Nashville Symphony Confirms Agreement With Its Lenders

Credit: Nashville Symphony

The orchestra issued $102 million in bonds in 2004 to pay for the hall, choosing to invest the roughly $120 million it raised for the building project. Credit: Nashville Symphony

The Nashville Symphony will not lose its concert hall to foreclosure. The orchestra confirms a deal has been struck to restructure $83 million of debt.

No hard details of the agreement have been made public. The bank and symphony will only say that this week’s foreclosure auction is cancelled and they’ve resolved all “outstanding issues” regarding the debt. A spokesman for billionaire Martha Ingram says she provided some of the liquid assets needed to close the deal. At least a portion of those funds were already promised to the symphony as part of a long-term charitable gift.

The deal keeps the Nashville Symphony in its home, but much more work is necessary to put its finances in order. The ensemble’s main source of income, donations, dropped by half at the start of the recession and continue to decline. A recent audit questioned the orchestra’s ability to continue to exist.

The symphony’s complete statement:

The Nashville Symphony Association, a leading musical institution dedicated to achieving the highest standard for excellence in musical performance and educational programs, today announced that it has successfully resolved all outstanding issues with its bank lenders. Under the terms of a definitive agreement that was executed today, all of the Symphony’s obligations to its commercial lenders have been resolved, and the banks’ recent foreclosure notice has been withdrawn.

“After months of discussion with our lenders, we are pleased to have reached a comprehensive resolution that represents the best path forward for all parties involved,” said Ed Goodrich, Chairman of the Nashville Symphony Association. “With a healthier balance sheet, the Symphony will be in a better position to pursue its cultural mission of engaging the community, enriching audiences and shaping cultural life through musical excellence and educational vision. We deeply appreciate the professional and constructive approach of our bank lenders in the complex negotiations, and we are grateful to our generous patrons, the city of Nashville and the Mayor’s office. All of these interested parties have contributed significantly to the resolution of this matter, and without their support, this settlement would not have been possible.”

He continued, “Over the past few months, the Symphony has taken steps to reduce expenditures, increase revenue and drive contributions in an effort to strengthen its bottom line. Reaching this agreement with our lenders is a major milestone in our restructuring process. However, the Symphony still has a lot of work to do to further reduce costs and will continue to need significant financial support from our donors in the years ahead to remain sustainable over the long term. We are committed to taking all possible measures to ensure our financial stability, and we are confident that the Middle Tennessee community will rise to the occasion to help this wonderful arts organization survive and thrive.”

“We are pleased that we have been able to reach this agreement with the Nashville Symphony so that it can continue to play its vital and unique role in this community for generations to come,” said John Stein, Nashville market president for Bank of America. “It is because we all recognize the orchestra’s importance to this community that we were all able to come together and work so hard to make this happen.”

Nashville Mayor Karl Dean said, “This resolution will allow the Nashville Symphony to remain a vital part of our city’s entertainment and cultural scene that the world has come to identify with our name as Music City. I commend and appreciate all the parties involved for the way they have worked to bring about this very positive result. I’m looking forward to another great year of music from the Symphony and the great educational programming they offer to families and children in our community. I also want to say a special word of thanks to the heads of the local banks that were involved for their leadership in this effort.”

“Throughout the course of these negotiations, we have been fully committed to serving everyone in Middle Tennessee with a dynamic array of programs, both at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center and in the community,” said Alan Valentine, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Nashville Symphony. “On behalf of everyone at the Symphony, I want to thank our patrons and donors for their unwavering support throughout the negotiation process. Their continued loyalty and generosity will be more important than ever as the Symphony moves forward.”

Mr. Valentine continued, “We would also like to express our thanks to the members of the Symphony staff who have had to make do with less along the path to this resolution. Their continued leadership and commitment to this great institution will help us to remain an integral part of Nashville’s music scene.”

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