The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra has announced that due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic it has been forced to stand down its musicians, effective as of today.

A statement from the Orchestra said that the Board of Directors has directed MSO management to “hibernate” all MSO musicians as well as 12 administrative staff. The affected employees will remain employed by MSO and it is hoped that they will return to their roles as soon as possible. The MSO is in the process of applying for the JobKeeper employee wage subsidy to pay them. The remaining “essential employees” will take a 20 percent cut in salary.

Sir Andrew Davis conducts the MSO at the 2019 Gala Opening. Photograph © Ivan Kemp

In a letter sent to the musicians yesterday, Tuesday April 13, MSO Chairman Michael Ullmer said: “Our overriding objective is to preserve this great organisation so that it can prosper into the future, and to do this it must have the financial strength to survive this crisis. It is with great regret that we have no other option at this time other than to enact a stand down of our musicians, and...