The Nashville Symphony is suspending all concert and event activity through July 31, 2021, and furloughing 79 musicians and 49 full-time staff members, including Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero, effective July 1. The Nashville Symphony Board of Directors voted to suspend operations as a response to the tremendous disruption due to the deep and widespread impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The symphony has already been forced to cancel or reschedule more than 65 concerts and events since early March, with losses directly caused by the pandemic projected to total $8 million, or nearly 30% of the Symphony’s annual income. Based on extensive financial scenario planning, as well as epidemiological projections for how the pandemic may continue to unfold, the Symphony’s board/management team have determined that suspending concert activity for the next year will provide a sufficient foundation for the Symphony to conserve its resources until the orchestra and its concert hall, Schermerhorn Symphony Center, are able to resume activity.
The Symphony is currently working to reschedule concerts originally planned for the 2020/21 concert season to 2021/22. Current season ticket holders will be able to keep their existing seats for the postponed season, and the Symphony will be contacting all ticket holders about their options within the next few weeks.
“This was an extremely difficult and painful decision to make,” said Board Chair Mark Peacock. “The Nashville Symphony’s management and board of directors have been exploring every available option to ensure the long-term sustainability of the institution. In light of our current challenges, we firmly believe that today’s decision is the best course of action to ensure that the Nashville Symphony can continue serving our community in the long run. First and foremost, we are dedicated to ensuring the safety and well-being of our patrons, along with our musicians, staff and volunteers. That means doing everything we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19. With operational costs totaling $2.3 million every month, we also face an enormous financial risk due to the continuing uncertainty caused by this pandemic. Therefore, we felt it necessary to take decisive action now to ensure that the Nashville Symphony is able to reemerge from the current crisis.”
As new epidemiological information becomes available, along with timely data from the Symphony’s revenue studies and audience surveys, the Symphony’s management team will assess whether the orchestra and the Schermerhorn may be able to resume activity sooner.
“If we are to resume concert activity any earlier than expected,” said President & CEO Alan D. Valentine, “we are going to need enormous flexibility to experiment with new concert formats, social distancing in the hall and other safety measures, as we find our way into the ‘new normal.’ The season we originally planned for 2020/21 is not the right season of concerts for that kind of experimentation, nor does it allow for the flexibility we will need.”
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