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Philadelphia Orchestra Votes To File For Bankruptcy

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) – The world-renowned Philadelphia Orchestra will be filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Orchestra board chairman Richard Worley says the decision was made after an emotional meeting of the board Saturday. Officials say they’ll make the filing in a federal bankruptcy court in Philadelphia.

Worley says the orchestra is running low on cash and has been running a deficit. But officials say concerts and business operations will continue, and a fundraising campaign is planned to try to save the 111-year-old orchestra, traditionally considered one of the best in the nation.

“We’ve offered concessions and pay cuts,” said cellist and board member John Koen. He also says the starting salary is about $124,000. He said members agreed to take a 16 percent pay cut to help with the orchestra’s financial problems.

Oren Liebermann reports…

Musicians like Renard Edwards of West Philadelphia are hoping for the best. He says he’s been playing the viola since he was 13 years old.

“Playing in one of the world’s great orchestras is a dream come true,” said Edwards.

CEO Allison Vulgamore says the decision was agonizing.

“We feel the weight and burden of a tremendous legacy, and incredible organization. We’ve been through this before. We’ve been through two world wars and a depression. We’re going to need to pull ourselves through this bankruptcy with pride, and I beleive that we can do that,” said Vulgamore.

Musicians worry they will lose their pension in the bankruptcy process. Managers say they are ready to negotiate.

The orchestra has created a legacy of excellence through its symphonies, and its members are not ready for to play their own swan song.

The orchestra management says the bankruptcy proceedings could last until the end of the year. They say bankruptcy will not interrupt performances.

Reported by Jericka Duncan, Oren Liebermann, CBS 3; Molly Daly, KYW Newsradio

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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