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New York Philharmonic
Photograph: Courtesy Chris Lee

The New York Philharmonic just canceled the rest of its season

The New York Philharmonic follows other cultural institutions in canceling its season.
Written by
Shaye Weaver

Music lovers will have to go without the New York Philharmonic until next summer.

It's been a pretty harrowing fall for New Yorkers who crave the performing arts. In September, the Metropolitan Opera canceled its entire spring season and last week, the Broadway League said theaters will be dark at least until June. If those weren't enough of a hit, this week, the New York Philharmonic announced that it has canceled its concerts through June 2021.

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Ticket holders to concerts between March 12, 2020 and June 13, 2021 and season subscribers have been asked to contact customer relations for any questions. But the institution asks them to consider donating the value of their tickets rather than getting a refund because the Philharmonic is facing a "significant loss of revenue."

"Today we share news that we did our best to avert, but reality has intervened," wrote the NY Phil's CEO and President Deborah Borda in an open letter. "In the 178-year history of our institution, the cancellation of an entire season marks a historic first and a dreadful one at that. If you are disappointed, please know how devastated we all are by this turn of events. The health and financial challenges, indeed the experiential challenges we all face, are profound."

Even by laying off half of its administrative staff, canceling its fall concerts and cutting salaries by up to 30 percent, the Philharmonic still would have a deficit of about $10 million for the fiscal year that ended in August, according to The New York Times.

In the seven months since the shutdown, the orchestra has shifted to streaming performances online for free, but that has not paid any bills.

Nonetheless, it'll continue doing so until things get better.

"The Philharmonic didn’t survive and indeed flourish for nearly two centuries by giving up, so we won’t now!" Borda wrote. "We hope you'll help us work our way back to the stage and push the boundaries of what is possible with live and digital performances."

Bord said to expect more NY Phil Bandwagon (live performances from a truck) in the spring, an expanded orchestral live streaming series this winter and more of the free NY Phil Plays On. She said she expects the NY Phil will announce its 2021–22 season in the spring of 2021.

You can donate to the NY Phil Plays On Fund, which is aiming to raise $1.5 million by December 31, here.

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