U.S. arts groups get creative with virtual content, against harsh financial backdrop of pandemic

Posted on: October 19, 2020

“Recent weeks have seen the already painful situation facing live performance in the United States grow increasingly dire, with major companies along with Broadway somberly scrapping hope to re-open before next summer and scrambling to find ways to stay in the public eye,” write Thomas Urbain and Maggy Donaldson in Saturday’s (10/17) Agence-France Presse. “Many companies have already budgeted for a season sans spectators…. The pandemic has forced layoffs, furloughs and pay cuts across the performing arts…. But companies have by no means given up on offering content, most of it virtual, some of it free and all of it breaking new ground…. The New York Philharmonic launched an outdoor ‘Bandwagon’ series, with small ensembles playing on city street corners…. Philadelphia Orchestra president and CEO Matias Tarnopolsky sees silver linings in the struggle, saying virtual content additions ‘are changes that will last far beyond the current pandemic and be part of the orchestra’s offering forever.’ Still, fewer shows and reduced rehearsals has been tough on musicians themselves…. ‘I have a lot of concern about musicians leaving the field because the situation is so difficult,’ said Simon Woods, who heads the League of American Orchestras, which represents some 700 organizations.”