HONOLULU (April 12, 2011) – The Symphony Exploratory Committee announced today that it has reached a three-year agreement with the musicians of the former Honolulu Symphony Orchestra.
At a joint press conference, the group of civic and business leaders and the musicians of the soon to be named orchestra, announced an approved contract and are developing plans for a 2011-2012 season. The Symphony Exploratory Committee recently purchased the entire lot of assets from the former Honolulu Symphony Orchestra, which was sold at auction after Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings.
The Agreement notes that the Symphony will employ 64 musicians for 30 weeks each of the first three seasons between 2011 and 2014. The salaries for the first two seasons will be set at $30,000 and at $31,250 for the 2014/2014 Season.
Up to $1,000 of each musician’s salary may be used for regional or statewide radio and television broadcasts. During the third year of this agreement, if the Board confirms a 2014-2015 season, a $1,000 retention bonus will be paid to each core orchestra musician.
The Committee, led by Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee Oswald Stender, includes Mona Abadir, chief executive officer of Honu Group; Vicky Cayetano, chief executive officer of United Laundry, Mitch D’Olier, president of Kaneohe Ranch Co.; Barron Guss, president of Altres Corporation; Paul Kosasa, president of ABC Stores; Gabe Lee, executive vice president of American Savings Bank; Mark Polivka, president of Monarch Insurance; and attorney Ken Robbins.
With the assistance of JoAnn Falletta, Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Virginia Symphony, and former President of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Steven Monder, the Committee has now completed negotiations and is moving forward with an approved budget for a new season to begin in the fall of 2011.
“Committee members recently met to confirm our joint belief that having a symphony orchestra organization in Hawaii is critical to the State’s artistic and economic vitality,” said Stender. “This agreement and the purchase of the assets of the former Honolulu Symphony – including instruments and music – are both significant landmarks in making the dream of a new orchestra a reality.
“In the coming months, we will work together with supporters of orchestral music, community leaders, musicians, civic and government leaders, the Honolulu Symphony Foundation, performing arts companies and artists, as well as residents and music lovers in general, to confirm their participation in creating this new orchestra,” offered Vicky Cayetano.”
Musicians’ spokesperson, Jonathan Parrish added, “This agreement represents what we expect will be a very productive and rewarding relationship between the musicians and the Symphony Exploratory Committee. The SEC’s recognition of the value of what a resident orchestra brings to our community made it possible to come to an agreement quickly. Throughout the negotiations, we felt we were treated with respect as professional musicians and are grateful for the Committee’s commitment to a resident professional orchestra in Hawaii.
The Symphony Exploratory Committee members have said a professional orchestra is the soul of our state. The actual concerts have always just been the tip of the iceberg. The musicians of the orchestra are an important music resource for the entire community and state. Through their regional and educational concerts, school programs, private teaching, chamber music concerts and more, the orchestra enhances the quality of life for everyone.”
In the coming months, the Committee, which recently was incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation and has subsequently filed for federal tax exempt status, will reach out to the community to quantify its needs from educational, artistic, civic, and economic perspectives to help determine the prioritization of the orchestra’s activities and programs.
With the assistance of Monder and Falletta, Committee members will continue to develop artistic and business plans for a healthy and vibrant new resident professional orchestra in Honolulu that will provide all residents, schools and families the artistic, educational, and professional resources they need to thrive and maintain Honolulu as a culturally rich city.
“This agreement is extremely good news for the people of Hawaii, who will be able to enjoy their superb symphony again in the very near future. I am deeply grateful to the members of the committee, to Steven Monder and to the musicians for their dedication and firm conviction that the symphony orchestra is a critical artistic, educational and economic resource for our state,” said Falletta. “There is a limited amount of time to plan a season, given that many artists and performance spaces are already booked, so you might see some differences in the types of packages and series than what was offered previously. We must be more agile in programming and scheduling, possibly presenting festivals and showcasing more local talent. Although a challenge, it should also be seen as an opportunity.”