South Florida Arts Presenter To File Bankruptcy?

It's hard here in the arts-rich Northeast to appreciate the big footprint in South Florida of the arts-presenting organization started four decades ago by charismatic impresaria Judy Drucker. But for anyone who heard Beverly Sills, Itzhak Perlman, Pavarotti or any number of visiting orchestras for the first time at one of her concerts, the news that Concert Association of Florida may be going belly up is devastating. A report by South Florida Classical Review says bankruptcy is imminent, and as solid as the story is, it leaves a lot of questions unanswered, the most immediate of which is: Will the New York Philharmonic's tour appearance in Miami Feb. 26 go on, and/or will the Philharmonic get paid for its concert? “It breaks my heart,” said Drucker, who retired from the group two years ago. “I’m sure they tried their best to work things out, but it’s a sad day for music in Florida.” Having grown up just north of Miami, I always had mixed feelings about Drucker's Concert Association. On the one hand, she brought culture to a relative musical wasteland. But on the other hand, I had the strong feeling that by bringing in great orchestras, Drucker was draining away what little support there was for a great resident orchestra in Miami. The New World Symphony was a wonderful achievement, but as a training orchestra for young talent that comes for a few years and then leaves, it is hardly a substitute for a real full-time city orchestra. And so, with an incredibly expensive new arts center - which may or may not come to the rescue in this sad chapter - South Florida continues its now-five-decade-old struggle for bringing European-based culture to the New World.