coronavirus in connecticut

Hartford Symphony Orchestra Furloughs Musicians, Staff Due to Pandemic

Even while the doors of the Bushnell have closed temporarily, one violinist is still bringing music to his community.

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The Hartford Symphony Orchestra has furloughed musicians and three members of the administration because of the COVID-19 pandemic, eliminated one position and reduced pay for other staff members.

The Hartford Symphony Orchestra released a statement Wednesday saying this is due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and the extension of governmental executive orders limiting large-scale events.

In August, the orchestra announced that it had canceled Masterworks and POPS! Performances through December.

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The orchestra said it is working with its musicians on alternative opportunities that will allow musicians and small groups to perform virtually and possibly in-person, depending on gathering restrictions.

“We can’t emphasize enough how appreciated the work of our musicians is, how valued they are as individuals, and how painstaking this decision-making process has been,” HSO Executive Director Steve Collins said in a statement. “The only constant throughout this period of crisis has been the uncertainty of our future on a global, national and local scale. While this uncertainty may continue, so will our resolve in protecting the HSO and providing for a bright, adaptive future.”

Keeping the Music Going

For Hartford Symphony orchestra violinist Jarek Lis music is his life and the arts is not just a paycheck but a passion.

“I love playing with people with my friends. I love sharing music with others” said Lis.

COVID-19 has put most of the things on halt.

“The pandemic has certainly upended the lives of performing musicians everywhere,” Lis said.

But even while the doors of the Bushnell have closed temporarily, Lis has brought the concert to his community with an orchestra that performs every Tuesday evening.

“The response has been incredibly moving and encouraging,” Lis said, “Those concerts here in the neighborhood provide a feeling that we are needed and included.

That sentiment is shared by countless others in the community.

Becca Rose is a local artist who's created a virtual art gallery as a fundraiser with the intention to help other artists in need

Rose explained the fundraiser saying, “It’s a small ticket price of $5 and hopefully we get a lot involvement in the community and that goes directly to many different organizations like Hartford Symphony orchestra.”

And even in this trying time Lis has a message for all fellow artists: “Never give in will get through it.”

For more information in the fundraiser, click here.

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