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Philharmonic Suspends Operations

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SCRANTON -- For the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, the show will not go on - at least for the time being.

The Philharmonic says it is canceling its 2017-2018 season to restructure its operations for a more financially sustainable model.

“We have already started looking a business model that really looks like it could be sustainable and financially viable,” said Nancy Sanderson, the executive director of the NEPA Philharmonic.

The Philharmonic says even with a sold-out house that only covers 35 % of the cost to produce the concert.

Sanderson says it would take $1.1 million to produce the upcoming season and the Philharmonic is ending the 2016-2017 season with $235,000 of debt.

Clearing that debt is a priority.

“We have some debts that we have to pay and they are prioritizing starting the 2018-2019 season debt free so they'll be doing that and we'll be having fundraisers,” said Sanderson.

The board of directors is asking its musicians to consider a 30 % pay cut and is also asking for corporate sponsors and donors for help.

The last performance the Philharmonic is doing this year is the PNC Pops concert “The Music of John Williams” at the People's Security Bank Theater at Lackawanna College on Saturday, October 7th in Scranton.

Jim Cullen is the theater's director.

“They've been here many times,” said Cullen. “It's just a wonderful experience and I'm sure they'll find a way back.”

The Philharmonic is also using that concert to say farewell to its music director, Maestro Lawrence Loh.

“If our community could band together and say good luck and best wishes to Lawrence Loh who will be accepting a new position with another orchestra,” said Sanderson.


  • Michael Herbert-Smith

    Sadly, another sorely needed cultural institution must cease operations. Culture is a necessity indeed which seems to be rapidly departing. We need things like orchestras;libraries;theater;in fact all the Arts MUST survive in order to perpetuate our humanity and dignity which appears to be slipping away all too quickly (witness recent events and the venom in most of the comments here). Unfortunately it appears that our current administration has no room for humanity and dignity by gutting everything that has anything to do with the Arts which are so vital to that which we refer to as Civilization. I know, I just unleashed a maelstrom of knee-jerk reactions which seem to be the norm of late but my point is that Music can indeed heal the mind and spirit, bring comfort and inspiration, and build bridges of understanding between peoples. And yes, I do support the arts both monetarily and by participation.

    • E

      Ha ha! Is that the most intelligent response you can produce? Ha ha! Are you drunk and stupid? Why don’t you address my comments instead of saying something stupid? Are you from a trailer park or a housing project? Are you descended from a coal miner? Are you a deadbeat dad? Which part of my statement got under your skin? Was it the cheap beer or is your woman a 2 pack a day smoker like the rest of the females in nepa? Hey duhh duhh are you seven duhh duhh? Ha ha thank you it’s been great.

  • pot smoker

    The philharmonic needs to invest in reality , 30% paycut says they’re milking the charity game prior to this and a 235 k debt ? can’t even be real – What debt carries – an overpriced theater rent ? Maybe they should follow John Delorean’s business plan ? The junkies would then support the philharmonic . But seriously I believe it’s time has come and Scranton cant waste resources on a dying cow

  • E

    Of couse this failed. Ha ha ha! Unlike watching sports this cannot be used as an excuse to drink so yes of course it failed. Ha ha ha! Wait I know, hang a few budweiser and skoal tobacco banners at the event plus a huge smoking cage for the local females trying to chain smoke themselves to a thinner body. Ha ha ha!

  • Glorious

    Who thought if you sell out a venue and don’t come remotely close to breakeven would work in the first place? This is not a business model, its dreaming.

  • RUrbanite

    Sad indeed. Culture is a necessity, not an amenity. When I was young, in the 1950s, Wilkes-Barre and Scranton had separate philharmonic orchestras. We used to go to school concerts at the Irem Temple. What an amazing experience for us poor coal-region kids, to listen to Mozart or Beethoven in such an enchanted setting. We were warned by our teachers not to applaud when the conductor dropped his baton — we shoukd wait until he turned around. Apart from the music itself, We learned awareness and discipline, we learned to dress up for special occasions, we learned a new language of the soul. But of course they were in the long-ago days when our mothers wouldn’t dare go shopping downtown without a hat or gloves, no matter how deplorably poor we were. I hope Mr Trump includes support for orchestras in his infrastructure programs — we desperately need music more than walls to bridge our divisions.

  • El Ma

    This is such a shame. With so much need for uplifting and positive activities in this area, this sounds like the beginning of a death knell. I hope that it’s not.

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