A statement from Michael Ullmer AO, Chairman of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

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The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s Board of Directors has this week directed MSO management to ‘hibernate’ all MSO musicians, as well as 12 administrative staff members. All affected employees will remained employed by the MSO, and the organisation hopes to see them return to their roles as soon as possible. Remaining essential employees will take a 20% reduction in salary.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and in response to economic challenges and restrictions, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra finds itself unable to continue to deliver performances of orchestral music. As a result, the MSO has lost a significant portion of its revenue, being ticket sales, as well as the flow-on effects on donations and corporate sponsorship.

The MSO remains committed to retaining its people during this period. In a letter to musicians today, Michael Ullmer AO, MSO Chairman, said:

‘’Our overriding objective is to preserve this great organisation so that it can prosper into the future, and to do this it must have the financial strength to survive this crisis. It is with great regret that we have no other option at this time other than to enact a stand down of our musicians, and we have instructed MSO management to commence a process of ‘hibernation’ effective today.’’

‘’We are grateful to the Federal and State Governments who have confirmed that the MSO will retain its core funding for the 2020 year. We also recognise the positive impact that the Federal Government’s JobKeeper program will have in supporting our many employees through this period. Our aim is to have the MSO back, up and running in the not too distant future.’’