The financial impact of coronavirus on the musical ecosystem

Posted on: March 27, 2020

“ ‘We’ve gotten through a couple World Wars and a Depression in the history of this orchestra,” Mark Volpe, president of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, recently told BSO musicians in a video address. ‘But this is uncharted territory,’ ” writes Jeremy Eichler in Wednesday’s (3/265) Boston Globe. “Two months ago, the BSO lost its East Asia tour because of virus concerns, and more recently, it canceled the remainder of its local season. Tanglewood remains an open question. According to Volpe, the orchestra currently stands to lose $2 million to $3 million per month of closure, a number that reflects lost ticket revenue offset by cuts in expenses…. Among the region’s arts professionals, among the hardest hit have been freelance musicians…. Relief packages are working their way through state and federal government, including a $2 trillion relief bill that would be the largest in the country’s history. Heather Noonan, vice president for advocacy at the League of American Orchestras, said on Tuesday she was optimistic that workers in the arts sector would be included when the bill was signed into law…. ‘I think policy leaders understand better now than they ever have before how much of the workforce is in the gig economy, and how important it is to consider self-employed workers,’ she said.”