The fate of the San Antonio Symphony’s music library has been secured. The library, at risk since the symphony’s board declared bankruptcy June 16 and dissolved the organization, holds 83 years of musical knowledge dating back to the orchestra’s founding in 1939.
Remaining assets of the Symphony Society will be sold to pay creditors and resolve debt. But the library, along with a collection of musical instruments and accessories acquired over the orchestra’s history, has been purchased for the new San Antonio Philharmonic by local philanthropists David Wood and Colette Holt, and the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) union Local 23.
The union represents the musicians of the Philharmonic, many of whom were longtime members of the San Antonio Symphony before its dissolution. In a news release announcing the acquisition of the library and instruments, Wood and Holt said they were “honored” to help the musicians regain access to the assets.
In the same news release, AFM Local 23 President Richard Oppenheim said the union “is delighted to have been able to offer assistance, financial and otherwise, toward this historic endeavor,” and credited AFM members nationwide who contributed to the effort.
Brian Petkovich, bassoonist and president of the Philharmonic, had earlier stated that the music library was difficult to place a monetary value on, given that it consists of music scores and notes contributed by musicians and conductors on how to approach each piece of music.
Bankruptcy documents showed the library’s value as “unknown,” though the value of the collection of instruments and accessories, including such oddities and rarities as bongos, a boat whistle, taxi horns, vibraphones and chimes needed to perform particular compositions, was placed at $165,000.
Petkovich declined to disclose the amount of the transaction.
Of the acquisition, he said, “We are gratified that the Philharmonic is able to ensure the music library and instruments will stay in San Antonio.”
The next performances of the Philharmonic, nicknamed the “SA Phil,” take place Oct. 7-8 at First Baptist Church San Antonio, with guest conductor Garrett Keast and soloist Nancy Zhou, a violinist who debuted with the San Antonio Symphony in 2006 at age 13.