Orchestra continues to offer music online with "Extraordinary Measures" initiative

For Immediate Release
April 27, 2020

PITTSBURGH, PA—The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra today announced that, due to ongoing restrictions from public health and government entities related to the coronavirus pandemic, and for its concerns for the health and safety concerns of its patrons, staff and musicians, it is implementing cost-saving measures, and that concerts currently scheduled through mid-June will now be cancelled or postponed.

“We continue to find ourselves living through an unprecedented time as the situation with COVID-19 grows more challenging across the world. This crisis has hit hard the performing arts community, and the Pittsburgh Symphony is no exception,” said Melia Tourangeau, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. “While I had hoped that we would not have to change these concerts and implement cost reductions, the financial implications are clear. These are particularly difficult decisions to implement especially after everything we have accomplished over the past five years. I am grateful to our exceptional musicians for volunteering salary reductions, and I appreciate the impact that cost-saving salary reductions will have on our remarkable staff. I am humbled and grateful for the passion and dedication of the musicians, board and staff to each other, to the community and to the cause of presenting great music—it is what makes the Pittsburgh Symphony so special.”

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is taking the following actions:

Changes to its concerts through mid-June:

Concerts that are cancelled:

  • May 29-31: BNY Mellon Grand Classics “Tchaikovsky’s Pathetique”
  • June 5-7 PNC Pops: “The Doo Wop Project”
  • June 12 &14: BNY Mellon Grand Classics “Beethoven Seventh”

The Pittsburgh Symphony is working to reschedule the following concerts and encourages ticketholders to hold on to their tickets as it works on new dates:

  • June 3: Ben Folds
  • June 13: An Evening with Honeck & Mutter & Williams
Cost-saving measures including salary reductions and postponement of construction projects at Heinz Hall:
  • Melia Tourangeau, president and CEO, has volunteered a 25% salary reduction effective the beginning of May. Music Director Manfred Honeck has volunteered a 25% reduction in compensation due to loss of concerts he is conducting during this time period.
  • The Musicians have volunteered a 10% salary reduction for the months of May and June, and a 20% salary reduction for the months of July and August (which reverts to 10% if the orchestra is able to get back to work at that time).
  • Administrative staff with salaries of $100k or more will see a 10% salary reduction in May.
  • At the end of the Payment Protection Plan loan funding period at the end of June, additional salary reductions will be implemented; no employees with a salary under $60k will be affected.
  • Capital projects planned at Heinz Hall this summer will be postponed until the summer of 2021.

Extraordinary Measures Initiative:

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra continues to offer extensive online musical offerings under its “Extraordinary Measures” initiative:

  • “Bright Spots” are regularly posted videos with music and insight, self-produced by the PSO musicians. More than two dozen videos have been published, with all of the instrument families represented, and with special guest appearances such as Manfred Honeck playing in a chamber ensemble with three generations of the Honeck family.
  • Friday night concerts from the archives, hosted by Manfred Honeck, with bonus features including post-concert conversations with musicians, and a new Concert Guide. Concerts to date include video recordings of Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6, Mahler Symphony No. 5, “Tree of Life: A Concert for Peace and Unity,” and a “sneak peek” of the mastered engineered recording of Beethoven Symphony No. 6 that will be a future recording. The Beethoven audio recording is paired by curated art and photography from community partners for an enhanced video experience.
  • Educational resources, new and from the past, from PSO Learning & Community Engagement programming: Make Time for Music with Fiddlesticks! (for children ages 3-8 and their families) and Practice! Practice! Practice! (tips and technique from the PSO for Middle and High School instrumental students). In his “Practice!” video, Principal Pops Conductor Byron Stripling leads by example and urges all instrument players to invest in themselves by building a strong commitment to practicing every day.

The musical offerings can be found on the Pittsburgh Symphony’s web site and by following its social media channels:

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra would like to thank and recognize BNY Mellon for its support of Friday night concerts, and Clearview Federal Credit Union for its support of education offerings in the Extraordinary Measures initiative.

Ticket Options:

These cancellations will have a significant financial impact on the Orchestra. We are grateful for the deep generosity of our community and ask that, whenever possible, that you consider donating your tickets for a tax refund. As a nonprofit arts organization, the Pittsburgh Symphony relies on the audience we serve. By donating your tickets in lieu of a refund, you are providing vital support for the music and musicians that inspire and connect our community. Please consider donating your tickets back to the Pittsburgh Symphony and receive a donation receipt.

As a Subscriber you can contact your Patron Services Representative (PSR) directly.  We offer you the following options:

  • Donate your ticket and receive a tax credit.
  • Bank your tickets for a future concert or apply it toward your 2020-2021 season renewal.  
  • Discuss any other options with your PSR, including gift certificates and refunds.

As an individual concert ticket holder you can reach us by emailing CustomerService@pittsburghsymphony.org.  We offer the following options:

  • Donate your ticket and receive a tax credit.
  • Exchange your tickets to an upcoming performance. We are happy to exchange your tickets for one of the remaining 2019–2020 season performances of comparable value, based on availability. 
  • Discuss other options, such as a voucher, gift certificate or refund

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra would like to recognize and thank BNY Mellon for its 2019-2020 title sponsorship of the BNY Mellon Grand Classics series, marking BNY Mellon’s 19th consecutive year as title sponsor of the series. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra would like to recognize and thank PNC for its 2019-2020 title sponsorship of the PNC Pops series, marking PNC’s 19th consecutive year as title sponsor of this series. 


Media Contacts
Julie Goetz | Director of Communications
jgoetz@pittsburghsymphony.org | 412.392.4866