A U.S. bankruptcy judge has approved a reorganization plan for the Philadelphia Orchestra that he said he hopes will guarantee its future for years.
The orchestra, which filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in April 2011, should be out of bankruptcy by the end of July, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. There were no objections to the plan at a hearing Thursday, and Lawrence McMichael, the orchestra's lawyer, led what he described as a "traditional orchestra thank you" for Judge Eric Frank -- clapping.
Frank said he hoped the orchestra will continue to perform "for many years to come."
"The orchestra is an important cultural and civic institution, and any Chapter 11 case comes with the risk of failure," Frank said during the hearing. "Had that occurred, it would have been a great loss for Philadelphia, the region, and the music world."
The bankruptcy filing allowed the orchestra to get pay concessions from its musicians, to hand off its pension obligations to a federal agency and to lower the rent it pays at its current venue, the Kimmel Center.
The orchestra has long been one of the great classical music organizations in the United States and was featured in the Walt Disney classic "Fantasia." In recent years it has been hurt by declining ticket sales and recording income and increasing expenses.
Chairman Richard B. Worley said after the hearing there is "more work ahead of us than behind us." The orchestra is trying to raise a $60 million to cover budget shortfalls and then more money for an income-producing endowment.
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