The orchestra's financial woes stem in part from a dispute with former artistic director Joseph Rescigno, who was replaced six years ago by current artistic director and principal conductor Yannick Nezet-Seguin. Rescigno sued for salary losses, relocation expenses, and defamation of character. The Quebec Superior Court ruled in his favor in 2003; the judgement was upheld in January by the Quebec Court of Appeal.
The orchestra now owes Rescigno more than $250,000; demands for payment were stepped up last week.
General manager Andre Dupras told the Gazette that despite its problems, the orchestra is not bankrupt. "There is a distinction. You file for bankruptcy protection to prevent going bankrupt...We were backed into a corner. And so we applied for protection which gives us 30 days to negotiate with [Rescigno]."
He added that this time of year is often difficult for performing arts groups because government grants, private donations, and box office revenues are often used up. The orchestra's musicians were not paid last week.
The Orchestre M_tropolitain was founded in 1981 by graduates of Quebec music conservatories.