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Carnegie Hall Closes Until Fall 2020

April 2, 2020 | By Susan Elliott, Musical America

Carnegie Hall has joined the slow but steady stream of organizations closing their seasons prematurely due to COVID-19. On Thursday, the venerable institution moved its previously announced closure date of May 10 through the summer and into fall. It will not reopen until the start of next season, on October 7, 2020.

Summer plans for its three National Youth Orchestras—NYOUSA, NYO2, and NYO Jazz—have not been entirely scuttled, however. Organizers are still expecting members of each of the groups to start arriving for training sessions at Purchase College in Westchester on July 1. Overseas tours, however—including NYO Jazz’s to South Africa—have been cancelled. The groups will instead "share their music-making with local audiences through activities centered around their residency at Purchase College.”

It’s anyone’s guess as to whether parents will be onboard with NYOUSA’s plans.

The revenue loss to Carnegie Hall—especially from rentals during graduation season—is estimated at $9 million on an annual operating budget of $104 million. The fiscal year closes June 30.

“Almost overnight, recent events have shattered everyone’s world in unprecedented ways,” said Executive and Artistic Director Clive Gillinson. “It will take considerable time, even after we reopen Carnegie Hall, before we can expect to see a full recovery, and, even then, this is likely to be over an extended period. With this in mind, we are taking immediate steps to safeguard the fiscal health of our institution as well as plan creatively for the future.”

That means that decisions about future programming and operations at the hall will be guided by economic conditions.


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