Virginia Symphony Orchestra postpones season, furloughs musicians, reduces staff

Posted on: September 22, 2020

“The Virginia Symphony Orchestra’s 100th season would have started late last month,” writes Amy Poulter in Wednesday’s (9/16) Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, VA). “Instead, its management has revised the official start date to Feb. 11 and furloughed musicians through Feb. 9. ​[Due to] restrictions ​… placed on gatherings in March because of the coronavirus pandemic … ​the VSO lost $1.4 million in revenue just in the spring, CEO and President Karen Philion said…. Thanks to a federal Paycheck Protection Program loan, private contributions and expense reductions, the VSO was able to pay its full-time musicians in full through the summer…. Tanner Antonetti, a spokesperson for the Virginia Symphony Orchestra Musicians Committee, said musicians understand it’s difficult for the VSO to operate without bringing in revenue, but the furlough will mean a 72% slashing of their salaries for the season.… The VSO hosted a number of events online and developed an educational YouTube series for students…. Management is pursuing a few smaller, socially distanced events and educational activities.… Philion said some of the VSO’s production staffers also are on furlough. Three full-time [staff] positions … were eliminated.… The performance schedule was revised to get musicians back on stage as soon, and as safely, as possible.”