Updated: November 17, 2020

This is a rapidly changing situation, and recommended actions may be highly-specific to your location. Check your state and local health agencies for guidance specific to your location.


Quick Links to What's on This Page


A Letter from the League President and CEO to Members Regarding the COVID-19 Crisis, 4/15/20

A Letter from the League President and CEO to Members Regarding the COVID-19 Crisis, 3/13/20


League Member Discussion Group

The League has created a dedicated discussion group on its League360 platform for members to exchange questions and information regarding the coronavirus outbreak. Members may sign up for the discussion group here. (EDs, General Managers, and HR, PR, Marketing, and Operations staff were automatically subscribed; they may unsubscribe within the channel settings if they wish. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for help.)


Executive 1:1 Consultations
To complement peer group calls among our members, the League has assembled a group of experienced leaders from a variety of types and sizes of orchestras to be available to executive directors of member orchestras for 1 on 1 consultations.  These leaders, who have volunteered to help and have worked through crises before, are eager to support others in any aspect of leading an orchestra through the challenges of the pandemic.  Please find details in a message from Jesse Rosen, President and CEO of the League, in your League360 discussion group.


Federal Assistance

Community by community, the impact of COVID-19 is variable and rapidly changing. The League of American Orchestras has been a leading voice as orchestras join advocates in the arts and nonprofit sectors nationwide seeking federal relief that will protect their substantial workforce and safeguard their essential service to communities in the wake of unprecedented closures and event cancellations. Forms of federal disaster relief that have traditionally been more limited are now expanded to offer opportunities for the nonprofit sector and workers in the gig economy, like many self-employed musicians, to find support amidst the COVID-19 crisis. The League provides the following resource page to help orchestras keep informed.

League of American Orchestras COVID-19 Federal Assistance Overview

League Overview of December 2020 Relief Provisions


Legal Assistance

The League is offering members individualized technical assistance from qualified legal experts on COVID-19 relief at a steeply discounted rate. See our web page on this service.


ArtsReady Resources

ArtsReady is an online service by and for arts and culture nonprofits, and provides ongoing guidance in support of emergency preparation. The ArtsReady homepage features advice specific to the coronavirus, including consideration of how to review what is covered by insurance policies. It was recently updated to feature a number of free webinars that will be of interest to orchestras. 



BoardSource, a national nonprofit dedicated to helping other nonprofits strengthen board governance, has dedicated webpages on the board’s role in the COVID-19 crisis.  They include:

At the bottom of this page, you’ll find a sign-up form for their free newsletter, which we highly recommend.



Seattle Symphony Coronavirus Message to Concert Attendees
Seattle Symphony Coronavirus FAQ (PDF)
Webinar from Seattle Symphony staff on developing COVID-19 messaging


Fundraising and Marketing

Many consultants are now publishing articles online and offering webinars. Check in with your favorite consultant.  Some are offering free consultations.  Here are a few we like, along with a link to the resources offered by the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Free Consultations

  • “Cascading concert cancellations and postponements have disrupted orchestras and opera companies. I worked with seven organizations just yesterday on crafting announcements, developing patron options, and beginning a recovery plan. No two were alike; each had its own set of circumstances. Your situation will also be unique, and I am pleased to share the experiences of this past week to help you find a response specific for you. We will be offering this service FREE to orchestras, opera companies, and festivals beginning immediately. Please feel free to contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . (I will be available even over this weekend. Timing is critical.) I can promise that your challenges will spark creative thinking and solutions that will last beyond this difficult period. I am delighted to help during this difficult time.
  • “With the expanding number of performance cancellations and postponements for arts organizations, there is a rapidly-growing need to raise additional funds. So, now through March 31, RSC is eager to offer a FREE 1-hour phone consultation session that will allow us to explore your current situation and then provide actionable steps that you can take to raise contributed funds during this difficult time. Speaking with over a dozen clients this week, we have crafted several customized fundraising approaches to help replace the unexpected loss in revenue. If your organization is in a similar situation, RSC wants to be part of the solution. This is RSC’s way of giving back in a time of need, so if we can assist your organization, please reach out to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or visit our website at” 

Beth Kanter
A curated collection
Covid-19 Nonprofit & Philanthropy Resources

Big Duck (communications and fundraising firm)

Capacity Interactive

CCS Fundraising

The Chronicle of Philanthropy

PR Boutiques International

Robert Swaney Consulting

TRG Arts 

Turn Two Communications

The Veritus Group


International Artists and Travel by Orchestras

The coronavirus is impacting international tours and engagements with international artists travelling to the U.S. As communicated by public health officials, it is important to separate facts from fear and guard against stigma. Following are resources regarding travel advisories and global cases of the coronavirus.

Artists from Abroad Update: Coronavirus 30-Day Ban on Travel to U.S. for Europe’s Schengen Area Citizens Effective March 14, 2020

CDC Risk Assessment by Country

Johns Hopkins Global Case Tracker


Streaming and Online Learning Events

The League of American Orchestras has created Symphony Spot (, a one-stop hub of League member orchestra livestreams, videos, and digital learning events.

