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San Antonio Symphony Announces Cancellation Of 18 Concerts

San Antonio Symphony Music Director Sebastian Lang-Lessing directs the orchestra.
San Antonio Symphony
San Antonio Symphony Music Director Sebastian Lang-Lessing directs the orchestra.

The San Antonio Symphony is canceling 18 concerts scheduled from September through January 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A press release from symphony officials states they are complying with public health guidelines and considering the health of attendees, musicians and staff. The symphony first canceled concerts in March, but hoped to have begun their 2020-2021 season on September 25 with a Rachmaninoff concert.  

A week before this announcement, San Antonio Symphony Music Director Sebastian Lang-Lessing told TPR that orchestras were already struggling before the pandemic, but he hopes to come out of it stronger.

“I think we need to rethink that funding model very carefully and have a funding model that is really sustainable and also gives us long-term planning,” he said. “I think budgeting on a year to year basis is a very dangerous model — especially when you have to negotiate contracts, and you should negotiate contracts that are more long-term.”

Five full-time administrative staff have also been put on furlough through August. Those who have already purchased concert tickets have a range of options available at the symphony's website.

The symphony now hopes to resume its season in February at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. 

Symphony violinist and union member Mary Ellen Goree said the cancelations leave the future unclear for musicians.

"The members of the orchestra committee and members of Local 23, American Federation of Musicians, are currently engaged in conversations with management and board about how this will work," she said.

While not being able to play in public, the symphony has released several videos comprised of symphony members and guest artists performing from their homes, and edited together by symphony trombonist Steven Peterson.

Jack Morgan can be reached at Jack@TPR.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii.

Nathan Cone can be reached at NCone@TPR.org and on Twitter at @TPRCinema.

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