Tiffany Ash believes that despite the challenging situation brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, it was incredible when musicians started conducting virtual concerts on online platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.
There were cancellations of entire concert seasons, postponements of international tours, and temporary closures of concert halls, all of which forced musicians out of their jobs indefinitely. Theaters and performance halls are empty as patrons and theatergoers take shelter in their homes. But despite this situation, performing art companies and musicians pivoted into digital platforms to maintain their patrons and sponsors and allow talented artists to explore new avenues of classical music expression.
Tiffany Ash believes that musicians worldwide are longing now, more than ever, to be a part of an ensemble again. They do not only play instruments. These artists also listen and feel. They rely on the conductor and the community of instrumentalists that surrounds them. Tiffany Ash also believes that playing for an audience gives a different feeling of satisfaction for orchestra musicians. Thankfully, audiences in online platforms are always interested in watching and listening to talented musicians in an ensemble. Virtual concerts are going viral on Facebook, instilling a sense of hope in musicians that they would still find fulfillment during the quarantine. Many orchestra musicians now rely on digital platforms and technologies to reach their audiences. Some play on radio shows, video-capture plays, and their genres range from classic to concert-like musicals.
Tiffany Ash believes that the way companies approach these challenges and the organization’s size are vital in determining if performance arts will face an insurmountable setback or an opportunity to embrace new ways to reach audiences. Regional symphonies and smaller theater companies can now focus on cutting expenses and maintaining engagement with their audiences.
Although this provides stability to companies’ ledgers, the musicians are still in an incredibly challenging situation. It is uncertain when or if their jobs will ever come back. Like all the other things significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the uncertainty still hurts artists the most.