Adding a new twist to the ongoing crisis surrounding the San Diego Symphony, members of its board of directors have volunteered to resign if such a move would help re-establish the orchestra.
The surprising announcement came in a press release issued over the weekend. According to the news bulletin, directors met in special session Friday to discuss and vote on the issue.
"The board of directors is willing to do whatever it constructively can to bring symphonic music back to the stage of Symphony Hall in October," the release quoted board President Herbert J. Solomon as saying. "That includes . . . relinquishing leadership to others, if necessary, for the rebuilding process to take place and to facilitate obtaining the funds essential to restore operations.
"What is of prime importance is to establish trust and confidence of the community in the symphony once again--hopefully sooner, rather than later."
Symphony musicians, who are negotiating with management for a new contract for next season, said they viewed the proffered resignations as a bright spot in the otherwise gloomy situation and expressed hope that directors would follow through.
Sources in the musicians' camp have long cited the intransigence of the association board as the chief stumbling block to resolution of the contract dispute.
"I think this could be a very important step for the symphony in terms of rebuilding credibility in the community," said Dennis Michel, the orchestra's principal bassoonist. "I would say that until the people who were responsible for past mistakes are out of the way, the people out there with money will not be interested in making investments again."
A new board composed of individuals not burdened by "the political baggage" of current members could be key to "pulling us out of the mire," Michel said.
Spokesmen for the association could not be reached for comment. But the press release called the offer of resignations "a bold step" intended to demonstrate the board's willingness to support the McGill Commission, a board appointed by Mayor Maureen O'Connor to arbitrate the labor dispute and investigate the symphony's finances.