March 25, 2021 (updated March 26, 2021)

Madison Symphony Orchestra Announces Musician Relief Payments For the Entire 2020–2021 Season

Madison, Wis. 
The Madison Symphony Orchestra (MSO) announced that all contracted members of the Madison Symphony Orchestra will receive continued relief payments for all canceled concerts through the end of its 2020–2021 Season.

“The musicians of the Madison Symphony Orchestra are at the heart of our organization. As an ensemble and as individuals, they bring great joy to our community through their magnificent performances,” says Executive Director Richard Mackie. “I’m very grateful to our community and quite proud of our Board for demonstrating their heartfelt support of our artists during this difficult year.”

The community’s generous response to MSO’s Musicians’ Relief Fund Campaign, a Cultural Organization Grant from the State of Wisconsin, previous funds approved by the MSO Board, and a second PPP loan have placed the MSO on solid financial footing, sufficient to allow voluntary relief payments equal to what MSO musicians would have earned performing the 2021 February through May subscription concerts, The Final Forte & Spring Young People’s Concert, the Symphony Soup and Link Up education concerts, and Concert on the Green, all of which have been canceled. The MSO has also made a retroactive relief payment to the orchestra for the canceled 2020 Fall Youth Concerts.

“I just want to say thank you for everything you do to keep us going. It is tough times, but I am relieved to the point of tears to know that we will be paid this spring . . . to know that we will be paid for the immediate future is an incredible relief, and truly demonstrates the generosity and integrity of the MSO organization,” wrote one musician upon receiving an email sent to the orchestra announcing the continued relief payments.

In June 2020, the MSO announced the cancellation of its September through January concerts due to ongoing public health concerns and Overture Center’s closure through November. A Musicians’ Relief Fund Campaign was launched with a goal to replace the Fall 2020 orchestra payrolls with voluntary relief payments. An initial commitment of $184,000 from the Board of Directors seeded the Relief Fund. Private contributions quickly exceeded the initial fundraising goal of $171,000, prompting an announcement to the orchestra that they would receive payment for all of the canceled Fall 2020 subscription concerts plus the January 2021 Beyond the Score® concert. At that time, the Spring 2021 concerts were still “on.”

Then, in late November 2020, the MSO regrettably announced the cancellation of the second half of its 2020–2021 Season and the extension of the Musicians’ Relief Fund Campaign through the end of December. In total, outright contributions from over 700 individual donors, ticket donations from 54% of our subscribers, a State of Wisconsin Cultural Organization Grant, previous board-approved funds, and a second PPP loan have allowed the MSO to commit $1,023,474 in total relief payments to the Orchestra for the 2020–2021 Season. Including payments that were made at the end of the 2019–2020 season, the MSO has committed $1.4M in relief payments to our musicians during the pandemic.

Since last March, the Symphony has remained engaged with its community through free online programs, regular electronic and print communications, and a robust News and Stories website featuring interviews with our musicians and performances by past winners of our Bolz Young Artist Competition. The MSO presented “A Virtual Madison Symphony Christmas” in December and two highly successful virtual Overture Concert Organ recitals in October and November. One additional virtual organ concert will premiere on April 27. The final round of the 2021 Bolz Young Artist Competition was held and recorded in early March and will be shared virtually in the spring. The Symphony’s overall financial position remains strong and is well-positioned for a successful return to regular concerts in the 2021–2022 Season. Music Director John DeMain and the Symphony are grateful for the ongoing community support, and look forward to reuniting with audiences for live concerts this fall.

The Madison Symphony Orchestra celebrates its 96th season in 2021–2022. The MSO has grown to be one of America’s leading regional orchestras, providing Madison and south-central Wisconsin with cultural and educational opportunities to interact with great masterworks and top-tier guest artists from around the world. 

Peter Rodgers, Director of Marketing
Phone: (608) 260-8680 x226
Mobile: (415) 713-0235
Email: prodgers@madisonsymphony.org
High resolution orchestra photo: http://bit.ly/msomrf2021

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