On February 22, 2011, Governor Neil Abercrombie publicly announced that a new group of prominent community leaders had formed the “Symphony Exploratory Committee” (SEC) to examine the possibility of having a new professional orchestra in Hawaii. The SEC has begun to assemble an impressive team. Steven Monder, former long-time executive director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra has been enlisted as an advisor and is helping to draw up a successful business plan. JoAnn Falletta, music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic and the Virginia Symphony, has been key in dealing with artistic matters.
On March 17, the assets of the Honolulu Symphony Society, which include the music library, pianos, percussion instruments, historical documents and memorabilia, were sold at auction as part of the Chapter 7 liquidation. The SEC entered a winning bid of $210,000, securing the entire package for a new organization. This means that the music library, which includes orchestral arrangements and accompaniments for virtually every significant Hawaiian musician in the last century will stay in Hawaii. It also means that the new organization will be able to preserve some of the history of the old orchestra. Among the treasures bought in the auction is a 1967 photo of Igor Stravinsky when he conducted the Honolulu Symphony in a program of his music. The concert included a very young Itzhak Perlman playing the Stravinsky Violin Concerto. No less touching are some of the many letters throughout the years from schoolchildren who wrote from all over Hawaii to thank the musicians and comment on their experience hearing the orchestra.
The buying of these assets is an important step toward the creation of a new orchestra in Hawaii. We would like to thank Bruce Ridge and the ICSOM Governing Board for helping to make this day a reality. Their constant vigilance has helped to ensure that the assets of the old organization stay in Hawaii. We Honolulu Symphony musicians are glad to being one step closer to the rebirth of an orchestra in the islands.