nashville musicians respond to hall debacle

Some disturbing news out of Nashville concerning their default on the bonds used to finance the construction of their widely praised home, the Schermerhorn Symphony Center:

The press release from the musicians of the Nashville Symphony:

Press Release
Nashville, June 7, 2013

Recent reports about the Nashville Symphony Orchestra paint a confusing
picture of the organization’s finances. Contrary to implications that NSO
spends money recklessly, the architects of the original plan and those who
contributed hard work and considerable financial resources followed it to
fruition and created a masterpiece for culture in Nashville. A lot of
unfortunate events have happened in the meantime.

As readers, interested symphony patrons and musicians weave through numbers
(some inaccurate) with lots of zeros and terms like deficit, default and
bankruptcy, the common thread that most of us understand is banks, ruthless
bankers and foreclosure. Today it was announced that Bank of America has
scheduled a public auction for the Schermerhorn Symphony Center for June 28,
2013. Such hardball is absurd! Countless musicians and entertainers
throughout the country conduct business with Bank of America. Ironically
Bank of America is scheduled to sponsor the Pops concert series for the
2013-14 season; that’s next season. Another point of interest from published
information is the hundreds of thousands of dollars being pulled out in
fistfuls to compensate administrators, attorneys, accountants and turn
around experts appointed, employed or otherwise engaged to “save” the

Why does it take such a show and such expense of valuable funds, when what
is needed to solve this problem are a few caring and compassionate business
people and a banker or two who understand and appreciate the value and the
economic impact of the NSO, the Schermerhorn and culture to Nashville?
Please, sit down and solve the problem legitimately and fairly.

Nashville is not just known for Country Music. Before it was home to the
Grand Ole Opry, the Ryman Auditorium featured such great musicians as Enrico
Caruso and the Vienna Orchestra. It earned the name “Carnegie Hall of the
South” because it presented great classical artists. Music of all genres is
in demand in Nashville. The Schermerhorn Symphony Center is a jewel in the
crown of Music City and sits mere yards across from the brand new $585
million dollar Music City Convention Center.

The Schermerhorn and the NSO musicians have taken a prominent role in
Nashville and on the national stage. With 14 Grammy nominations and seven
Grammy Awards, the NSO has risen to rank as a major symphony orchestra. To
inflict harm upon an organization that has brought the city of Nashville
greater prominence should be viewed as inflicting harm on the entire local
music industry.

The musicians’ contract expires on July 31, 2013. The musicians understand
the seriousness of the current financial problems and have conveyed this
understanding to the NSO leadership. We realize the importance of this
negotiation to the resolution of the organization’s financial plight and the
future of the Nashville Symphony. This financial problem was not caused by
the musicians nor is it because the musicians make too much money. We expect
the NSO to come to the table with a full disclosure of the problem, and a
plan to resolve the problem which includes a goal of restoration. We will
not concede to a tug of war between attorneys, bankers and bean counters.

Contact: Kathy Osborne
Nashville Musicians Association
Phone 615 244-9514
Fax 615 259 9140
11 Music Circle North
Nashville, TN 37203

3 Replies to “nashville musicians respond to hall debacle”

  1. Brutal… Their fiscal year loss is in the ball park of the OSO’s budget.

    “The Nashville Symphony Orchestra suffered an $11.7 million loss in the fiscal year ending July 31, 2012, as its revenue plunged by more than 50 percent to $21.5 million.” (The Tennessean – 6/6/2013)

    BTW – been meaning to respond to earlier posts – but may not have time to refine & capture my thoughts until a few life events have passed. I’m planning to spin up a blog to fill The Classical Beaver void this fall…

    1. hey dan,

      it will be great to read your blog. your unique perspective from being on both well-healed & shoe-strung boards bodes well for interesting insider reading.

      while i like “the beav’s” enthusiasm & poiple pwose, i often found his unrelentingly rose-colored OSO support to veer dangerously close to cheerleading.

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