Houston Symphony forced to make layoffs, other budget cuts to offset projected $11M deficit

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Houston’s largest and oldest performing arts organization is fighting for survival amid the coronavirus crisis.

The Houston Symphony announced it is now forced to make layoffs and other budget cuts to offset its projected $11 million deficit in the 2020-2021 season as the organization prepares for a reduction of sales due to capacity limitations.

Additionally, the symphony experienced losses totaling $7.8 million in 2019–2020 season as a result of more than 200 canceled events.

“With COVID-19-based limitations on earned and contributed income, there are no revenue-based paths toward reaching a balanced budget in 2020–2021,” officials for the Houston Symphony said.

The symphony’s staff count will be reduced by 21 positions, from a full- and part-time staff total of 83 to 62.

Despite taking immediate pay cuts in March, staff members will now take on additional cuts to salary and benefits.

Symphony musicians are working with management to identify what their contribution will be to finish closing the deficit.

“These measures so critical to the symphony’s immediate survival will affect musicians, administrative staff, and audience alike, so support from the Houston community becomes more vitally important than ever to protect the symphony’s ability to fulfill its mission in the longer term,” officials said.

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