Symphony liquidation approved; in force right away

By Howard Dicus - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Honolulu Symphony Society has moved from bankruptcy to liquidation, and metamorphosis is effective immediately, a federal judge said Monday.

Robert Faris, the bankruptcy court judge handling the case, okayed the society's request to convert its Chapter 11 bankruptcy to an outright Chapter 7 liquidation, but made it happen immediately, not at the end of the month as the Symphony management requested.

Faris said he saw no reason to delay the move and run up additional expenses. The musicians' union agreed.

Musicians blamed management for the Symphony's failure. Management blamed economic conditions and the failure of the musicians to consider a truncated season.

The liquidation of the society does not apply to the Honolulu Symphony Foundation, a separate organization which manages a multi-million-dollar endowment that was created for the Symphony's behalf.

Symphony orchestras in some other cities have draw investment dividends from endowments to defray expenses. The Honolulu Symphony got a late start at creating one. It was not immediately clear if the foundation could place itself in support of a future orchestra.

Major symphony orchestras in other countries often depend heavily on government support, which has been uncommon in the United States, and corporate support has diminished in recent years.

The Louisville Orchestra, in Louisville, Ky., which once enjoyed a global reputation for first recordings of works by American composers, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy a few days ago. Other cities where orchestras has gone bankrupt are New Orleans, Denver, Sacramento, Savannah, San Diego, Kansas City, San Jose and Nashville.

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