Hawaii Symphony Intact, Looks To Next Season

May 15, 2020

They say the first year of a job is the toughest. That may be especially true for Dave Moss, who took charge of the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra just before stay-at-home orders cancelled its season.

Dave Moss landed on Oahu March 6 for his new job as executive director of the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra. Just days later, he was trying to figure out how to lead the nonprofit as stay-at-home orders canceled HSO concerts and normal office operations. Moss is getting to know his team through video chats.

Despite the startling start, Moss says he’s “never felt more excited to join an organization.” HSO, which normally has a $5 million operating budget, was able to secure $725,000 in the first round of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program. This allowed it to keep all 95 of its employees, including 64 core musicians, on the payroll through the performance season. Twelve concerts, originally scheduled for April through June have been canceled.

Meanwhile, the symphony is staying present in Hawaii life by performing weekly here at Hawaii Public Radio, and by taking its master class education program online.

Moss and the board are concentrating on fundraising and planning for the next season, slated to begin in October, while keeping an eye on what restrictions might still be in place that could impact the experience.

Moss says HSO intends to be more of statewide organization, living up to its name, by pursuing new performance venues. On Oahu, these include Hawaii Theater Center and the Waikiki Shell.