani and other production-department kinda-stuff. Those would be "liquidated" in the bankruptcy auction.