Vancouver Symphony Orchestra rescinds layoffs, looks forward to exciting programming

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The Music Plays On: Vancouver Symphony Orchestra rescinds layoffs, looks forward to exciting programming

  • VSO rescinds orchestra and staff layoffs in anticipation of the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and will invest an additional $287,000 to keep staff and musicians employed through this period with the goal of maintaining employment for musicians and staff to the end of the VSO’s 2019-20 season in June.
  • VSO plans to release virtual performances through its new [email protected] series in the coming weeks

Vancouver, Canada (April 14, 2020) — Last Thursday afternoon, ahead of the Easter long weekend, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO) President & CEO Angela Elster and Board Chair Etienne Bruson announced that in anticipation of the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), the layoffs planned for April 12, 2020 have been rescinded and the orchestra members and staff continue to be employed.

The VSO will invest an additional $287,000 to keep staff and musicians employed through this period with the goal of maintaining employment for musicians and staff to the end of the VSO’s 2019-20 season in June.

Elster commented, “We are incredibly grateful for the support of the federal government and the CEWS program, and the many, many donors and patrons who have shown their ongoing support for the VSO. Audience members are donating their tickets back to the VSO, new supporters are making their first cash donations, and our many long-time friends are renewing and increasing their support. On behalf of the orchestra and staff, we thank all of you for enabling us to keep our orchestra intact.”

Crisis brings opportunity, and the VSO will be taking this time to create new ways of bringing orchestral music to current and new audiences. The virtual performances of Beethoven’s 5th and 6th symphonies received over 120,000 views and the symphony will release a number of performances in its new [email protected] series in the coming weeks.

The VSO ended public performances on March 13 due to the COVID-19 crisis and has lost 40% of its revenue that comes from ticket sales.

To see the VSO’s virtual projects, including recent digital performances of Beethoven’s 5th and 6th Symphonies, please visit VSOatHome.ca

To donate to the VSO or purchase subscription tickets to the 2020-21 season visit vancouversymphony.ca

SUBSCRIPTION AND DONATION INFORMATION

Ticket holders are invited to donate the value of their tickets back to the VSO for a tax receipt. The VSO has moved to a virtual box office and ticket refund and exchange requests can be made by visiting vancouversymphony.ca/covid19 or emailing [email protected]vancouversymphony.ca.

About the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

Founded in 1919, the Grammy and Juno-award winning Vancouver Symphony Orchestra is one of the largest arts organizations in Western Canada, Canada’s third-largest orchestra, and one of the few orchestras in North America to have its own music school. The VSO and Music Director Maestro Otto Tausk celebrated the orchestra’s 100th anniversary season in 2018-2019.

The mission of the VSO is to create, curate and connect irresistible musical experiences. The VSO fulfills its mission by presenting passionate, high-quality performances of classical, popular, and culturally diverse music; creating meaningful engagement with audiences of all ages and backgrounds; and developing and delivering inspirational education and community programs. Performing more than 150 concerts per year throughout Vancouver, the surrounding communities, and the province of British Columbia, the VSO serves over 270,000 patrons annually, including 50,000 children and young adults. The VSO has an operating budget of $18 million, 104 full-time employees (70 musicians and 34 staff), and is governed by a 21-member board of directors.

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