In a first, BSO cancels fall season at Symphony Hall

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BOSTON — For the first time in its 139-year history, the Boston Symphony Orchestra is suspending its fall season of performances at Symphony Hall, Sept. 16-Nov. 28.

According to a statement released Thursday, the decision to cancel the fall period of the 2020-21 BSO season — due to ongoing concerns about COVID-19 — was made in consultation with a team of medical experts assembled by the BSO Board of Trustees, and in response to issuances by the Centers for Disease Control and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which prohibit gatherings of 25 or more people in a particular location where they would be in physical proximity within a confined indoor space.

By the end of the 2020 calendar year, the Boston Symphony Orchestra will announce whether it will go forward with any live performances with audience in the winter and spring months of its 2020-21 Symphony Hall season, Jan. 7-May 1.

Given the cancellation of BSO's live performances with audiences, and the continuing uncertainty around the resumption of in-person performances in the winter and spring, the BSO is suspending all patron subscriptions for the 2020-21 season in September, following the announcement of the orchestra's fall streaming season offering. At that time, subscribers will be contacted about the options available and the process for canceling their subscriptions.

During the fall hiatus, the BSO will create and distribute online content inspired by its BSO at Home series (spring 2020) and Tanglewood 2020 Online Festival (summer 2020) distributed through bso.org and tanglewood.org. Details of the new fall/ early winter content will be announced in September.

Meanwhile, the status of other fall series slated for Symphony Hall — Holiday Pops Season; Celebrity Series of Boston; Handel & Haydn Society; and Speaker Series — is as yet undertermined.

In September, all subscribers to the 2020-21 BSO season will be contacted about the options for processing the suspension of their subscription.

The BSO said it will continue to monitor recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as well as confer with its own team of medical experts about future steps regarding testing and vaccine development.

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