After slashing its summer schedule, the Philadelphia Orchestra yesterday said that it has won a more favorable arrangement from the Mann Center that allows it to restore concerts in Fairmount Park to its lowest usual number: nine.
The new summer plan — which the orchestra insists is final — is the result of a negotiation between the Mann and orchestra that continued even after the joint announcement April 7 that the Mann concerts this were being cut to three from the traditional number (which has ranged from nine to 18).
The pact, which leaders say was signed Tuesday, calls for the Mann to become presenter of the orchestra instead of the orchestra presenting itself. The Philadelphia Orchestra Association will provide the orchestra at no fee to the Mann, and the Mann will cover the costs of staffing, marketing, security and other expenses.
Having the Mann be presenter (which is the way the relationship was structured until a decade ago) removes the risk for the orchestra of poor ticket revenue at a time when the group is making organization-wide cuts to the budget to avert a threatened deficit.
Asked why the orchestra announced the curtailed season April 7 even as talks continued, orchestra interim leader Frank P. Slattery said:
“It was because the two sides could not reach an agreement and clearly when something like that occurs it is necessary to let the world know, because it did not look like we were going to be able to make a satisfactory arrangement.”
No details yet on artists and repertoire for the nine concerts.