Memphis Symphony Orchestra prepares to “wind down”

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Barring a massive funding infusion, Memphis Symphony Orchestra board members have approved a resolution to “wind-down” the organization’s operations at the end of the season.

The Commercial Appeal (http://bit.ly/1eD7DRb) reports orchestra officials say they would need $20 million to $25 million to carry on without major changes.

In order to finish out the current season which ends in May, the Memphis Symphony Orchestra has cut jobs and pay and pared down productions. The schedule has included 23 subscription concerts and 146 community engagement and educational performances.

Board chairwoman Gayle Rose said during a meeting Thursday that officials aren’t sure what winding down will mean.

“We don’t know that yet,” Rose said. “We’re not just going to throw up our hands and say this is over.”

She says a best-case scenario would include fewer performances and less community outreach. Rose says the symphony will be broke in April if nothing is done.

“The structure of the symphony as we know it today must be changed because the model is no longer viable,” Rose said.

Chris James, who plays second flute and piccolo and is chairman of the orchestra musicians committee, described it in similar terms.

“The rhetoric that we’ve been using a lot is the Memphis Symphony as it exists is a dead tree. Rather than chop off limbs and resuscitate it somehow, we’re trying to plant a new tree,” James said.

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Information from: The Commercial Appeal, http://www.commercialappeal.com

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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