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San Diego Symphony cancels in-person concerts, shifts to virtual programming through May 2021

Rafael Payare conducts the San Diego Symphony
Rafael Payare conducts the San Diego Symphony orchestra.
(Nancee E. Lewis / For The San Diego Union-Tribune)

This week’s cancellation follows a Sept. 1 announcement that saw the symphony, the oldest in California, scrap its entire fall season, which was to have featured 12 concerts at Jacobs Music Center’s Copley Symphony Hall

Three months after it canceled its entire fall 2020 concert season, the San Diego Symphony has announced that COVID-19-induced restrictions has forced the cancellation of in-person performances through May of 2021.

“Since the COVID-19 pandemic closed Copley Symphony Hall at Jacobs Music Center’s doors to audiences in March 2020, the San Diego Symphony has continuously prioritized the health and safety of its musicians, staff, audiences, as well as its social responsibility,” according to a statement released this week. “The organization (has announced) a continued commitment to sharing music virtually while in-person performances cannot occur, with all previously scheduled events canceled through May 2021.”

Instead of in-person performances, the San Diego Symphony plans to release virtual concerts starting in January that will feature Music Director Rafael Payare conducting the orchestra. Live audiences will not be in attendance at any of the concerts “until San Diego County and the state of California announce it is safe to do so,” the statement continued.

Details about upcoming digital programs are expected to be released in early January.

This week’s cancellation follows a Sept. 1 announcement that saw the symphony, the oldest in California, scrap its entire fall season, which was to have featured 12 concerts at Jacobs Music Center’s Copley Symphony Hall. The 82-piece orchestra’s 2020-21 season had been scheduled to open Oct. 9 with Payare conducting.

The symphony’s statement this week indicated that all of the upcoming concerts “will meet or exceed the safety requirements of California’s phased reopening plan. Protocols will continue to be implemented for everything from distanced seating to modified stage setups, reduced touch points and upgraded HVAC system air exchanges throughout Copley Symphony Hall.”

Like many arts organizations worldwide, the San Diego Symphony has continued to provide programming, albeit on a digital platform. On its website, audiences can find clips of previous performances and in-depth conversations between CEO Martha Gilmer and the orchestra’s musicians.

“As with previous 2020 cancellations, all current season subscribers will automatically be rolled over into the 2021-22 season, with no action required on their part,” according to a statement.

For more information about ticketing options, email tickets@sandiegosymphony.org or call (619) 235-0804 between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

— Michael James Rocha is a reporter for The San Diego Union-Tribune


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