With audiences turning to streaming to access music and the arts while mass gatherings are banned to slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, a new initiative run by Melbourne musicians hopes to sustain local artists whose livelihoods have been impacted by the crisis. Chris Howlett and Adele Schonhardt have teamed up to create the Melbourne Digital Concert Hall, which will open its virtual doors on March 27.

Zoe Knighton Cellist Zoe Knighton will be one of the musicians performing for Melbourne Digital Concert Hall

The project is designed to support musicians (and their audiences) who have been affected by cancellations and postponements. “It’s decimated the industry and if schools get closed and teaching stops, then it will be even worse,” Howlett tells Limelight. “There has been a lot of publicity about the major organisations but not as much about the independent artists who live on the $160 per call lifestyle or from recital to recital fee and even less about the sound engineers, piano tuners and stage managers that have also lost their income. When you receive anywhere between $500 and $1500 for a recital, there isn’t a lot of reserve money...

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