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Arts / Culture

The Florida Orchestra Season Comes To Abrupt End

a conductor and musicians playing music
The Florida Orchestra
The Florida Orchestra performing at Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg.

The Florida Orchestra on Monday officially canceled the rest of its season, as efforts to combat the spread of coronavirus made public performances unrealistic.

Orchestra CEO Mark Cantrell said in a statement that the decision to cancel more than a dozen scheduled events through May is based on the need to maintain public safety.

“We miss performing for our community immensely,” Cantrell said. “When the time is right, nothing will have more power and inspiration than The Florida Orchestra to bring us together again.”

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The Orchestra’s Board of Directors voted to continue paying its musicians and staff through May. However, it is asking season ticket holders to consider donating unused tickets to help support ongoing operations. The statement released Monday said ticket revenue accounts for 40 percent of its total budget.

Performances at venues including the Straz Center in Tampa, Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater and the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg have been on hold since March 20.

The orchestra has launched an online series of its music, including weekly broadcasts of previous live performances on Classical WSMR, 103.9 and 89.1 FM, and online at WSMR.org.

The announcement said Music Director Michael Francis and The Florida Orchestra plan to launch its concert series in the fall to start of its 2020-2021 season.

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