No longer in concert with Philadelphia Orchestra, Pops will go on

The Philadelphia Pops will go on this season, but with a shortened schedule.

The Pops group is operated by the Philadelphia Orchestra Association, which is now going through bankruptcy proceedings. That legal process made the upcoming season of the Pops uncertain.

On Monday, the Pops and the orchestra filed for a divorce. Pending the expected approval by a bankruptcy judge, the six-year relationship between the two musical entities will end.

“Frankly, I think they would do better on their own, and so would we,” said Pops conductor Peter Nero.

The orchestra will pay a $1.25 million settlement to the Pops and provide some administrative support through the upcoming season.

The Pops normally opens with a program of classical, jazz, and pop in October; this year, the early series has been cut, and the season will open with holiday concerts in December. Instead of the usual 10 holiday concerts, however, there will be only seven.

“I don’t mind. We’ve done that before,” said Nero. “It’s always nice to have full houses, which we had when we came in. As the novelty of the Kimmel (Center) wore off, then we cut back to three concerts and built back to four again.

“Something about the psychology of a full house,” he said. “People look around and when you do a renewal they can’t wait to get seats because they figure they may not be able to.”

The breakup of the orchestra and the Pops is the first piece of business resolved by the Philadelphia Orchestra’s bankruptcy proceedings. The musicians’ contract and the lease agreement with the Kimmel Center are still unsettled.

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