SF Symphony cancels all 2020 performances, enacts pay cuts, furloughs and layoffs

San Francisco Symphony, SF Symphony

The San Francisco Symphony with music director Michael Tilson Thomas, during rehearsal at Davies Symphony Hall on Wednesday morning, November 2, 2016.

The San Francisco Symphony today announced the cancelation of all concerts through Dec. 31 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that the anticipated debut of incoming Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen will also be delayed. The decision was largely based on the state’s reopening guidelines laid out by Gov. Gavin Newsom, which places the SF Symphony in the fourth and final phase of reopening, the dates for which have not been specified.

All concerts from Sept. 30 through Dec. 31, 2020 have been canceled and will not be rescheduled. Concerts in the spring and earlier in the summer were previously canceled.

“We know this action is necessary in order to ensure the health and safety of our Orchestra, Chorus, staff, and audiences,” symphony CEO Mark C. Hanson said in a news release.

The order appears to have come directly from San Francisco leaders. The city operates Davies Hall. Earlier this week, the San Francisco Opera also canceled its fall 2020 season.

Additionally, SF Symphony announced that some employees have been laid off, some have been furloughed, and that employees making $75,000 or more have agreed to temporary pay cuts.

The symphony will also permanently close its resale shop, Repeat Performance, on Fillmore Street on July 31.

Ticketholders are encouraged to donate the cost of their tickets back to the San Francisco Symphony or to ask for gift certificates for the value of their tickets, to be used for future performance. This will help the nonprofit organization remain viable. Some of the symphony’s donors will be matching donations, which will double the impact.



Patrons who opt for gift certificates will receive a 20-percent credit applied to their gift certificate based on the value of tickets they had purchased for use in future concerts. These credits won’t expire.

All requests for ticket donations, gift certificates and refunds for the 2019-20 season must be received by Aug. 31. Exchanges and refunds for the 2020-21 season must be made by Aug. 31, 2021. For assistance, please contact the Box Office by phone at 415-864-6000 between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, or email patronservices@sfsymphony.org.

A small number of concerts that have been previously announced as postponed will be rescheduled for a later date. Ticketholders for those performances may hold onto their tickets until a new date is confirmed.

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