New York orchestra shuts – immediately

New York orchestra shuts – immediately


norman lebrecht

February 09, 2016

The Long Island Philharmonic is no more.

It shut Monday after the bank refused to renegotiate a loan.

The orchestra, founded in 1979 by the folksinger Harry Chapin and conductor Christopher Keene, has notified regular players it can no longer afford to pay them.

David Stewart Wiley has been music director for the past 15 years. Marin Alsop was a previous m.d.

li phil


  • Meal says:

    Thanks for letting us know. The link posted is not correct (linking to google inbox). I found something on

  • Max Grimm says:

    It seems as though the orchestra had been battling financial difficulties for the last 12 years.

  • jerry pritchard says:

    Well, here’s part of the reason for the failure:

    “David Stewart Wiley, music director of the Philharmonic for 15 years, said Monday from his Virginia home”

    It is time for conductors and music directors to stay at a home base and focus on fund raising and audience development for their orchestras. Part-time orchestra administrators and leaders with disinterested, unengaged boards are a prescription for failure.

    • Michael A says:

      I wouldn’t put this at the feet of David Wiley. His home is in Virginia because he is also music director of the Roanoke Symphony, another very fine regional orchestra. Considering the long history of financial problems the LUP has had, there’s not much he could have done, whether he was in Roanoke or Westbury.

  • Kathe Hannauer says:

    What orchestra is that in the photo? Not the LIP. Signed, an LIP member.

  • Andrew says:

    The photo is of Gary Lewis and the CU-Boulder Symphony…

  • Itsjtime says:

    Is NYC a total shit show for orchestral appreciation?

    Now Long Island joins the 20 million plus people in the NYC metropolitan area that are served by one full time orchestra?????????

    One can go hear myriad student orchestras (where the parents pay more than many German orchestra’s salaries to get training for no jobs) and some medium to pretty good part time orchestras.

    It’s a damn shame but it’s endemic of a greater problem…Long Island is not a poor place…it is a beacon of America’s pandemic consumer culture. It’s a shit hole…now without even a part time orchestra….

    *Or maybe the people could discern that the orchestra was crap and thought that no music was better than music played poorly.

    • Hardened NY'er says:

      You have the NY Philharmonic, the Met Opera, the City Ballet, hundreds of orchestras visiting Carnegie, orchestras visiting LIU, Orpheus, ECCO, the NJ Symphony, American Symhony, St Luke’s, and several others all performing in and around NYC.
      There is too much going on.

    • Ron Wasserman says:

      On the contrary, there are many other part time orchestras still in business in the NY metropolitan area. LI Phil was part time. There is only one full time concert orch in NY, the NY Phil. There are also full time opera and ballet orchs. NY is not lacking for culture.

  • Larry says:

    It’s hard to believe that the Nassau/Suffolk county region, with a combined population of nearly 3 million people, can’t support a part-time professional orchestra. I say this as a native Long Islander and as an orchestra manager.

    At one time, there were 12 free-lance (part-time) orchestras in the Local 802 jurisdiction, which is the five boroughs of NY City plus Nassau and Suffolk. The New York Chamber Symphony, Brooklyn Philharmonic and Long Island Philharmonic are all gone. Opera Orchestra of New York seems rather dormant, the Bronx Arts Ensemble seems to be doing only chamber music these days, Little Orchestra Society (once the largest of the 12) has cut back drastically, American Composers Orchestra now primarily only does “readings.”

    The times, they are a changing.

    • Jon Taylor says:

      While it is true that the American Composers Orchestra is doing fewer and smaller concerts than it did in the distant past, the season has actually remained relatively stable for more than ten years. This season consists of three concerts and one set of readings. Perhaps Larry is thinking about the additional readings ACO sponsors with other orchestras across the country.

  • Itsjtime says:

    Hey Mr Wasserman…whatever you are smokin …pass it over ;).

    I said full time or his…not part time. The met opera orchestra may be the finest symphony orchestra in the country…when they play a limited run every year at Carnegie Hall.

    New York is not a cultural wasteland. It is an orchestral shit show.

  • Larry says:

    Back in “the day” of old Long Island, there was also the Long Island Symphony (Seymour Lipkin, music director), Great Neck Symphony (Sylvan Shulman, music director for many years and many of the most important soloists played with them), Nassau Symphony, Merrick Symphony (volunteer band, I think.) I played with Long Island Symphony and Great Neck.

    These were all around for years before the LI Phil started, which was around 1980, I think. I was also the ED of the New York Virtuosi Chamber Symphony (Kenneth Klein, music director/founder), based in Glen Cove. May it rest in peace.

  • Jeffrey Biegel says:

    Read my post on Norman’s Facebook page in regard to this. Yes, the LIP has enjoyed fine music directors over 36 years. However, there’s the South Shore Symphony Orchestra. They have a home in residence in the newer Madison Theatre at Molloy College, which is a nice space. Their music director is a fabulous musician, Scott Jackson Wiley (no relation to the fine David Wiley), and the organization has grown in numbers and quality. You should have seen the faces if Neil Sedaka, Keith Emerson, and Hubert Laws when they visited and attended the SSSO concerts. In separate occasions, Keith Emerson and Hubert Laws performed with the orchestra. Next season, legendary songwriter Jimmy Webb will be there as well. This is a jewel of an organization, so LI, do take notice of this orchestra. You’ll be happy you did.

    • Barry Santini says:

      Thank you, Jeffrey Biegel! Yes, the South Shore Symphony has grown in quality and numbers. We may be amateurs, but we are amateurs with a passion, and very fortunate to have terrific leadership from orchestra president Mr. Wayne Lipton, musicianship from Maestro Scott Jackson Wiley, a new performance venue with absolutely excelkent acoustics, and a membership willing to seek high standards of musicality.
      We are very fortunate indeed!
      Barry Santini

  • Eric says:

    The Long Island Phil had a hard road. It covered a large area (nearly 20 miles north-south, and ~75 miles east-west) with no real home. It performed all over the Island, and in recent years, cut back lots of its programming. Not long ago, none other than Marin Alsop was its music director. I saw them play a bunch of times, and it influenced me to pursue more as a musician. It’s a loss, no way you look at it.

    • Jeffrey Biegel says:

      They did cover several performing arts venues, but the real success of any organization inevitably falls under its administration and board. The late Christopher Keene, Marin Alsop, David Lockington and David Wiley are exemplary musicians aside from the organization.

  • Alvaro says:

    One less. NEXT!

  • Gianmaria says:

    As much as I understand financial and management troubles, it always saddens me to read these news. Recently, in Italy, a 17th century theater was not just shut down, but set to be demolished to make room for a mall. Culture is not the center of our attention anymore, whether we live in Europe or US.