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The Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony will be out of business by the end of the month unless it raises $2.5-million in emergency funds, says the orchestra's board chair.

"The symphony is in a serious financial situation that threatens our future," said Bob Astley in a statement on the orchestra's website. "If commitments totalling $2.5-million aren't realized, the board will have little choice but to declare bankruptcy." The 18-member board has already pledged $230,000 to the orchestra's Save Our Symphony campaign, he said.

The KWS, based in Kitchener, Ont., lost $600,000 last season, and has a deficit of $1.2-million. Staff and players have been asked to accept a 15-per-cut pay cut.

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Declining grants and ticket sales, along with rising expenses, pushed the orchestra into crisis, Astley's note said. A long and divisive dispute with former music director Martin Fischer-Dieskau may also have hurt the organization.

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