Be a part of our story: A letter from Holly Mathieson

Dear friends,

I am so grateful for the commitment of music lovers here in Nova Scotia – the donors, volunteers, and supporters who are so passionate about creativity, artistry, and live performance. You have given so much of yourselves over the years to ensure that Symphony Nova Scotia continues to thrive and evolve. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Your commitment has never been more evident and meaningful as during this past year. The pandemic has had immediate and long-lasting impacts on your orchestra – in almost 40 years of serving you, we’ve never experienced a challenge this drastic or disruptive. However, thanks in part to outstanding generosity from donors like you, we have been able to maintain financial stability throughout the pandemic, and keep our musicians and staff employed, while finding creative ways to maintain our presence in our community.

These new initiatives have included free condensed concerts, partnerships with other local arts organizations, and a wholehearted investment in digital offerings. Our flagship “Fusion Sessions” online concerts have offered a rich opportunity to celebrate the diverse talents in Nova Scotia, reaching a half-million viewers around the world to date. We’ve also embraced inclusive programming like Classical Munchkins at the IWK, our online “Symphony 101” series, and our “Enough Room” podcast. Together, we are building stronger local and online connections, and learning how to even better meet the needs of our community.

Holly MathiesonBut as we look ahead, we know there are major challenges to come. Returning to live concert performance is a very costly effort – the instant we turn the lights on to begin rehearsing, we are spending money with no guaranteed return. In the past, we have depended on dozens of sold-out concerts to help cover our expenses – but with social distancing restrictions likely to stay with us for some time to come, and with many government support programs soon ending, we expect our return to “normal” will also bring serious financial difficulties.

These challenges will impact your orchestra artistically as well. In times of financial need, the safest route is usually to present the most conservative and risk-averse programming possible, at the highest possible prices. However, we hope you join us in recognizing that this is not a viable or meaningful long-term plan. It doesn’t build upon what we’ve achieved this past year. It doesn’t share music with new, young, or underprivileged audiences, or allow for learning and creativity, or help your orchestra become a relevant, responsive asset to our community. It doesn’t allow for flexible digital engagement, collaborations with emerging composers, or connections with a rich diversity of local artists and audiences.

With your support, we believe we have the awareness, the work ethic, and the drive to move Symphony Nova Scotia forward. We believe we can show how creatively an orchestra can embrace its purpose, its audience, and its community. We believe we can challenge ourselves to break apart barriers, embrace the deeper value of the arts, and work together to help make Nova Scotia an even better and brighter place to work, learn, and thrive.

But we need you to be part of this story. As a generous donor and music lover, you know that it’s about more than just watching a concert together on a Thursday night. It’s about sharing, learning, nurturing connections, and expressing and celebrating our culture and our community. It’s about finding meaning and joy. And it’s also about the work your orchestra does to care for people, connect with people, and bring people together.

With your help, we can set a new path beyond this pandemic. We can take all we’ve learned this past year, and make even better choices. We can choose how we respond to our culture and current environment, and how we grow and change. We can choose what we believe in, and who we become next – together.

As you consider your gift for 2021, make your donation about all the possibilities. Consider the spirit of innovation, and the spark of creativity generated through collaboration. Think of all the ways your orchestra and your entire community will continue to grow and evolve. It’s the promise of an adventure, and a journey shared between friends. Come join us.


Holly Mathieson
Music Director, Symphony Nova Scotia

P.S. Thank you again for taking your orchestra into your lives and under your responsibility. I’m sure you’re well aware that the impact of your giving goes far beyond your own enjoyment at concerts. You are giving a gift to your whole community. Thank you.