The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra has announced major personnel changes due to COVID-19. The orchestra says it has placed its musicians and stagehands on unpaid furlough and laid off nearly half of its administrative staff.
The ISO called the move an “unprecedented step to protect its long-term viability.” The organization’s leadership has applied for financial relief through the Paycheck Protection Program, which is part of the recently-cased CARES Act.
“Given the far-reaching economic impact of COVID-19, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra is implementing measures to best protect its financial stability during this time,” James Johnson, chief executive officer of the ISO, said in a news release. “These personnel actions are extraordinarily difficult, but necessary to manage the challenges faced by our organization. The health and safety of our employees remains a priority.”
Johnston says he has advised the affected employees to seek unemployment benefits. The ISO is providing healthcare coverage for the employees through May.
The administrative staff that remain are staying on with reduced pay and benefits to maintain basic operations, according to the ISO.
“At this time, our thoughts are for those on the front lines of the pandemic, especially first responders and healthcare workers,” said Johnson. “However, we know that music will have a role to play in bringing relief to our community. We look forward to the time when it is safe to resume performing. We will be ready and eager to play our part. It is the ISO’s intention to emerge from this challenging period better, stronger, and more clearly focused on delivering on our mission to serve the community.”
Additionally, the ISO has canceled all performances through May 27.