Performing arts organizations have been especially hard hit this year with many cancelling entire seasons or at least to the end of this year.
But take heart. Several groups have set a schedule for concerts that may not offer those in-person connections so vital to the experience but will give a virtual hearing.
A list of those organizations that have completely cancelled their seasons is at the end of this story as well as an update of those hoping to begin a 2021 schedule.
ALBANY PRO MUSICA — In celebration of its 40th season, artistic director Jose Daniel Flores-Caraballo offers an Oct. 18 concert of pre-recorded Renaissance music in which small groups of APM singers performed outdoors at the Empire State Plaza, in Schenectady’s Stockade District, the grounds of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center and outside of the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall. Lively and lush madrigals will be sung as well as the world premiere by Steve Murray, the group’s honorary composer-in-residence. Several notables including Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, Flores-Caraballo, and University at Albany president Havidan Rodriguez will comment. The concert set for 4:30 p.m. at www.albanypromusica.org, will also be available on WMHT-TV through www.wmht.org and the PBS app. Also, the chorus’ popular Many Moods of Christmas concert has been set for 3 p.m. Dec. 20 with tenor Rafael Davila. March and May virtual concerts are also planned.
ALBANY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA — Music director David Alan Miller wanted not only to have a season but wanted to give the ASO’s many subscribers and fans something special. So he’s offering a full schedule of live concerts that will be performed by up to 25 musicians all socially distanced or wearing masks as needed (including Miller) from either the Palace Theatre or Universal Preservation Hall and viewed through the vimeo.com platform at www.albanysymphony.com. The only catch is whether you’re a subscriber or a single ticket buyer. Subscriptions for all eight concerts range from $237 to $418. Single tickets are $25.
“We wanted something unique and of great quality for our subscribers, seventy percent of whom renewed from last year,” Miller said.
Subscribers will be able to view the concert on the scheduled date and also get talks about the composers/works and a post-concert talk on Zoom. The concert will be available for up to a month after. Single ticket holders can view the concert only the day after the scheduled date with no talks, but the concert will be available for a month after. While a smaller orchestra might lead some to think large works such as Mahler’s Fourth Symphony set for Nov. 14 would not be possible, Miller discovered “wonderful arrangements and transcriptions. . .that reveal a clarity of structure. They’re jewels of pieces.” View the full schedule at their website.
FRIENDS OF CHAMBER MUSIC — The series opens Oct. 17 at 7:30 p.m. with the Tesla Quartet in a pre-recorded concert, but organizers have added a live streamed Q & A with the quartet on Zoom before and after the concert as well as Performance in Context events with music notables two days before each concert. The next concert is Nov. 21 with the Viano String Quartet. If in-person concerts will be possible in spring, the venue will shift from Kiggins Hall to Christ Church United Methodist Church in Troy. All events are free. See www.friendsofchambermusic.org
MOSTLY MODERN FESTIVAL — This three-week June festival usually held at Skidmore College has been keeping its presence with small live concerts. On Oct.17 at 4 p.m., they’re planning an outdoor concert in Congress Park “Socially Distanced String Trios” and on Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. at Caffe Lena will be festival founder/composer Robert Paterson’s “In Real Life.” A song cycle for two singers and pianist via YouTube.
MUSICIANS OF MA’ALWYCK — Here are the release dates of the group’s YouTube material:
Oct. 9 — Crypt Hyde Hall video
Oct. 23 — Hyde Hall Courtyard concert video
Nov. 13 — Dutch Crailo video
Nov. 20 — Dutch Schuyler video
There will be instructions on the website on how to access the link. Each concert and short will be free, but donations toward them are welcome, which listeners can do through Paypal.
On Nov. 1 at 3 p.m., an all-Beethoven concert from the Schuyler Mansion will be streamed. Other monthly musical shorts and a new CD will be offered. See www.musiciansofmaalwyck.org.
TROY SAVINGS BANK MUSIC HALL — An Oct. 19 streamed concert with the Boston Brass will be available only to hall members but will be available to anyone after that date. The quintet, which will be performing from Florida, will feature familiar classical works to pop jazz standards. See www.troymusichall.org for ticket info and details.
CONCERTS FOR 2021
CAPITAL REGION CLASSICAL — After having to cancel five of the 2020 season’s concerts, artistic director Derek Delaney has gone all out with the hope that there will be a 2021 season. Set to begin Jan. 10 at 3 p.m. with violist Hsin-Yun Huang, eleven more concerts are scheduled to end April 25 with pianist Paul Lewis. Delaney has also been hosting numerous Zoom sessions on Monday at 6 p.m. over WMHT-FM radio.
THE EGG — Dance returns at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 29 with the David Dorfman Dance. Garth Fagan Dance is set for April 23 and Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company for May 8.
FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH (Schenectady) — Free concerts continue April 18 with the Queen’s Six, an a cappella group based at Windsor Castle; and violinist Elizabeth Pitcairn and her Red Mendelssohn Strad for May 16.
OCTAVO SINGERS — Known for their annual sing of Handel’s “Messiah,” artistic director Curtis Funk said if they can’t do it in December at their usual time, they’ll sing it in April (hopefully).
SARATOGA CHAMBER PLAYERS — A Jan. 31 concert with violinist Jill Levy and pianist Margaret Kampmeier to honor Beethoven is planned as well as April 4 and May 23 concerts.
SOME BRIGHT SPOTS
The young singers of Cathedral of All Saints have returned to singing Sunday liturgies according to director Woodrow Bynum; the young musicians of the Empire State Youth Orchestra began in-person rehearsals in September; the Glens Falls Symphony Orchestra is “planning some things” said music director Charles Peltz; Hubbard Hall in Cambridge is presenting live Oct. 16-18, the Susan B. Anthony Project — a new play with original music.
CANCELLED FOR ENTIRE SEASON
These include Hudson-Mohawk Chorale, Schenectady County Community Series, the Mendelssohn Club, Mohawk Valley Community Chorus, all three of Julie Panke’s choruses, Al Fedak’s organ series at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Zankel Music Center, Picotte Hall at The College of Saint Rose, Schenectady Symphony Orchestra, Burnt Hills Oratorio Society, Proctors, Palace Theatre.