The New Haven Symphony Orchestra (NHSO) Board of Directors announces that the programming and concerts originally planned for the remainder of 2020 is not compatible with COVID-19 health and safety guidelines and that the NHSO will not perform as a full orchestra until after December 31, 2020.
Music Director Alasdair Neale says, “The New Haven Symphony is the fourth oldest orchestra in the United States. In our 126-year history we have been present for many of our country’s most difficult and triumphant moments; today, we face the challenge of the COVID-19 health crisis. Although we are sad to do it, we have decided to set aside the programming we had planned for this Fall and instead will be presenting alternative programs that we believe will best serve our community during this time. And when it is safe to gather again – both onstage and in the audience – we will look forward to seeing everyone in person.”
NHSO CEO Elaine C. Carroll says, “The decision is a sad one, but the most reasonable way forward. Making this decision now provides us with the opportunity to focus on how we can transform the Symphony given COVID realities. We take seriously the need to innovate and create new ways in which to serve the Greater New Haven region.”
Faced with concert cancellations due to the COVID surge this past spring, the Symphony has already pivoted to presenting and performing music virtually. The orchestra has seen tremendous growth in its online presence, with audiences gathering together on the Symphony’s website and social media for watch parties and online concerts.
Recent and upcoming alternative programming highlights include:
- Christmas in July (July 1-31): Launching July 1 on NewHavenSymphony.org, this fun activity center for families and kids will include recordings of past NHSO Holiday Extravaganza concerts, a sing-along, recipes, and an interview with Santa.
- HomeCooked Music Festival (August 1-8): This series of virtual concerts by NHSO musicians, community members, and students will raise money and awareness for food insecurity non-profits in New Haven. The series will be hosted on NewHavenSymphony.org and YouTube.com/NewHavenSymphony.
- NHSO @Home Series: NHSO musicians and guest artists perform music from home in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Viewers can watch the series at YouTube.com/NewHavenSymphony and new performances will be added throughout the summer.
- Instrument Selection Resource Center: Launched in early May, this online tool was developed in response to the COVID-19 crisis and gives instrumental music teachers virtual tools and resources to help their students choose a musical instrument to play. To date, it has been used by 4,800 teachers and students in 14 countries and all 50 states.
- Listen Up! Podcast Series: This series hosted by NHSO Education Director Caitlin Daly-Gonzales explores a diverse range of musical topics and teaches people how to hear more when they listen to music. The Symphony recently added an interactive Quiz Center for teachers and students to use with podcast episodes. Episodes can be streamed at NewHavenSymphony.org or on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, and Spotify.
The 2021 Spring concert schedule will remain intact at this time, and any changes to that concert line-up will not be announced until later in the 2020 calendar year. Elaine Carroll adds, “Although it is realistic for our organization to expect financial challenges during this period, we remain optimistic about the long-term health of the Symphony. We will stand ready to gather our musicians and community together for in-person concerts again once all of the involved parties and health officials deem it safe to do so.”