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Sunday, May 16, 2004

NJ Symphony Addresses Instrument Donation Issue

By Philip Leininger

There has recently been much press coverage regarding the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra's acquisition of the Golden Age Collection. Some of the coverage included confusing, contradictory, and inaccurate information.  The following letter is being sent via mail to our constituents. The letter provides the facts regarding the acquisition of the collection and its importance to the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, the people of New Jersey, and our nation.

We are very comfortable about the way the acquisition process was handled, but there is no doubt that the statement from Guadagno (bullet #3) will carry a weight with the public which is valuable to us.

Philip Leininger
Director of Communications/NJSO


Dear Friends:

Our 2003-4 season has been a tremendously exciting and successful one, and as we approach its end, we wish to provide you with some important information regarding the recent publicity surrounding our Golden Age Collection of historic string instruments.

Since September 2003, the instruments from our Golden Age Collection have been played on stage at every classical subscription concert in all our performance venues.  These instruments were made to be played publicly, and the fact that they are heard on a regular basis in the concert halls of New Jersey is a tribute to the vision and support of our community. Audiences and critics alike have responded with great emotion, commenting on the sublime quality of sound that envelops audiences and continues to develop in the hands of the NJSO's remarkable musicians.

Some of our patrons have expressed concern over recently reported developments surrounding the Collection's previous owner.  We wish to address this so there is no confusion or misconception as to the status of these instruments.

  • The Collection, now owned by the NJSO, is in no danger of being taken from us.  The outright purchase of the Collection was completed last year and full legal title has been transferred to the NJSO.
  • The loans necessary to acquire this Collection are not held by the previous owner. Commerce Bank and The Prudential Foundation have provided the bulk of the necessary capital at very favorable rates.
  • We have cooperated fully with the federal investigation involving the prior owner and have been assured by Michael Guadagno, the Assistant U.S. Attorney in charge of that matter, that the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra is not a target of the investigation.
  • The Orchestra conducted an independent and objective due diligence process prior to the purchase of these instruments. The deal negotiated was a very favorable one for the NJSO.  Any doubt or speculation expressed by uninvolved individuals about the market value of the instruments should not obscure this very positive fact.
  • The Collection is underwritten for its full appraised value by one of the world's most respected insurance companies, based on the appraisal of record.

As the only orchestra in the world to own such a distinguished collection of historic instruments, we know our patrons recognize that curating such a collection is a major responsibility, shared among the NJSO and its community of dedicated music lovers.

With many thanks for your continued support.


Victor Parsonnet, M.D./NJSO Chairman

Simon Woods/NJSO President & CEO

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