Despite extension, Orchestra expects early spring exit from bankruptcy

The Philadelphia Orchestra Association has filed a request with U.S. Bankruptcy Court to extend the period of time during which it has the exclusive right to submit a plan of reorganization. If approved, it would be the third such extension.

Tuesday's filing moves forward the exclusivity period 90 days to May 11. Not that there's been any hint of an outside entity putting forward a competing plan of reorganization.

Despite the extension, Lawrence G. McMichael, the Association's lead bankruptcy lawyer, says he still expects a plan of reorganization to be filed with the court in February, with an exit from bankruptcy in late April or early May. "Everybody just wants to get it done," he said Wednesday. Orchestra leaders say the sooner the group can exit bankruptcy - it filed under chapter 11 April 16, 2011 - the sooner serious progress can be made on the $160-$170 million they need to raise during the next several years for operations and endowment.

The Association would still like to have as part of its reorganization plan a new lease agreement with the Kimmel Center, and settlements with the American Federation of Musicians and Employers' Pension Fund and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., to avoid the possibility that confirmation hearings could become contentious. Talks with those entities continue, he said.

One way or the other, McMichael said, the Association intends to file its plan by the end of February.

Orchestra chairman Richard B. Worley on Monday said: "The reorganization has been longer and more complicated than we anticipated..."

Lots of change is in the air. More about the status of the orchestra here.