Will This Be a Summer Without the Hollywood Bowl?

The L.A. Phil has already canceled the rest of the Walt Disney Concert Hall Season

As we settle in for the long haul of staying at home to avoid the coronavirus, the L.A. Phil today announced the cancelation of the remainder of its 2020 season at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. That extends a previous announcement of the cancelation of shows through May 10. Now questions are being raised about what might become of the summer season at the Hollywood Bowl, also managed by the orchestra.

“We’re hopeful that there will be all or some of our Hollywood Bowl season, but tours are being canceled and artists are canceling too,” L.A. Phil CEO Chad Smith told the Los Angeles Times. “We’re re-modeling it every day.”

Even hoping for a partial season might be optimistic at this point. Governor Gavin Newsom stated today that Californians should not expect to return to things like large public gatherings any time soon.

The loss of an entire Hollywood Bowl season could be a major financial blow to the L.A. Phil. Ticket sales are the organization’s largest source of revenue–followed by an endowment, which itself is in jeopardy due to stock market fluctuations–and leadership is scrambling to reduce costs.

Cuts will include layoffs of 94 employees, and pay cuts for remaining staff and musicians. Gustavo Dudamel will personally take no compensation at all during the cancellation period.

“It’s an impossible situation,” Smith told the Times. “We’re an institution that brings large groups of people together to experience music communally. That’s our entire reason for being, and in this time that’s exactly what we can’t do.”

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