Where US orchestras stand right now on Covid concerts

Where US orchestras stand right now on Covid concerts


norman lebrecht

March 24, 2021

Results of a survey from the League of American Orchestras:

23% of orchestras are currently offering performances with a live, in-person audience.
Over two-thirds (67%) are offering streaming performances.
43% of respondents anticipated resuming concerts with live, in-person audiences in the early fall, (17% in September and 26% in October).
Programming next year will continue to be weighted somewhat toward chamber orchestra and small ensembles (64% and 58% respectively) more than full-orchestra performances (49%). The largest-budget orchestras are an exception: 80% are anticipating programming for full orchestra.
Orchestras are expecting halls to be on average at 42% of capacity when audiences return in person.
Not all orchestras have been able to perform this year, though: nearly one-third (28%) are not offering any performances—live or streamed. And for smaller-budget orchestras that rises to 56%.



  • Burnham says:

    With COVID on its way down, we are awaiting the return of a different kind of pest.

    • José Bergher says:

      Or, quite possibly, the debut of a very long series of pests, each pest named after a country and lasting about two years.

  • Shaun Salami says:

    This is good. We have to stay safe even if it destroy our industry.

  • Monsoon says:

    Given the average age of orchestra and opera patrons in the U.S., I’m skeptical how many vaccinated senior citizens are going to want to pack into concert halls this fall.

    Has the League of American Orchestras surveyed patrons to see when they think audiences will be ready to return?

    • Karl says:

      I’ve gotten e-mails from Albany, Boston and Montreal asking if I would go back to live performances. YES I would is my response.

  • Couperin says:

    Buffalo Philharmonic is killin’ it right now! Meanwhile NY Phil is like a pathetic string orchestra in comparison.

  • Karl says:

    I’m not aware of any orchestras within 200 miles of me that have a live, in-person audience.

  • CarlD says:

    The Florida Orchestra has been doing 25% capacity live concerts, mostly of scaled down symphonic works, and also stream a select number for free. Audiences — mostly comprised of seniors — have supported the series well. The way it works at Mahaffey Theatre, they sell every other seat in every other row. Works out well IMHO. No clear if they are in the black on the performances and I haven’t seen any disclosure of the orchestra’s pay arrangements. But my sense is the reduced number needed for the performances perhaps allows them roughly to break even, thanks to some additional donations for the streaming programs.

  • fflambeau says:

    Actually, I think in the long run the Covid crisis will help orchestras because most found ways to live stream and reach audiences, and donors, they did not have before.

  • jt says:

    Atlanta also seems to be doing quite well.

  • The Tokyo Sinfonia has been performing for live socially-distant audiences with our regular players (19 strings) and repertoire intact. For more than a year now though we have been unable to present any guest artists from abroad.

  • Who really cares? says:

    Classical music is un-American anyway