Sacramento Symphony Resumes Operations, Announces 2005-06 Schedule

Classic Arts News   Sacramento Symphony Resumes Operations, Announces 2005-06 Schedule
The Sacramento Symphony, which suspended operations last year because of financial and administrative troubles, has hired a new executive director and announced its 2005-06 season, the Sacramento Bee reports.

The season will open on September 23 with Beethoven's Concerto for Violin, Cello, Piano, and Orchestra, featuring the Zagreb Piano Trio. Music director Zvonimir Hacko will conduct.

The orchestra's new executive director, Janet Kerr, takes up the post vacated by Rachel Lewis, who resigned last fall citing the organization's financial mismanagement and business ethics after 73 checks written to musicians bounced.

Lewis's lawsuit against the Metropolitan Music Center, the orchestra's parent organization, is pending.

"The symphony is a challenge," Kerr said. "I came in leery. There is no only hope now, but expectations. . . I intend to run this shop like a business. I do not consider myself in any way, shape, or form to be an expert in the arts. What I bring to the table is solid business sense."

The orchestra has a somewhat beleaguered past. Hacko revived the Sacramento Symphony, which had gone bankrupt in 1996, but the orchestra presented only one concert before it suspended operations. After the checks bounced, it was impossible to hire musicians for a second concert.

In addition, the Metropolitan Music Center had claimed relationships with financial backers and artists that were later shown to be false.

For the orchestra's revival, Kerr is working on a collective bargaining agreement with the musicians. "You simply don't put on a concert unless you have a contract with a union," she said.

She is also considering changing the orchestra's name. There is some confusion about its relationship to the Sacramento Philharmonic (which Hacko founded in 1997, and which has been recognized as the successor to the original Sacramento Symphony).

"'Sacramento Symphony' is a wonderful name," Kerr said. "It's recognized internationally. But I'm not sure it's the right name locally."

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