Shutdowns of public events and shelter-in-place orders for the current virus pandemic have hit the local classical music performing community hard.
Groups running autumn-to-spring seasons have already canceled the remainder of their concerts for this season. Predictions of when normal events will be able to resume are murky. Here is a rundown of what local groups currently have scheduled for the future and what they’re doing in the meantime instead, as of press time.
The Peninsula Symphony, under music director Mitchell Sardou Klein, is trying to keep active. Its March program featuring the touring Violins of Hope in Jewish music by Mendelssohn, Bloch and Prokofiev has been rescheduled to Sept. 11-12, venues to be announced. Next year’s season, running from October to May, has already been announced. It will kick off with an all-Beethoven program with pianist Orion Weiss and include an all-American program with vernacular-influenced music by Gershwin, Ferde Grofé and Michael Thurber. Also, pianist Jon Nakamatsu will play Tchaikovsky on an all-Russian program.
Meanwhile, Peninsula Symphony is putting up a series of five- to 10-minute “Your Weekly Escape” videos on YouTube. These include educational videos demonstrating instruments and a performance by a small ensemble, via mixing and social media from the individual musicians’ homes, of the slow movement from Beethoven’s Second Symphony. Videos are at youtube.com/user/ThePeninsulasymphony. The symphony is also conducting its Young Musicians’ Competition and Irving Klein International String Competition via online performances. The first-place winner, violinist Ajay Mallya from Bellarmine, will perform with the symphony at a future date once regular concerts resume.
The Redwood Symphony has canceled the remainder of its season through June. It still has its summer concerts on the schedule, but those have to be marked as doubtful. Even next season’s plans are still tentative. Music director Eric K has been busy reworking these. He gave some relief to the uncertainty by announcing an April Fool’s joke schedule on the symphony’s Facebook page, which has been active with updates. The current real schedule for next season, running September to June, includes concertos by Philip Glass, John Adams and Claudia Montero, as well as full-length favorites by Beethoven, Brahms, Bizet, Debussy, Sibelius and Prokofiev.
The Music@Menlo summer season, scheduled for July 17-Aug. 8 and featuring music by Joseph Haydn, is still under preparation and selling tickets. The festival has announced that it is monitoring the public health situation and will notify the public if there is any change in plans.
Master Sinfonia is postponing its March and May concerts until next season. These concerts under music director David Ramadanoff will feature a violin concerto by Prokofiev and a flute concerto by Carl Nielsen, plus symphonies by Beethoven and Sibelius.
Stanford Live has, by stages, canceled all its performances through June. It has, in its place, put up what it calls a digital season, free copies of videos by many of the performers who were scheduled for the later part of this season. These include full-length and brief concerts, lectures and films by pianist Lang Lang, performers from the Sounds of Cuba and Bang on a Can series and many others. Links are at live.stanford.edu/2020-digital-season.
Ragazzi Boys Chorus is not currently holding any concerts, but is active in shelter-in-place rehearsals and training, with director Kent Jue and other group leaders sending accompaniment tracks to the members and evaluating the videos that the boys send back. The leaders see this as actually a golden opportunity to work with the singers individually and keep their voices in shape for when concerts can resume.
Chamber Music San Francisco’s Palo Alto season has rescheduled its May concert with violinist Sarah Chang performing the Four Seasons of Vivaldi and Piazzolla to a special non-subscription concert in May of 2021, along with its regular winter-spring season next year.
The New Century Chamber Orchestra has canceled its May concert, but currently plans to perform its August concert. The Palo Alto Philharmonic has tentatively rescheduled its May concert for December. Philharmonia Baroque, Masterworks Chorale, Music at Kohl Mansion and the Ives Collective have canceled the remainder of their seasons.