Orchestras are rapidly considering how they can continue to serve their communities through streamed concerts and digital learning events.An agreement has been reached between the leaders of many U.S. orchestras and the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada, the musicians’ union, which will allow orchestras whose communities are impacted by the COVID-19 crises to more easily offer audio or audio-visual streaming of certain performances to their audiences. As a service of the League, member orchestras with questions about planning, strategy, and production may contact electronic media consultants, Michael Bronson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Joe Kluger at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Gathering Again: Business Continuity and Infectious Disease Planning for Events

TunesFlow Study by Rice University and Houston Symphony 

Rice University has paired with the Houston Symphony to explore ways for musicians to perform together safely during the pandemic. The study seeks to contribute to existing empirical data on aerosolization and playing wind instruments and singing. Read its preliminary recommendations on ventilation, distancing, masks, and air flow released by Rice Computational Imaging Lab. 

Minnesota Orchestra musicians and University of Minnesota researchers collaborate on new study

In collaboration with musicians from the Minnesota Orchestra, researchers at the University of Minnesota have conducted a study contributing to the growing body of research on wind instruments and COVID-19. The research suggests that body temperature can create a “thermal plume” that lifts aerosols upwards, as outlined in a Star Tribune article. The article states that “an upcoming report will offer suggestions on how to address any risks created by the plume, including a filter above the musicians that could entrap 95% of the particles, and a reduction in temperature that could drive the particles farther upward and out of harm’s way.” Findings also include a categorization of instruments by risk level, as detailed in an initial report found in the Journal of Aerosol Science.

New air flow study informs plans on resuming live orchestra concerts

Two chemical engineering professors at the University of Utah, Tony Saad and James Sutherland, recently conducted a study on the airflow of Abravanel Hall – home to the Utah Symphony. Their analysis investigated the air flow interactions between wind instruments and the HVAC system. In order to maximize the amount of the wind instruments’ emissions that are drawn out of the auditorium by the air current during a performance, the scientists recommended strategies such as rearranging the orchestra’s seating and reinforcing the flow dynamics of the HVAC system. Their research showed that adopting all these recommendations "can reduce the potential concentration of the virus on stage by more than a hundred times." Listen to an interview with Professors Saad and Sutherland on KUER.

International Coalition of Performing Arts Organizations Aerosol Study

The third round of preliminary results from the Performing Arts Aerosol Study have been released. Key findings indicate that wearing an appropriate mask and using recommended bell covers can decrease aerosol emissions from between 60 to 90 percent when playing wind instruments, and that using plexiglass partitions can interfere with HVAC systems in rooms. Visit the study site for additional video presentations, updated data, and new CFD modeling.

The second set of preliminary findings from a study on aerosol rates and accumulation from wind instruments and voice was released August 6, 2020, providing preliminary guidance on returning to in-person rehearsals while mitigating the risks associated with COVID-19. The research is being conducted at the University of Colorado and the University of Maryland, and is commissioned by an international coalition of performing arts organizations, including the League. While the findings have yet to be validated, the results so far explore aerosol flow and emissions for the clarinet, oboe, flute, trumpet, horn, low brass, and voice; provide measurements for different mitigation techniques; provide initial modeling of COVID-19 particle concentrations in indoor and outdoor scenarios; and offer general considerations for safer rehearsal practices. The research team cautions that these preliminary results have not yet been tested or peer reviewed, and that final results will not be available until December.  The League is actively monitoring this study and will communicate more findings as they become available.

Event Safety Alliance Reopening Guide

As municipal officials begin to allow small groups of people to gather in public even while the fight against COVID-19 continues, there is a tremendous need for guidance how small events and venues can reopen as safely as possible under these incredibly challenging circumstances.  In response, the Event Safety Alliance released in mid-May 2020 The Event Safety Alliance Reopening Guide.  

Opening Up America Again – White House guidance to states and regions, issued on April 16, 2020.

How Futurists Cope With Uncertainty–This is a tool you can use to see plausible future states early from Amy Webb, a renowned futurist who spoke at the League’s 2016 Conference.

The Event Safety Alliance hosted a March 4 webinar outlining eight steps that should be taken by organizations that host public events. The guidance is specific to the coronavirus outbreak, and also describes emergency preparation strategies that are important to adopt on an ongoing basis. 


Research and Reports

Interactive Tool now available for Culture Track’s Culture+Community in a Time of Crisis

LaPlaca Cohen and Slover Linett Audience Research have released an interactive tool to allow for in-depth explorations into their project Culture + Community in a Time of Crisis: A Special Edition of Culture Track. Between April 29 and May 19, 2020, approximately 124,000 respondents and 653 cultural organizations provided data for this, including 76 orchestras. This tool conveys information on six topic areas: demographics, cultural affinity, pandemic experiences, digital engagement, future desires, and supporting cultures, and can be viewed by overall respondents, as well as by members or subscribers. New features such as filtering by cultural engagement genres, race, and ethnicity will be added

New report estimates COVID-19’s economic impact on the arts

The Brookings Institution released a report in August, 2020 titled “Lost art: Measuring COVID-19’s devastating impact on America’s creative economy,” by Richard Florida and Michael Seman. They conclude that, within the creative sector, “the fine and performing arts industries will be hit hardest, suffering estimated losses of almost 1.4 million jobs and $42.5 billion in sales” from April 1 through July 31. The report further details the estimated impact by creative industry, occupation, and regions.


CDC Coronavirus Planning Guides

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have issued guidance to help businesses and employers prepare for the potential spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) within the United States. The CDC has prepared materials specifically for employers, and community-based organizations. Here is a collection of current resources: