The Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra will suspend next year's concert season to give the organization time to fundraise, the Santa Monica Symphony Association announced Monday.
It is the first suspension in its 67 year history, according to David Bendett, chairman of the association's Board of Directors.
"We have decided that we want to continue, but need the funding to do so and will use this coming year to try and reach that goal," he said.
The announcement read:
To ensure the survival of this important cultural asset for the Southern California Westside community, it must recapitalize and have time to raise additional funds with the objective of returning for the 2013-2014 concert season.
Upon its return, the symphony plans to switch venues to Barnum Hall at because of the indefinite closure of Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in June 2013. The Civic’s impending closure, made by the city in response to its loss of redevelopment agency, did not play a part in the decision to suspend the 2012-13 season, Bendett wrote in an email.
Long-time conductor and music director, Allen Robert Gross, will not return.
Bendett said the conductor, who was credited with elevating the Santa Monica Symphony to one of the leading community orchestras in the nation, received a no-confidence vote from the board.
"He will be missed and the association greatly appreciates his tenure and his contributions to the growth and achievements of the orchestra and to the Westside community," the announcement read.
The Santa Monica Symphony made its debut in 1945. With a repertoire of classical and contemporary music, it presents four free concerts each season to audiences of 5,000, according to its website.
It has previously received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and was one of only 64 orchestras in the country to receive a grant under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. The city of Santa Monica and county of Los Angeles County provide funds, and it also relies on contributions from private donors.
Top tier and small symphonies have decided to go out of business in recent years by filing bankruptcy protection, and in just the last couple of weeks, the Napa Valley Symphony decided to call it quits after 79 years, according to Bendett.
The Pacific Shores Philharmonic, however, just decided to re-schedule its upcoming season, he noted. "Every organization must do what they feel is best," Bendett said.
When asked how much money was needed to keep intact the 2013-14 season, Bendett said, "an exact figure has not been determined."
Correction: This article was updated at 9:50 a.m. Aug. 21, 2012 to correct the spelling of Barnum Hall.