Early Music America, an advocacy organization that supports the performance and study of early music, has raised more than $100,000 and distributed more than 300 grants to early musicians struggling financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds were raised by 348 donors through the EMA Relief Fund, which the organization established in March of this year and promoted with the assistance of Gotham Early Music Scene.
“The pandemic has had a devastating effect on all of the arts. Early music performers, rarely at the high end of the economic scale even during the best of times, have been hit particularly hard,” said Mark Kroll, harpsichordist, professor emeritus at Boston University, and member of Local 9-535 (Boston, MA), who helped found EMA more than 40 years ago. “Several of my younger colleagues are even having trouble paying the rent or putting food on the table. What makes matters worse is that there aren’t many places they can turn to for help. They usually don’t belong to a large musical ensemble, like a major symphony orchestra, that might be able to continue the salary of its players, even with a pay cut. Few are full-time faculty members who can depend on a university’s support.”
The EMA Relief Fund offers mini grants to its members to help relieve financial losses resulting from concert cancellations. “We can’t make up for a couple of months of loss of performance income, but we can do something, and, in doing so, set an example of community spirit and provide some hope in this time of unprecedented challenge to livelihoods, artistic expression and security,” according to the EMA website.