According to a report from Adam Parker in the 3/29/2010 edition of The Charleston Post and Courier, the Charleston Symphony Orchestra (CSO) has suspended operations for the remainder of the 2009/10 season. The news was announced to musicians following the organization’s Sunday concert and to the public via a press release issued the same day. The Post and Courier article reports CSO board president Ted Legasey as saying the suspension is an effort to avoid bankruptcy…
Currently, the organization is without a full time executive director and the development director position is unfilled. Although it isn’t unheard of for an organization to suspend operations to stave off bankruptcy, it is unusual to simultaneously predict that it will likely return subscription payments for the following season. Yet that is exactly what the Post and Courier reported.
The board on Thursday voted to place in escrow all money collected from season ticket buyers “because the likelihood is we will have to give it back,” [Legasey] said.
What isn’t addressed in the article or the press release is the status of the organization’s collective bargaining agreement and whether or not the musicians might challenge the suspension as a contract infraction.
On a related note, the Americans for the Arts recently announced that nine term Charleston Mayor and recipient of the National Medal of Arts by the White House Joseph P. Riley, Jr. will be delivering the 23rd Annual Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy on April 12, 2010. It will be interesting to see what details about the CSO emerge, how he might influence impending events, and if he will address the CSO during his lecture.