Symphony files bankruptcy


POSTED: Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Honolulu Symphony owes its largest creditors about $2.4 million and has assets of between $100,000 and $500,000, according to documents filed in Bankruptcy Court in Honolulu yesterday.

As expected, the 109-year-old orchestra formally filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection yesterday as it seeks to raise money and reorganize.

The symphony had been in financial trouble for several years, and the Honolulu Symphony Society announced last month that it was canceling its 2009 concert schedule, leaving its 64 musicians without jobs.

“;We cannot spend money we don't have,”; Executive Director Majken Mechling said in a news release announcing the cancellation and bankruptcy.





        The Honolulu Symphony lists assets of between $100,000 and $500,000 in its bankruptcy filing and debts of between $1 million and $10 million. The largest creditors are:




Honolulu Symphony Foundation$750,000.00
DEG III LLC$469,960.44
Central Pacific Bank$237,518.05
AFM&E Pension Fund$179,616.46
Outstanding payroll$103,039.97
Musicians Association$71,845.03
Matthew M. Catingub$70,275.00
Castle & Cooke Properties$62,985.41
Hawaii State Tax Collector$55,287.27




        Source: U.S. Bankruptcy Court document



In the court documents, Peter Shaindlin, chairman of the symphony's board of directors, said ticket sales account for only 30 percent of the budget and that without a major increase in donations and funding, the symphony cannot pay its musicians and other employees.

Shaindlin said the symphony hopes to reorganize its fundraising activities and finances before it reinstitutes its musical programs.

In a news release last month, the symphony society said it was also meeting with the musicians union to discuss labor cuts and options to resume the symphony, possibly with a smaller orchestra.

Symphony musicians and performers are among the 226 unsecured creditors listed in the bankruptcy petition. Honolulu Pops conductor Matt Catingub is listed as being owed more than $70,000, and outstanding payroll is listed at more than $100,000.

Health insurance companies, the Musicians Association and the musicians union pension fund are also among the symphony's largest creditors.

The largest creditor is the Honolulu Symphony Foundation, which is owed $750,000. The symphony received a $2 million advance from the foundation in September to help pay musicians for 11 weeks from last season.

Real Estate management company DEG III LLC is owed nearly $470,000, and the State Tax Collector is owed more than $55,000.

The symphony association is also asking the court for permission to pay its office staff and management.

A hearing on the motion is scheduled for Tuesday.