The Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra (A2SO) has received a grant from the United States Small Business Administration’s Shuttered Venue Operations Grant Program. The grant will work as a piece to the financial plan to enable the orchestra to present a full, in-person concert season at The Michigan Theater and the University of Michigan’s Hill Auditorium.
The grant will help enable the orchestra to present the upcoming in-person concert season at The Michigan Theater and Hill Auditorium, beginning with a September 10 performance. The performance will feature the full orchestra with works by Tchaikovsky and Brahms.
The debut concert will also launch the A2SO search for its next music director and conductor. This search was set to take place in 2020 but was previously postponed due to the pandemic. Eight conductor candidates will come to Ann Arbor over the course of the 2021-2022 season with the goal of naming the orchestra’s next artistic leader next summer.
Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra
The last in-person performance from the A2SO was in March 2020. Since that time, the orchestra has lost over 80% of its expected ticket revenue. Although the A2SO was able to perform virtual concerts, these showings were scaled-down in audience size compared to their in-person performances.
“The Ann Arbor Symphony acted quickly to develop a plan to create performance opportunities for our artists,” said A2SO Executive Director Tyler Rand. “We worked closely with our musicians to implement safety measures — including testing and distancing — which allowed them to gather safety to make music for our virtual audiences. We also collaborated with the musicians’ union to send relief payments to our artists and guaranteed payments even to those musicians who could not perform in our virtual concerts.”
In June 2020, the A2SO Board of Directors approved a two-year recovery budget plan. The plan included the increase of support from the organization’s donors and corporate sponsors as well as from government programs, such as the Paycheck Protection Program. The provided support will allow the organization to keep its full-time staff and to continue to provide community offerings, such as the virtual Teacher Resource Hub for local schools and teachers.
“We absolutely would not be able to plan for a full return to our audiences this fall without the generous support we received from our community,” said Rand “The orchestra is incredibly grateful to our donors, corporate sponsors, foundations, and to our state and local government for providing a sustainable path out of this pandemic and back to our venues.”