In Sunday’s (9/25) Philadelphia Inquirer, Peter Dobrin writes, “Now five months old, the Philadelphia Orchestra Association’s bankruptcy case has come to a critical fork in the road. … The more hopeful possibility first. Musicians and management continue to meet for mediation with Stephen Raslavich, chief judge of U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, in an effort to strike a deal on a new labor contract (which would include an agreement for how musicians’ pensions will now be structured—whether under the existing arrangement or a new one). ‘I believe mediation is actually making some progress,’ Anne M. Aaronson, an association bankruptcy lawyer, told [bankruptcy judge Eric L.] Frank. That could mean a relatively quick exit from bankruptcy, assuming the association and the Kimmel Center agree on a new lease arrangement or relationship, or decide to handle those talks apart from the bankruptcy process. In that case, the orchestra would open its Verizon Hall season next month with the bankruptcy cloud largely lifted. A more unpleasant—and potentially disastrous—scenario promises to unfold if mediation fails to produce a truce between musicians and management. … Any interruption in the orchestra’s season, no matter how brief, would likely accelerate the migration away from subscriptions toward single tickets.”

Posted September 26, 2011