Today, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra announced the cancellation of all performances through December 2020. The decision, made in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, will affect not only the orchestra’s subscription series, but also its MusicNOW presentations, Symphony Center Presents series, and Civic Orchestra of Chicago concerts.
In a statement, Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association president Jeff Alexander expressed, “As we look ahead and make plans for ensemble concerts for the fall, we are also eager for the day when Maestro Muti and the full orchestra can come together again to share music with local, national and international audiences.”
Scrapped concerts are to include a free concert for the city in Millennium Park that was scheduled for September. In October and November, the CSO was also set to tour the Midwest with appearances in Kansas City, Missouri, and at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Those engagements have been canceled as well. Numerous guest appearances have been canceled, those include recitals by Yefim Bronfman, Joshua Bell, Ravi Coltrane, and Chanticleer, who were to be in town for their annual holiday recital.
These cancellations also mean that the CSO’s slate of programming around the 250th birth anniversary of Beethoven this December will not be able to be held in person, as planned.
At this moment, the season is set to begin in January 2021, and the orchestra’s annual fundraising event Symphony Ball will be held online. Per the statement, affected ticket holders will automatically have the value of their canceled tickets placed on their account, with the option to put that amount towards future purchases or donate it to the CSO’s Music Ahead fund. Visit cso.org/alert for more information.
The CSO will continue to share virtual content on its website. And in addition to the long-running CSO broadcast series, the orchestra has worked with WFMT to add an additional weekly broadcast series — From the CSO’s Archives: Maestro’s Choice — which is programmed by music director Riccardo Muti.