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Knoxville Symphony Orchestra postpones upcoming season until February 2021, furloughs musicians, staff

All Knoxville Symphony Orchestra musicians will be furloughed beginning Aug. 31. Administrative staff will be furloughed starting Sept. 14.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra announced that the 2020-21 season start will be postponed until 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

Concerts previously scheduled for the remainder of 2020 have been canceled out of concern for the health and safety of patrons, musicians and staff, according to a release from KSO.

All Knoxville Symphony Orchestra musicians will be furloughed beginning Aug. 31 and will remain so through Jan. 31, 2021, according to KSO. The orchestra also will furlough most of its administrative staff starting Sept. 14.

The Symphony’s management team and board of directors said they made the decision after weeks of review, including guidelines from public health officials, survey responses from KSO patrons and industry best practices.

“This was a heart-wrenching decision,” KSO Executive Director Rachel Ford said. “We know how many people enjoy and support the Symphony and what music and the arts mean to our community. This is the viable path forward that will allow the KSO to prioritize the health and safety of staff, musicians and audiences while ensuring that the Symphony survives in the short term in our community.

“Continuing forward with our current costs and substantially reduced revenues is not financially feasible. This decision will allow us to sustain the KSO over the long term and not allow a pandemic to bring an end to our region’s longest continuously performing orchestra.”

The cancellations cover 24 performances of the KSO’s multiple concert series as well as educational and community outreach programs. Some educational concerts will be postponed to 2021, according to KSO.

KSO said ticket holders will have the option to donate the value of canceled concerts to help support the Symphony or request a refund.

For ticket assistance, visit the KSO’s website to access an online form or email boxoffice@knoxvillesymphony.com.

“We are incredibly grateful to any patrons who consider donating the cost of their tickets to help sustain the orchestra during this time,” Ford said. “Please know that every dollar will ensure that we come out of this pandemic in a position to continue our mission to bring excellent live music to East Tennessee audiences of all ages.”

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