Fort Wayne Philharmonic cancels 2020 concerts, furloughs musicians

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — The Fort Wayne Philharmonic will not play again in 2020.

The Phil’s board of directors on Tuesday voted to suspend all concerts until Jan. 30, 2021, and furlough its musicians as part of sweeping measures to cut costs in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Five staff positions will also be cut, and the Philharmonic’s music director and managing director will donate back a portion of their salaries.

“We realize this will have a dramatic impact on the musicians and administrative staff of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic,” said Managing Director James W. Palermo. “To protect the institution’s future, we must take steps to evaluate all contractual relationships, eliminate staff positions, and reduce the annual operating budget. The Philharmonic will pause now so it can continue on in the future. We will regroup and return stronger, more relevant, and even more artistically thrilling.”

In April, the Philharmonic announced it had canceled its concert season after the pandemic hit in March. At the time, the board decided to continue to pay full-time and per service musicians through the end of the season, then extended pay through the summer season.

The Philharmic will now play a “delayed and compressed” 2020-2021 season beginning in late January through May.

The Philharmic is entering its 77th season. The board pledged to see it through.

“The events of the last six months have upended the lives of so many of our citizens,” said Board Chairman Chuck Surack. “Through these challenges, we know that what binds us together is our common love of music and belief that it can change lives. We’ve experienced hard times before, and will get through this period with an unwavering belief in our role as stewards of this great organization. We look forward to returning to the stage and seeing everyone very soon. In the meantime, we send our regards and best wishes for continued health and prosperity.”

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