Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra May Disband

Classic Arts News   Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra May Disband
The Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra may fold, due to a 60% budget cut at the Israel Broadcasting Authority, its major source of funding for many years.

Because of its own financial constraints, the IBA, which had been previously responsible for nearly 75% of the JSO's 15 million shekel budget (currently about $3.6 million), will give the orchestra 5 million shekels (currently about $1.2 million) annually — so long as the rest is covered by the Jerusalem Foundation, the Jerusalem Municipality and the Science, Culture and Sport Ministry.

With cuts in its own culture budget, the Jerusalem municipal government is unable to compensate for the drop in the IBA's grant to the orchestra.

The Jerusalem Symphony was put into receivership in 2003 and was at risk of being liqudated before its current director, Leon Botstein, took over, working pro bono to raise funds. The JSO's members also willingly accepted 20% salary reductions.

JSO director-general Yossi Talgan called the IBA's decision "criminal" in the Jerusalem Post, saying that the act was contrary to agreements between the JSO and IBA and in violation of a decision made by the Knesset Ethics Committee in March. Talgan said he may take legal action.

"The extent of the crisis is worse than anyone had imagined," the Post reports Labor member of parliament Eitan Cabel telling Israel Radio.

The Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra was founded in the 1940s and is known for its comprehensive repertoire. Its former directors include Gary Bertini, Mendi Rodan and David Shallon.

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