I am writing to share with you important updates about the 2020-21 season, which will unfold in a dramatically different form from what we are all used to during a season transformed from what we originally announced in early March.
As you know, the effects of Covid-19 have disrupted many plans and expectations. Across the summer, we have all borne witness to its impact on communities, families, and everyday life. For the last several months, The Cleveland Orchestra’s staff and management teams have worked with Franz Welser-Möst, the Orchestra’s dedicated musicians, and our tireless trustees to find a path that can enable us to perform a live concert season. Through all of this, we have prioritized protecting the health and well-being of everyone involved — audience, musicians, and Severance Hall personnel. In this, we have partnered with the Cleveland Clinic for specific medical advice and consultation on safety procedures and protocols.
After reviewing a variety of scenarios, we came to understand that our concert season would have to be reconfigured in new ways, both for the musicians onstage and for attending audiences.
Therefore, after careful consideration, we are replacing the concert schedule we announced last spring with a new season of concerts, and we will present the 2020-21 schedule as follows:
- Fall (beginning October 2020): the season will begin with a series of concerts performed live at Severance Hall without audiences; There will be five different concert programs performed, recorded, and then digitally-streamed and available for viewing from home. These performances will be provided for free to Orchestra subscribers and donors of $300 and more, and available to the public for purchase. We look forward to sharing additional details with you in September.; these autumn concerts will feature smaller, chamber orchestra performances (including works by Mozart, Haydn, and John Adams) performed by The Cleveland Orchestra safely spaced onstage; repertoire, guest artists, and broadcast details are being prepared currently to send to you in September.
- Winter-Spring (beginning January 2021): the winter and spring schedule of weeks will be adjusted as we are hopeful we will be able to enable subscribers only to attend Severance Hall concerts in person, beginning with socially-distanced audiences in limited numbers (with increasing number of attendees as safety guidelines permit); the calendar of concerts from January through May is being reconfigured to maximize the number of performances in each subscription package, so for most of you the size of your package will not change — schedule and ticketing details for subscribers will be sent to you in the coming months; in addition, the digital streaming of concerts, begun in the fall, will continue throughout the winter and spring, affording all subscribers the ability to enjoy the complete 2020-21 season’s performances from home.
We will be sending you more details about all of these plans in the weeks and months ahead, and we look forward to sharing the new season with you. Even in times of crisis, The Cleveland Orchestra’s focus and mission remains the same: to share music that offers solace and respite from each day’s challenges, and inspiration and hope for the future.
Through all of this, I would be remiss in not commenting on how the grim reality of this crisis is impacting The Cleveland Orchestra as an institution. This is, without question, the most significant crisis in the Orchestra’s 100-plus year history. We remain focused on our core mission of making extraordinary music to share with our community — and we are working hard to ensure that we will come back in a way that allows us to grow and continue to serve all of you and this extraordinary hometown community, who have supported us for more than a century.
We’ve heard from many of you asking how you can help. Now more than ever, your support as a subscriber or donor is an investment in The Cleveland Orchestra and the future. For those of you who are able, a new or increased gift to the Preservation Fund offers much-needed assistance toward helping us weather this crisis and ensuring the Orchestra’s future.
Thank you for being a member of The Cleveland Orchestra family. We are grateful for the interest and patience you have shown us as we work to present a season like no other. We look forward to seeing you again at Severance Hall.
Until then, stay well.
President & CEO
The Cleveland Orchestra
P.S. Throughout this summer, I hope that you have been able to visit and utilize our “@Home with The Cleveland Orchestra” resource listing and features online — including our wonderful podcast “On A Personal Note”, streamed performances from our archives in “TCO Classics”, or our many terrific educational resources. The Orchestra’s musicians have been working hard to connect and serve our community, and to help with music education opportunities. For full details, please visit: clevelandorchestra.com/athome.
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