LENOX, Mass. — The Boston Pops has canceled its spring season and the Boston Symphony Orchestra's return to its summer home at Tanglewood is yet unknown.
The Pops' spring season from mid-May to June was to have celebrated Keith Lockhart's 25th anniversary season has been postponed to 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
BSO officials say they are in daily conversations to assess the advisability of proceeding with upcoming programming over the next few months, including the 2020 Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular and the 2020 Tanglewood season, in connection with the spread of COVID-19.
The cancellation of the upcoming season is the first time an entire season of the famed ensemble has been canceled since 1890; that year, there were no Boston Pops concerts because the managers at the time were unable to procure a liquor license.
"The cancellation of the 2020 Boston Pops season represents a sad day for all of us who cherish and work for this beloved institution, including Keith Lockhart, who we were looking forward to honoring on the occasion of his 25th anniversary season this spring," said President and CEO Mark Volpe. "In response to these extraordinary times of COVID-19, we are keenly aware of our responsibility to do everything we can to ensure the safety and well-being of our patrons, staff, and musicians.
"Though these are difficult times, we are wholeheartedly committed to keeping our focus on the future when the Boston Pops can return to what it has done best since its founding in 1885 — presenting its audiences an extraordinary array of musical styles and fun-filled entertainment in the singular setting and acoustics of world-famous Symphony Hall."
A decision on the Tanglewood season is expected in mid-May based on recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization, as well as in close consultation with the commonwealth of Massachusetts and city of Boston.
Updates will be done through press announcements and periodic messaging at www.bso.org and on the orchestra's social media channels once the decisions are made in May.
Because of the financial impact of concert cancellations on the orchestra, the nonprofit organization is asking patrons, whenever possible, to consider donating their tickets back and receiving a receipt for a tax-deductible donation equal to the total ticket value. Otherwise, the Pops is also offering a credit toward a future performance or a refund for the value of the tickets purchased.
For further information, contact the Customer Service Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 617-266-1200. Symphony Charge (617-266-1200), the Boston Pops ticketing sales office, will remain open during this period of concert cancellations. The Symphony Hall box offices is closed for walk-up sales at this time.
All performances scheduled for this spring in Boston and the Berkshires have also been canceled for the month of May. The Tanglewood Learning Institute's summer schedule is still proceeding as planned at this point. The Berkshire Choral International's performance that was scheduled to take place on June 6 in Ozawa Hall is being postponed until 2021.
The "Boston Pops at Home" online initiative, to be released in early May, will be modeled in part on a previously announced (and still available) online initiative, "BSO at Home" — a wide variety of audio and video options made available to the symphony's music community at www.bso.org/athome.
The BSO also is presenting a special video stream of "Concert for Our City: Now Streaming For All," a 70-minute performance available to a worldwide audience via YouTube at www.bso.org/athome through May 19. "Concert for Our City" was video recorded during a full-capacity live performance at Symphony Hall on Feb. 16.
This 2020 Boston Pops season cancellation announcement follows previous concert cancellation announcements regarding the seven last weeks of the BSO's 2019-20 season.
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