Update: On April 17, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston issued furlough notices to 301 employees, fewer than the 340 initially predicted.

This week, Jared Bowen updates us on the status of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston with MFA Director Matthew Teitelbaum. Plus, “Songs of Comfort” from Silkroad, a viral performance from students at Berklee College of Music and the nominations for the 38th annual Elliot Norton Awards.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston will remain closed until July 1

Jared spoke with the Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Matthew Teitelbaum to discuss the state of the museum world during the coronavirus quarantine. Earlier in April, the MFA announced it would remain closed through June 30 due to the ongoing pandemic, which Teitelbaum says will result in millions of dollars in lost revenue.

“We know already by the end of June, we will have an unprecedented deficit of between $12-14 million,” says Teitelbaum. “We have not had a deficit in 21 years…We are now confronting something which [is] far beyond our control.”

Due to the ongoing closure, the MFA plans to furlough 340 staff members whose salaries will be covered by unemployment benefits and financial aid from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. In addition to these cuts, Teitelbaum plans to temporarily reduce his own salary by 30%. The director also said the MFA’s Cy Twombly exhibition planned for July will likely be postponed two years and a Basquiat show scheduled for spring will be postponed until either this summer or next year.

“Silkroad Home Sessions,” the international music ensemble is recording virtual performances during quarantine

The Grammy Award-winning musicians of Silkroad, an international music ensemble co-founded by Yo-Yo Ma, are performing their music virtually. In response to the Coronavirus quarantine, Silkroad musicians have launched home sessions of classical music in a project Yo-Yo Ma has titled “Songs of Comfort.”

“I think our audience in this moment is in need of a huge range of things,” says Co-Artistic Director and violist Nicholas Cords. “They need to be healed, the need to feel hope, the need to feel some sense of… reflection in the moment.” The short musical performances are presented live on Silkroad’s Facebook and Instagram platforms.

Berklee students go viral with a virtual rendition of “What The World Needs Now Is Love”

If anything positive can be taken from the coronavirus quarantine, it’s the wealth of creative, viral videos that have sprung up in its wake. Even though her campus is closed, Boston Conservatory at Berklee senior composition major Shelbie Rassler organized her classmates into a virtual orchestra for a performance of Burt Bacharach and Hal David's "What the World Needs Now Is Love.”

Performed by some 75 fellow students from Boston Conservatory at Berklee and Berklee College of Music, the video has become a smash hit online and has been viewed more than 1.7 million times since being posted on March 22.

“The second day that it was uploaded, I started receiving messages from people all around the world,” says Rassler. “Just hearing that it's been spread around the world and that people are finding comfort in it, like I couldn't ask for anything more. It's just incredible.”

The Elliot Norton Awards announce their 2020 nominees

The Boston Theater Critics Association has announced the nominees for the 38th annual Elliot Norton Awards. Several local institutions had strong showings this year, including the Huntington Theatre Company, Moonbox Productions, Central Square Theater’s Nora Theatre Company and Underground Railway Theater.

This year’s ceremony will take place virtually on Monday, May 11 at 7:00 p.m. The ceremony is free for all who wish to watch. A complete list of the nominees can be found here.

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