The Nashville Symphony announced Friday the suspension of all concerts through summer of next year, furloughing many musicians and staff members.
The decision comes despite projected losses to reach $8 million while 79 musicians and 49 full-time staff have been furloughed.
“This was an extremely difficult decision to make,” said Board Chair Dr. 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.”
Due to social-distancing requirements and the high operating costs, the symphony would not be able to sustainably operate due to reduced audience capacity. In addition, current attempts to restart concert activities would prove too great a risk due to large public crowds, and the symphony has placed priority on the safety of their patrons, staff and volunteers, musicians.
Uncertainty remains over the institution’s ability to reopen once the economy has stabilized. Symphony officials have calculated that the decision to close would leave them with “sufficient foundation for the Symphony to conserve its resources until the orchestra and its concert hall, Schermerhorn Symphony Center, are able to resume activity.
The organization had previously faced foreclosure but was able to recover due to benefactor Martha Ingram and the non-profit organization’s banks forgiving millions in debt.
Symphony officials expressed sympathy for the furloughed musicians and lamented being unable to support them due to lack of operating revenue, but said priority is on the safety of musicians, patrons, staff and volunteers.
Current ticket holders for concerts originally scheduled for the 2020/21 season will be contacted by symphony officials in order to discuss their options and possible rescheduling of concerts.