Securing the Future of the Seattle Symphony

Laying the foundation for the Seattle Symphony’s return after the COVID-19 closure

Our top priorities right now are the health of our Seattle Symphony family and our social responsibility in ensuring the public’s health. We continue to seriously monitor the development of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and are following guidance from King County, the Centers for Disease Control, the City of Seattle and the Washington State Governor’s Office as our city begins to reopen. While we were not able to finish our 2019–2020 season, we are reimagining how we operate in order to welcome audiences safely back to the hall in September 2020.

This public health crisis is severely impacting the world, and we are not immune from the repercussions of COVID-19. It has given our world pause, and made difficult decisions necessary. With every decision, we are laying the foundation for the safe and successful return of the Seattle Symphony. The Seattle Symphony has been Seattle’s soundtrack since 1903. We have been here through our city’s most significant moments and will continue to articulate those moments in the years to come.

At the Seattle Symphony, our decisions are rooted in the belief that music is transformative and withstands the tests of tragedy and time. We must collectively make sacrifices so this orchestra can continue being Seattle’s soundtrack for the next 100 years and beyond. With these shared goals, the musicians and management of the Seattle Symphony have jointly developed phased, long-term plans that ensure the sustainability of our city’s orchestra; reimagining the business model for a safe, strategic reopening in September 2020.

While we are still unsure what the upcoming Seattle Symphony season might look like, we remain committed to sharing live music with you and we remain dedicated to supporting our incredible musicians. Through a mutual agreement reached last week, the orchestra will continue to be on payroll for the entirety of next season at 50% reduced salary and hours.

Similarly for our administrative staff, there will be staffing and salary modifications through a combination of Standby and SharedWork implementations, tentatively planned through August 30, 2020. There will be no changes to healthcare benefits for any members of the Seattle Symphony or Benaroya Hall teams.

These are difficult conversations to have and equally difficult decisions to make, but we believe that these decisions will secure the Seattle Symphony’s future. Our orchestra has had a strong history of inclusivity and forward-thinking leadership, and this collaborative agreement strengthens the orchestra’s voice in the future course of the organization. Together, we will continue to fulfill our mission to unleash the power of music, bring people together and lift the human spirit however we can, for as long as we can. 

Thank you for staying home and being safe, thank you for listening, and we hope you continue to enjoy the music however we can deliver it to you.


Seattle Symphony Future Fund

Help keep the music playing.

Your support — now more than ever — is critical for the musicians who create these treasured moments. Despite public health limits on large gatherings, we remain committed to sharing live music with you.

Together we have made the Seattle Symphony our community’s orchestra. Together we have shared the joyous experience of live music in the beautiful surroundings of Benaroya Hall — and we will again. Together we will get through this difficult time.

Please consider the role music plays in your life and help sustain your Symphony with your gift today.

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Posted on June 16, 2020