The Louisville Orchestra has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as it works to bring its operating costs in line with historic levels of income, a move that will require approximately $1 million in cost reductions.
The board of directors and management of the 74-year-old orchestra are seeking court approval to operate within an industry-standard average of 55 full-time musicians, which will be supplemented by 16 part-time professional musicians to fill out its 71-musician roster.
Organizational leaders have been engaged in contract talks with the orchestra’s musicians since July, but no significant agreements for cooperative restructuring have been forged.
“It’s understandable that our musicians may not be able to agree to voluntarily restructure the orchestra,” said orchestra CEO Robert Birman, “but the steps we are taking are in line with the tough choices that orchestras throughout the U.S. are facing to preserve live orchestral music.”
“Our orchestra has repeatedly faced insolvency throughout the past 30 years due to an unsustainable cost structure. We survived through the incredible generosity of bequests, bailouts and emergency funding,” said Board President Chuck Maisch. “We simply must have the integrity and discipline to live within our means. The Louisville Orchestra is a vital thread in the fabric of this community. In many respects we are viewed as a cornerstone of the arts community, providing a foundation for music education and community engagement services that extend all the way to our partnerships with the opera and ballet. It is essential that we sustain the orchestra for future generations; the steps we are taking will help to preserve this important cultural treasure.”