The acclaimed Philadelphia Orchestra has said it would file for bankruptcy, the first major US performance ensemble to do so during the nation`s current economic turmoil.
"The Philadelphia Orchestra Association can confirm that its Board of Directors voted today, April 16th, to file for bankruptcy protection," it said in a statement.
Kate Johnston, a spokeswoman for the 111-year-old orchestra, said however that programming was unaffected for now.
"All concerts are going on as scheduled, including a concert tonight," she told AFP. The orchestra was performing Mahler`s Symphony No. 4.
The Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper quoted orchestra officials as saying that legal papers seeking bankruptcy protection would be filed shortly.
The orchestra is nevertheless fighting for its life and plans a USD 214 million fund-raising attempt within the next few days, according to the report.
Board chairman Richard Worley said earlier this week that income and expenses faced a "fantastic imbalance" and that although the rescue plan would be difficult, "I believe we can do it."
A number of prestigious arts groups, including museums and opera companies, have faced financial strain since the recession and weak economic recovery in the United States.
The crisis announcement came as the city was hosting the inaugural Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts. The massive festival features over 135 events and 1,500 artists spread over 25 days.
Founded in 1900, The Philadelphia Orchestra considers itself one of the world`s leading ensembles, with acclaimed performances, major world tours and best-selling recordings.