As circumstances continue to change rapidly in this new reality of COVID-19, classical concerts and many venues are closing their doors. One of the most recent is the Belcea Quartet, which was to begin three days of back-to-back concerts devoted to Beethoven on Friday at Union College’s Memorial Chapel.
Between crowd-size restrictions and the cancelling of all flights from Europe except for Americans, Capital Region Classical was forced to cancel the concerts as did the venues on the rest of the quartet’s almost two-week U.S. tour.
“Duke (University) cancelled, and the New York 92nd Street Y cancelled — also the quartet can’t fly here anyway. They don’t fly out of the U.K. ... total disaster all around,” said Arlene Paskalian, the quartet’s manager.
That left CRC with British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor on March 29 and the Dover Quartet, which was scheduled for April 19, 25, and 26, also with concerts devoted to Beethoven.
“It is with heavy heart that CRC’s board of directors and I have decided to cancel our remaining performances this season,” said series director Derek Delaney in an email. “I had originally hoped to reschedule . . . but given the uncertainty and limited touring availability of the artists, it is impossible to do so this year.”
His thoughts were also on the loss of income for the artists and the audiences that would miss these concerts, and on the many smaller arts management agencies who are suffering these cancellations.
“It’s devastating,” Delaney said.
The First United Methodist series was to spotlight violinist Elizabeth Pitcairn, who was coming from California, on March 29, but cancelled the concert and “hope to be able to host Elizabeth in the near future,” said Dominick Giaquinto, director of music ministries. No date has been set.
The Albany Symphony had already cancelled its March 14, 15, and 22 concerts, but they decided to also cancel the April 2 gala and April 18 concert, which will be postponed to Sept. 12 and 13 to be performed at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall. The Schenectady Symphony Orchestra has also postponed its March 22 concert.
Troy Savings Bank Music Hall and the Troy Chromatic series cancelled with possibilities of rescheduling the March 26 Albany Pro Musica concert and the March 27 Trio Solisti. No decision on the Philippe Quint concert on April 24 has been made.
Octavo Singers had hoped to perform Dvorak’s “Stabat Mater” April 25 at St. John the Evangelist, but director Curtis Funk said in an email that the chorus “had disbanded for the season.” There’s hope that the rescheduled date of November 15 will work as long as the church will be available.
Hubbard Hall in Cambridge has suspended large group events, which includes pianist Diane Walsh’s March 22 concert and Battenkill Chorale rehearsals, until May 11. The May 30 fundraising gala is, however, still on.
Musicians of Ma’alwyck’s April 26 concert may be live streamed since the concert site of the Schuyler Mansion is closed. Contact them directly for more information.
Opera Saratoga had already cancelled several free Opera-to-Go public performances (March 14 and 21) but as of Tuesday, artistic and general director Lawrence Edelson cancelled the remaining two weeks of the program, both the public and in-school performances. The popular Pasta and Puccini to celebrate Bob DeSio on April 5, will be rescheduled sometime later this summer or in early fall. Ticket holders will be contacted directly to “discuss your options,” he said.
But like Elizabeth Sobol, executive director at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, the summer season is still moving forward. Sobol said in an email that “people are continuing to buy tickets for virtually every show, but the pace has definitely slowed in the last few days.”
Edelson is, however, optimistic that the season will go on.
“Once this crisis is over, the power of music and community is going to be a critical part of our collective healing,” he said.
Only one organization, the Empire State Youth Orchestra is still on to perform April 26 at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall.
“The young musicians have worked hard to prepare. . .and are eager to share it with the world,” said Justin Cook, marketing and publications manager, adding that the situation is fluid and could change at any time.
All the organizations suggest ticket holders for these spring concerts can donate them back to the organization or in some cases refunds may be available, but contact the group individually.