May 25, 2007

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Louisville Orchestra Comes Through Financial Troubles

By Vivien Schweitzer
23 May 2007

This is a good week for the Louisville Orchestra. On Monday (May 21) board president Joe Pusateri announced that the orchestra has paid off the last of $1.3 million in short-term bank debt, reports the Louisville Courier-journal.

The paper shows a photograph of Pusateri setting fire to copies of the loan papers and dropping them into a large metal bowl — to the cheers of his board colleagues.

Pusateri told the Courier-Journal that the Louisville ensemble, which had owed the $1.3 million to various banks, expects to end its current fiscal year on May 31 with a surplus of $400,000 or $500,000.

The Louisville Orchestra has had a rocky time over the past few years, suffering from from the lack of a music director, management-musician conflict, numerous senior staff departures and severe financial difficulties that nearly led to the orchestra's liquidation in spring 2006. Jorge Mester, who was the ensemble's music director from 1967 to 1979 (a period considered by many to be the orchestra's glory years), was reappointed to the same position in August 2006.

The beneficiaries of the surplus will be the orchestra's 67 full-time players, who had to accept pay cuts in order to stave off bankruptcy last year. Each musician will receive an extra bonus week of base salary, at a total cost of around $70,000.



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