Houston Symphony, facing $11m deficit, to reduce staff from 83 to 62, cut other expenses

Posted on: June 16, 2020

“In a move it said was crucial to ensuring its ‘immediate survival,’ Houston’s oldest and largest performing arts organization has imposed layoffs as a result of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic,” writes Jeff Jeffrey in Friday’s (6/12) Houston Business Journal. “The Houston Symphony said in a news release the evening of June 12 that budget shortfalls have forced the organization to lay off 21 full- and part-time employees, reducing the organization’s overall staff from 83 to 62…. The Symphony said it is projecting an $11 million deficit for the 2020-2021 season. The budget shortfall adds to the $7.8 million in losses it suffered during the 2019-2020 season.… The aim, the Symphony said, is to slash its $34.5 million budget to $23.5 million. In April, Symphony Executive Director John Mangum [said] the organization was able to save about $2.5 million after negotiating a pay cut for its performers … and trimming other anticipated expenses. Symphony staff members also agreed to pay cuts…. Despite Texas Gov. Greg Abbot allowing performing arts organizations to put on shows for up to 50% capacity audiences, many organizations are still struggling to determine what precautions will be sufficient to protect the safety of both audiences and performers.”