How Oregon Symphony, Chamber Music Northwest, and Portland musicians are weathering the pandemic

Posted on: August 17, 2021

Screenshot of the first episode of the Oregon Symphony’s digital “Classical Sessions: Carlos@18,” honoring Carlos Kalmar’s tenure as music director.

“Members of the Recording Academy nominated the Oregon Symphony for multiple Grammy Awards late last year,” reports Jerad Walker in Friday’s (8/13) Oregon Public Radio. “An event like that would normally be cause for celebration, but, at the time, the orchestra was concerned with a much more pressing issue: survival.… While emergency government funding helped… individual musicians … weathered layoffs, furloughs and wage cuts…. Foreign-born musicians working in the United States have also faced travel restrictions and concerns regarding their immigration status…. Chamber music organizations rely heavily on small groups of these touring artists … in the classical music ecosystem … says Peter Bilotta, Executive Director of Chamber Music Northwest…. While Oregon Symphony CEO Scott Showalter says the Oregon Symphony’s primary goal is to return to live performance … he’s quick to point out the urgency for the orchestra to meet audiences where they’re at—even if that’s online…. Oregon Symphony violinist Shanshan Zeng and percussionist Sergio Carreno have been instrumental in the Oregon Symphony’s recent foray into digital content production…. Carreno … said a silver lining of the pandemic is … ‘Connecting with a broader audience, further extending our outreach. All of these are wonderful things,’ he says.”