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Deficit Cited; Duerr Resigns In Protest : Pasadena Chamber Group Halts Season

September 16, 1986|MARC SHULGOLD

A $100,000 deficit has led to the suspension of the Pasadena Chamber Orchestra's 1986-87 season and the resignation of its founding music director Robert Duerr.

"We had no recourse but to postpone," said general manager Shelley Alexander of the board's decision in face of a mounting deficit.

With Duerr leaving the decade-old ensemble, its future remains uncertain both artistically and financially, Alexander acknowledged on Monday.

"This orchestra was based on Robert Duerr," she said. "It's clear that the successful fund raising came through because of him. Now, we'll have to redefine and regroup." The Pasadena Chamber Orchestra was operating on a $420,000 budget for fiscal '86, Alexander said, and was to have given six concerts in Ambassador Auditorium.

"Even if we sold out every concert, that would only account for 39% of our budget," she added.

At an emergency session of the board of directors last week, Duerr opposed suspending the season. The conductor filed a formal letter of resignation on Saturday, saying he could not remain "in good conscience" and that he would "relinquish payments due to me under my contract." He was not available for comment.

According to Alexander, "the music side" of running the orchestra was not questioned by the board. "We were very committed to Robert. We just realized that there was not enough current corporate money available to us. And there was not enough ability perceived to raise the necessary funds.

"We are not folding," she emphasized. "We want to look at the directions the orchestra will take, to discover on what level any future music-making can be done."

Alexander said that Pasadenans had been supportive of the orchestra and had contributed $100,000 during the last year. In addition, the board had contributed another $100,000, she said.

The 550 subscribers for the season scheduled to begin Nov. 18 are being notified by mail and will be given the option of receiving a refund or contributing the price of season tickets to assist the organization, Alexander said.

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