Future of the Honolulu Symphony in limbo - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Future of the Honolulu Symphony in limbo

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Brien Matson Brien Matson
Lori Arizumi Lori Arizumi

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Sunday night the Honolulu Symphony musicians union rejected what the Symphony Society called its "best and final offer." Monday the union says the society's board of directors mischaracterized the negotiations.

The society had offered a reorganization that included a $1.7 million budget, far below the $8 million budget before the group filed for bankruptcy in November. It also would cut medical benefits and instrument insurance costs.

The union voted against it, but it denies the society's claims that musicians walked out. The musicians union says talks are not over, even though there's the possibility that the society could end the symphony and go into liquidation.

"That is the nuclear option. And it is an option. We would hope that would not happen, and we don't really have control over whether or not the Honolulu Symphony Society does liquidate" said Brien Matson of the Musicians Association of Hawaii.

"People always used to say, 'I just can't imagine not having the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra.' Well, it's here. We don't have a symphony orchestra right now, and unless we do something and really bring some power to the force, we aren't going to have that after all" said symphony volunteer Lori Arizumi.

In a statement, chair Kimberly Frank said the society is committed to fulfill its mission to present live symphonic music to the people of Hawaii.

"The value of this Chapter 11 reorganization process has been the opportunity, if not the requirement, that we look at new ways of fulfilling our mission in a financially sustainable model. Many other communities in the U.S. have had to go through this exercise, and there are numerous case studies about how to do this successfully. We know the options and will be announcing an alternative plan soon" said Frank.

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