Concert Association’s demise appears imminent with the rest of the season an open question
The cash-strapped Concert Association of Florida, leading presenter of classical music and dance for more than four decades in South Florida, is poised to file for bankruptcy as early as this week.
“It breaks my heart,” said Judy Drucker, founder and longtime guiding light of the two-county presenting organization. “I’m sure they tried their best to work things out, but it’s a sad day for music in Florida.”
While Concert Association officials declined to discuss its financial status midweek, sources indicate that the organization is attempting to broker a deal with the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami and the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale to assume control of CAF’s remaining season events at their venues. At the Arsht Center this would include violinist Mark O’Connor on Feb 22 and Lorin Maazel and the New York Philharmonic Feb. 26. Last month, the Concert Association announced that they would drop their Broward County series next season.
“We’re working with other parties to try and make sure the shows go on,” said attorney Robert Hudson, chairman of the Concert Association board. “I’m still in the midst of negotiations with certain parties on things we’re trying to make happen in a positive, affirmative way.”
Rumors have been flying for weeks that the organization’s bankruptcy filing had happened or was imminent. Hudson said Tuesday no filing had taken place and likely would not occur until an agreement could be made to salvage the rest of the season under different auspices. “If we file for bankruptcy, then I have no authority to work out arrangements and continue to put the shows on,” he said. “It will be in the hands of a trustee.”
Though timing details remain unclear, what seems inescapable is the Concert Association’s impending bankruptcy, which marks the end of the organization that brought major international orchestras and classical and dance artists to local music lovers for four decades. WIth a substantial backing gift by millionaire attorney P. Daniel Orlich last fall, it seemed the Concert Association might have a chance of survival. But sources stated that CEO Al Milano fell far short of raising the matching funds Orlich requested.
Over Drucker’s four-decade tenure, first-class artists like Luciano Pavarotti, Leonard Bernstein, Isaac Stern and Vladimir Horowitz came to Miami to perform, as well as virtually all the leading American and international orchestras.
When Drucker agreed to retire in the summer of 2007, incoming CEO Al Milano promised that he would run a tighter financial ship and greatly increase fund-raising and donations. Less than two years later, the Concert Association’s demise seems a certainty.
While Palm Beach County audiences still have their choice of events at the Kravis Center, music fans in Miami-Dade and Broward counties now have no regular entity presenting international classical artists, apart from Florida Grand Opera’s new Superstar Concert Series—helmed by Drucker, who is currently FGO’s artistic advisor.
Historically, the Broward Center has shown little interest in presenting classical events of its own accord and while the Arsht Center appears more open to doing so, it’s likely too late for them to field enough quality artists to mount a respectable series in 2009-2010.
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Wed Feb 11, 2009
at 4:23 pm