Pittsburgh Symphony moves music outdoors and online, adjusts budget, raises funds

Posted on: December 1, 2020

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Principal Flute Lorna McGhee performs at Fallingwater in October 2020 as part of the orchestra’s “Front Row: The PSO Virtual Experience” concert series.

“In March, the COVID-19 pandemic forced arts groups to cancel live indoor performances. They responded with outdoor programs, small socially distanced gatherings and a lot of streaming content,” write Sara Bauknecht, Tyler Dague, and Patricia Sheridan in Sunday’s (11/29) Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Large groups like the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra have taken the biggest hit, primarily because it has so many artists on salary and has such high overhead costs. Melia Tourangeu, PSO president and CEO, said the PSO canceled more than 120 concerts, resulting in $5.6 million in missed revenue. The symphony has applied for a $1.73 million grant from the Regional Asset District for general operating support…. Earlier this year, PSO musicians and staff took 30% cuts in pay and other compensation…. The PSO’s … ‘Front Row’ virtual concert series … shows musicians performing at Fallingwater, The Andy Warhol Museum and other familiar places. Fundraising has been one bright spot…. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra missed its [2019-20] goal by just $8,000 with an annual fund budget of $9 million. Ms. Tourangeu credited individual donors, foundations and corporations sticking with the organization.” Other groups in the article include Pittsburgh Opera, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Kelly Strayhorn Theater, Attack Theatre, and the ballet troupe Bodiography.