After canceling season, South Florida Symphony will try to raise money with chamber series
The South Florida Symphony is trying — once again — to make a comeback.
The orchestra, formerly known as the Key West Symphony, made an impressive debut last season in Fort Lauderdale before collapsing under a firestorm of accusations of unpaid debts to musicians.
The orchestra has scheduled a series of chamber concerts in Fort Lauderdale this summer as fundraisers and a prelude to what it hopes will be a return to orchestral concerts next season.
Jacqueline Lorber, the orchestra’s chief executive officer, acknowledged mistakes last season. She says that the orchestra should have waited to have funds in hand before attempting to proceed with a three-county concert series involving celebrated soloists such as the violinist Lara St. John.
“We had some folks who made promises that weren’t kept, and we had to call off the season,” she said.
After the orchestra’s debut concert in Fort Lauderdale received positive reviews last October, many former members of the orchestra leveled scathing accusations of unpaid fees, unreimbursed travel expenses and promises that weren’t kept by the orchestra’s management. Many of the accusations appeared as comments on South Florida Classical Review.
“They were using dead people’s names,” Lorber said. “It really was very distorted. We’re out there trying to raise money for the season, and then there are all these lies and misinformation that caused a lot of damage.”
Pressed on which of the former musicians’ claims were not truthful, Lorber acknowledged that the orchestra owed money to its musicians. But she said it wasn’t true that they weren’t paid, but rather that they weren’t paid in full.
“Everyone knew we had a balance due to the musicians,” she said. “But what was said was that we didn’t pay the musicians [at all].”
She said the orchestra had raised money and would “very shortly” settle its debts to the musicians, though she declined to name the new benefactor or provide a timetable or any other details.
Since the cancelation of last season, Lorber said, the orchestra has acquired several new board members and raised more money. She said she is confident that the South Florida Symphony’s 2011-2012 season would take place. The orchestra will perform Dec. 1 in Key West, with venues yet to be announced in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Other concerts in Key West will be Jan. 25 and March 8, she said.
The chamber concerts consist of performances by the pianist Jeffrey Chappell May 17, the South Florida Symphony Orchestra String Quartet June 21 and the South Florida Symphony Orchestra String Sextet July 26. The concerts, which will include refreshments and fund-raising auctions, will be at Josephine S. Leiser Opera Center, 221 SW Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale.
For more information call 954-522-8445 or go to www.southfloridasymphony.org.
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Tue May 10, 2011
at 12:43 pm