In case you haven’t heard the news, the New York Philharmonic announced the cancellation of all performances through January 5, 2021. Is that discouraging news? Yes, but there’s no reason for it to be the first domino to tip.
Undoubtedly, the New York Philharmonic’s leadership team spent a great deal of time analyzing options before arriving at a decision.
Every other orchestra will be well-served to follow a similar process. More to the point, if you’re an executive administrator or board member and you hear the phrase “the New York Philharmonic just cancelled the rest of the year so we should…” don’t resist the urge to push back.
On the other side of that coin, there’s no reason to resist cancelling concert activity for the rest of the calendar year in order to be some sort of contrarian.
In the end, this process has no shortcuts and attempts to cut corners is all but certain to end in tears.
Once a decision is reached, it should be supported with copious documentation, research notes, and input from the full range of institutional stakeholders. Anything less than across the board support at mandate thresholds is only going to come back and bite the institution in the behind down the road.