Portland, OR. You won’t see the Oregon Symphony tuning up (like the photo above) anytime soon. Oregon Symphony is canceling of all concerts through December 31st, 2020 due to the effects of COVID-19, affecting Portland and Salem performances. “We are deeply disappointed that we will not be performing the exciting lineup of live concerts we had planned for the beginning of the new 2020-21 season, but our primary concern is the health and safety of our audiences, musicians and employees,” says Scott Showalter, Oregon Symphony President and CEO. The decision which was announced on July 8th comes after evaluating the guidance and information shared by Gov. Brown and state health officials in regard to large gatherings of people in public spaces.
Oregon Symphony plans to resume live performances in January, maintaining the current 2021 concert schedule and will share updates as necessary. “In my 18th and final season as Music Director, I look forward to returning to the stage with our excellent Oregon Symphony musicians next year, when we can once again do what we love to do — play for our amazing community,” says Carlos Kalmar, Oregon Symphony Music Director.
In consideration of the cancelations, Oregon Symphony will continue to share recordings of past performances online, along with new musical video content featuring Oregon Symphony musicians. This June, Oregon Symphony launched two new digital series, each continuing to premiere free content: Essential Sounds and Symphony Storytime. Through these original series, Oregon Symphony continues to stay connected with their community, and share the healing power and joy of music.
Essential Sounds is a multifaceted digital program that pays an all-new musical tribute to the organizations, groups, sectors and individuals holding communities together across the nation during the pandemic. The series includes rich performances, revealing interviews and lighthearted interludes, produced across six episodes to honor frontline and essential workers who have worked tirelessly during the tragic impact of COVID-19. The first two episodes are available online now — honoring healthcare and food service workers, respectively — with the third premiering on July 12 in dedication to social services. The series airs every other Sunday at orsymphony.org/essential.
Symphony Storytime is a 13-episode digital video series designed for pre-K through elementary aged children and their families to experience popular illustrated storybooks. Each episode is entertaining and educational, and includes a great children’s story narrated by a master storyteller, with accompaniment by an Oregon Symphony musician or guest artist performing the book’s “soundtrack.” Families will learn fun details about the featured instrument, and books are in English and Spanish languages. There are nine 15-minute episodes available online now, with the final anthology released July 9, 2020.
“Thanks to the incredible support from our community, the Oregon Symphony has been a leader of the arts in Oregon for nearly 125 years,” says Showalter. “We look forward to returning in January with a variety of extraordinary concerts for the 2020-21 season, including An African American Requiem, a world premiere of Portland composer Damien Geter’s bold musical response to violence against African Americans; the continuation of our popular Kids Series, featuring entertaining and educational concerts for families; and Carlos Kalmar’s final concert conducting the Oregon Symphony, with the performance of Mahler’s colossal Symphony No. 9.”
For Ticket Holders
For tickets already purchased to canceled concerts, patrons can find information about donating the value of unused tickets, applying ticket value to a concert that has not been canceled, exchanging tickets for gift certificates or obtaining refunds for the canceled concerts by contacting Oregon Symphony Customer Service at 503-228-1353 or [email protected]. Patrons holding a subscription that includes canceled concerts can also apply the value of their ticket(s) to a 2021-22 season subscription, and secure the same seat locations. Those who are in the position to do so are encouraged to make an additional gift to support the Oregon Symphony online at orsymphony.org/support-us/give.
About Oregon Symphony
The multi-Grammy Award-nominated Oregon Symphony ranks as one of America’s major orchestras. Led by Music Director Carlos Kalmar, it serves more than 235,000 people annually through concerts and award-winning education and community engagement programs. The Oregon Symphony has broken attendance and fundraising records in recent years, while innovating on stage through new series such as SoundSights, Sounds of Home and SoundStories. As 2019-20 marks its 123rd season, the Oregon Symphony is the oldest orchestra in the western United States. For more information, visit www.orsymphony.org.