Not long after the onset of pandemic shutdowns, a living wage orchestra decided to cancel the entire season and a comment from their board chair caught my eye.
The chair mentioned that even though they were shuttering for an extended period of time, he was sure the musicians would be able to come back at a moment’s notice to resume the same performances audiences were used to.
On one hand, that certainly projects a hearty degree of confidence in the musicians’ professionalism.
At the same time, that’s not the way things work.
Even the most driven musician who practices diligently over extended breaks knows there’s a difference between those physical demands and performing on stage. The impact of that gap over a season-long break is large enough to raise concerns about serious injury if musicians attempt to jump back into performing some of the most demanding repertoire out of the gate.
Having said all of that, I’m starting to hear about what some orchestras are considering for their back from COVID inaugural events and I’m concerned we could see some genuine perfect storm level events.
To that end, I decided to do a small series of podcasts for Shop Talk on this very topic about how orchestras of all budget size can go about approaching these questions.
I’m recording the first installment tomorrow with the goal of releasing it on Tuesday, March 9. We’re getting right to the heart of the matter and talking to artistic decision makers. Guests include Phoenix Symphony Music Director Tito Muñoz and Richmond Symphony Director of Artistic Planning and Operations Jennifer Arnold.