Orchestra Toronto Ends Season Early; Commits to Paying All Staff


Orchestra Toronto cancels season, commits to supporting musicians

TORONTO, ON – Orchestra Toronto announced today that, it is cancelling the rest of its 2019-20 concert season, but will continue to support its paid musicians, as well as its artistic, and administrative staff. The community orchestra, which is an orchestra in residents at the Meridian Arts Centre in North York, is also planning a series of musical events that respect social distancing requirements.

Orchestra Toronto is the city’s oldest community orchestra, comprising a community of more than 90 volunteers and a smaller core of paid professionals, conducted by Music Director Michael Newnham, who normally rehearse weekly for a five-concert series in the 1035-seat George Weston Recital Hall.

“The Board of Directors of Orchestra Toronto recognizes that our paid staff members are important members of our community. This is a difficult time, and we understand that many arts workers face serious financial losses We are proud of our Board’s unanimous decision to continue full financial support of our paid artistic and administrative staff during this extremely unusual time, said Sharyn Goldberg, Chair of the Orchestra Toronto Board of Directors. “Our artistic, administrative, and production staff have worked diligently supporting us through our seasons, and we want them to know how much we value them as members of staff and members of our community.”

The decision to continue supporting artists can be a difficult one for small arts organizations that have lost all ticket revenue for the season as COVID-19 requires them to cancel performances and events. At the same time, income supports don’t exist for many artists in the way they exist for most regular full- or part-time workers.

“As a community and as an orchestra, we are doing our best to take care of our people. Fortunately, we have some reserves, and right now, this is the most responsible thing we can do with them,” said Jennie Worden, Executive Director of Orchestra Toronto. “While we don’t have some of the resources available to larger organizations, and we are of course disappointed that we won’t be able to connect in person and perform our final two programmes for our amazing audiences, we’re really excited about what our artistic team will be able to do to help make everyone’s lives more enjoyable, while we all keep as safe as we can.”

Together with Artistic Director Michael Newnham, musicians are preparing online events to that will help fill the gap and keep artists and music lovers connected during this extended period of social distancing.


For more information, please contact:

Jennie Worden, Executive Director

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the TD Bank Group, the Toronto Arts Council, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Ontario Arts Foundation 

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