Hopefully, the Virginia Symphony Orchestra (VSO) will have an opportunity to relive what would have been their 100th anniversary because as of now, they have cancelled all concert activity through February 2021.
While the group managed to secure a Paycheck Protection Program loan, those funds ran out at the end of summer and as a result, furloughed musician employees through February 9, 2021.
Assuming the group is back up and running at that time, the furlough amounts to what the musicians believe is a 72 percent cut in annual compensation.
Musicians will continue to receive health care coverage, but dependents will not be covered during the furlough period.
Interestingly enough, an article by Amy Poulter in the 9/16/2020 edition of The Virginian-Pilot indicates the musicians approached the employer to see about instituting digitally delivered content but early efforts were cancelled
[Tanner Antonetti, a spokesperson for the Virginia Symphony Orchestra Musicians Committee] said orchestra management was on board with the idea initially, and the musicians were optimistic they could find other ways to bring in revenue. The VSO hosted a number of events online and developed an educational YouTube series for students.
The digital events soon came to an end, Antonetti said, and the musicians were told it was because they “didn’t make enough money.”
“To a musician, hearing somebody say it didn’t work this time so we’ll scrap it altogether, that was demoralizing,” he said.
In addition to musician furloughs, Poulter’s article reports that two full-time staff positions have been eliminated and the chorus has suspended activity.