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Nashville Symphony cancels 2020 concerts, furloughs musicians, staff

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Posted at 4:42 PM, Jun 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-12 17:50:50-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Nashville Symphony has suspended all concerts and events through the end of July 2021 and furloughed a total of 128 employees.

The symphony's Board of Directors voted on the suspension and furloughs Friday. A total of 79 musicians and 49 full-time staff members, including Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero were furloughed. They will take effect July 1.

Symphony officials say it has been forced to cancel or reschedule more than 65 concerts and events since early March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The losses caused by the pandemic are projected to total $8 million, or nearly 30% of the Symphony’s annual income.

“This was an extremely difficult and painful decision to make,” said Board Chair Mark Peacock. “The Nashville Symphony’s management and board of directors have been exploring every available option to ensure the long-term sustainability of the institution. In light of our current challenges, we firmly believe that today’s decision is the best course of action to ensure that the Nashville Symphony can continue serving our community in the long run.”

“We realize the dramatic impact this decision will have on the lives of the very musicians and staff who have built the Nashville Symphony into the community treasure that it is today, and we are working hard to support them through this difficult transition. But without the ability to perform for the public, we are unable to generate essential operating revenue. And without that revenue, the Nashville Symphony faces a threat to its very existence. Until we have certainty that our economy can remain open, and that audiences are ready and able to return to large public gatherings, attempting to restart concert activity poses profound risks to our institution.”

“If we are to resume concert activity any earlier than expected,” said President & CEO Alan D. Valentine, “we are going to need enormous flexibility to experiment with new concert formats, social distancing in the hall and other safety measures, as we find our way into the ‘new normal.’ The season we originally planned for 2020/21 is not the right season of concerts for that kind of experimentation, nor does it allow for the flexibility we will need.”

Symphony officials say they are working to reschedule concerts originally planned for the 2020/21 concert season to the 2021/22 concert season.

Current season ticket holders will be able to keep their existing seats for the postponed season, and the Symphony will be contacting all ticket holders about their options within the next few weeks.