More area presenters announce summer and fall plans

Thu Jun 25, 2020 at 10:18 am

As the Kennedy Center announced it will stay shuttered until next year, more area presenters and organizations have announced their summer cancellations and plans for alternative programming.

The National Orchestral Institute at the University of Maryland, a training program for young instrumental musicians, will not meet in person at all. The musicians will meet with mentors virtually, with some conversations made available to the public, alongside concerts performed by last year’s group of young musicians.

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is selling subscriptions for its 2020-2021 season, beginning in September. Likewise Candlelight Concert Society is now selling tickets for its new season, announced as starting on September 26. Washington Concert Opera currently has tickets on sale for a three-opera season, starting on September 13 with the postponed performance of Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra.

Virtual programming has been the solution for other organizations. The Library of Congress has cancelled all public programs, including its free concert series, through September 1. In its place it offers the Boccaccio Project, ten days of online performances featuring new brief solo works, composed and performed by pairs of musicians and premiered online. The National Gallery of Art has announced that it will host no group public programming, including its free concert series, for the remainder of 2020.

Washington Performing Arts has decided that it will present no live concerts with audiences for the entire 2020-2021 season. This fall it will livestream performances by local musicians, and starting in 2021, it will offer a subscription-based series of online performances at reduced prices.

Other ensembles that have indicated they will likely be entirely online in the fall include the vocal trio Eya and PostClassical Ensemble. Others, like Washington Bach Consort and Opera Lafayette, have delayed announcing their plans for next season.

Vocal Arts DC conducted a survey of subscribers, which helped clarify their plans for next season. With 58% of subscribers answering the survey, 80% of them stated they had “a strong aversion toward returning to live concerts until a vaccine is widely available,” according to general director Peter Russell.

As a result, in the 2020-2021 season Vocal Arts DC will offer “a series of pre-recorded concerts with the best video/audio we can muster,” Russell explained, “recorded all over Europe and North America, wherever it’s most convenient to the artists with whom we’ve had verbal agreements.”

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