Just in: New York Phil won’t return before 2021

Press release:

The New York Philharmonic’s concerts through January 5, 2021, have been cancelled. “While the New York Philharmonic deeply regrets having to cancel our fall concerts, we had no choice,” said President and CEO Deborah Borda. “Our number one concern is the health and safety of our audiences, musicians, and employees. It has become very clear that large groups of people will not be able to safely gather for the remainder of the calendar year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our decision to let the entire Philharmonic family and our public know at this time has been strongly informed by New York State government regulations, along with the advice of medical experts.”

The New York Philharmonic hopes to resume live performances on January 6, 2021. Currently, the Philharmonic is exploring options for concerts in smaller gatherings when possible. Meanwhile, the Orchestra will continue to share broadcasts of past performances and new videos featuring Philharmonic musicians through NY Phil Plays On, offering more than 150 hours of free digital content….

Programming for concerts in 2021 is subject to change. 


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  • I was actually looking forward Marek Janowski’s debut with the NYPO in November. Of course, it’s been a few month since I was under no illusion that it will be cancelled. Still…

    • Something to miss. No conductor alive has more experience conducting Wagner than Janowski. Top notch Beethoven, Brahms, and Strauss, too.

  • The stark reality is that the septuagenarian audience base was not setting foot in that hall no matter what the orchestra did on stage.

    • “The stark reality is that the septuagenarian audience base was not setting foot in that hall no matter what the orchestra did on stage.”

      Too true.

    • I am younger than that and I wasn’t going in either. This isn’t a surprise, the Met made a similar announcement. NY has been traumatized by Covid 19. We will rise again because NY always recovers, but it may take a while………..

  • If only Lincoln Center had the requisite cash on hand, it could have used this protracted forced shutdown to begin the renovation of David Geffen Hall, rather than implementing the staggered closures announced this past December and thereby leaving the NY Phil, Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, etc., homeless for months at a time in 2022-2023-2024.

    • In light of the COVID-19 pandemic New York City is still going through, I’m not convinced that renovating the hall to be smaller and more intimate (closer contact?) is the best thing to do.

      And still no pipe organ!

      • Building an actual pipe organ is in most cases a large waste of money in concert halls. They rarely are comparable in sound quality to the best instruments in churches, simply because they lack the acoustical environment to develop the typical organ sound, and they still always are out of tune with the orchestra at the end of Alpine Symphony. 🙂
        There are excellent electronic alternatives today, indistinguishable from real instruments and with more options, e.g. instantaneous tuning to any desired pitch, within a confined space. Build a prospect with actual pipes if you want the traditional looks. But spare the initial expense and subsequent yearly money drain from maintenance and tuning.

  • This all proves that having a 70+ year old CEO of one of the nation’s foremosy performing arts institutions results in vision less leadership. Time for generational change!

    • ??? Perhaps it says that a well-seasoned and respected CEO can make a rational decision after careful deliberation? Knowing Ms. Borda’s track record, she examined the problem upside down and backward. Her age is irrelevant.

      Perhaps you can come up with a workable solution for major arts organizations–rather, any public venue–under these dire circumstances? Please share.

    • You have no clue how energetic she is.
      More energy and imagination that you may ever have.
      Leave Deborah alone, she is one of a century of leaders.

      • It does take imagination to realize she can build the hall for less quicker all while paying the musicians less or maybe nothing in the process.
        It is not the only business or CEO in America to take advantage of the pandemic.

      • She is easily the most overrated “leader” in the industry. Her “vision” is to keep her musicians at home and not even to give a slight hint of imagination.

        • Again, please share your thoughts for digging out of all this? From your venom, certainly you have the answer?

  • What the Phil doesn’t say in this press release is that they are using this downtime to start the long anticipated renovation of the hall. The chances are likely they will be playing in Carnegie hall, which will be available due to the cancelled tours and concerts anyway, in January if they start playing then.

  • I was surprised to read there may be more furloughs at the New York Phil. Here’s an idea: Why doesn’t Deborah Borda, the highest paid arts administrator in the land, donate part of her $2 million plus salary back to the New York Phil’s underpaid administrative staff? While not discounting her leadership zest, I might add that considerable sums were raised towards the rebuilding of the hall before she arrived. The notion that more millions will materialize seems optimistic. Manuela Hoelterhoff

  • If any group can survive this, it’s the venerable Phil, America’s oldest orchestra! Borda will get the money from her patrons. She is one tough cookie. And if Gergen Hall renovations can be moved up earlier, then that’s all the better to ignite momentum for their return to the stage. Let’s hope it happens in January!!!! As she stated, “we must have live music for people.”

  • Years and years of digging out of this… MTA’s will need to be renegotiated. The hope of going back to normal is long gone. Orchestras will surely survive but in an altered state.
    The stable and lucrative business enjoyed by members of major US orchestras might look a lot different in the future.

  • Lucky musicians, to continue to get 75% of base salary ($2,200 a week or $105,600 per year) to do nothing.

    (While their colleagues across the plaza at the Mighty Met are furloughed.)

    Even in the upper echelons of classical music, there are the haves and have-nots, there are the 10% but then there are the 1%.

    Anyway, I guess Philharmonic management worked it out that the operating costs of putting these musicians to work (since they are being paid anyway) are still higher than any revenue they can generate.

    Ah, the strange economics of classical music: keep paying your musicians is still cheaper than putting on a concert.

  • Looks the days of the 100+ member symphony orchestra may be gone. Perhaps Ms Borda might consider a downsized version of the the group and call it the New York Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra……?

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