With Kennedy Center shut down through early May, National Symphony furloughs musicians

Posted on: March 30, 2020

“Kennedy Center President Deborah Rutter told the 96 musicians who make up the National Symphony Orchestra on Friday that their last paychecks were coming on April 3 and that they will not be paid again until the center reopens,” writes John Gage in Sunday’s (3/29) Washington Examiner (Washington, D.C.). Due to government prohibitions on gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic, the Kennedy Center has been shut down and has “so far canceled performances through early May.… The Kennedy Center received $25 million from the federal government in its $2 trillion relief package, which was signed into law Friday. Rutter said she would also suspend her own $1.2 million salary during the coronavirus outbreak. ‘Without concerts and the corresponding ticket revenue, it is an unsustainable strategy to pay musicians to stay at home during this forced and still undefined quarantine period,’ she said…. The payroll for the National Symphony each week is $400,000. Rutter said the $25 million would go toward ‘essential personnel to ensure we can reopen the Center.’ ” Ed Malaga, president of the Local 161-710 of the American Federation of Musicians, said, “The parties’ collective bargaining agreement … specifically requires that the Center provide six weeks’ notice before it can stop paying musicians for economic reasons.”