Tag Archives: Boston Symphony Orchestra

Orchestras Alter Plans for Asian Tours Due to Coronavirus

Both the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra announced in early February that they changed course for plans to tour in Asia due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) canceled its entire Asian tour, which was scheduled to include performances in Seoul, Taipei, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. The orchestra replaced the tour with concerts at home in Boston, including a complimentary performance, “Concert for Our City,” at Symphony Hall, as well as community performances at schools, homeless shelters, and hospitals. BSO musicians are represented by Local 9-535 (Boston, MA).

The National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) canceled three concerts in China that were planned for March. The orchestra will carry on plans to tour Japan, giving concerts in five Japanese cities, including Hiroshima, marking 75 years since the end of World War II. NSO musicians are represented by Local 161-710 (Washington, D.C.).

The U.S. Department of State and the Center for Disease Control have issued advisories against travel to China, and most major airlines have canceled flights to China.

Boston Symphony Orchestra Tour to East Asia Canceled Due to Coronavirus Concerns

The Boston Symphony Orchestra’s four-city tour to East Asia (Seoul, Taipei, Shanghai, and Hong Kong) with Andris Nelsons, February 6-16, has been canceled due to increasing concerns over widely documented official news and government agency reports assessing the spread of the new coronavirus. These concerns, along with discussions with the Shanghai Oriental Art Center—whose leadership informed the BSO about the official cancellations of their upcoming performances—followed by consultations with the tour’s presenters in Seoul, Taipei, and Hong Kong, combined to play an influential role in the cancellation of the BSO’s East Asia tour.

“On behalf of Andris Nelsons and the musicians of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, we are all deeply disappointed that we will not be able to perform for the wonderful audiences in Seoul, Taipei, Hong Kong, and Shanghai,”” said BSO President and CEO Mark Volpe.

“Though this was to be the BSO and Andris Nelsons’ first visit to Seoul, and the BSO’s long-awaited returns to Taipei and Hong Kong, it has become clear through recent official reports that concerns over the spread of the new coronavirus have dramatically increased, forcing the orchestra to look seriously at the feasibility of proceeding with the tour,” Volpe added. “With the health and well-being of the musicians and entire tour party, including Yefim Bronfman, always of foremost concern—along with the decision made by the Shanghai presenters to cancel upcoming performances—we have canceled the entire tour. Unfortunately, this includes the BSO’s performances in Seoul, Taipei, and Hong Kong—areas much less impacted by the virus—as it remains unclear how travel in and out of these regions will be affected in the coming weeks.”

“All of us at the Boston Symphony Orchestra are incredibly sad to have to cancel our tour to East Asia and disappoint our fans in Seoul, Taipei, Hong Kong, and Shanghai,” said BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons. “But we greatly appreciate everyone’s understanding that we need to put the health and well-being of our musicians first and foremost. … We all feel deep gratitude to the many wonderful people who worked so hard at every level to organize and support this tour. Most importantly, our hearts and prayers are with everyone who has been affected by the coronavirus.”

The Boston Symphony Orchestra is currently exploring the possibility of scheduling some concerts and special events in Boston during the next two weeks, the period of time when the orchestra would have been on tour. Among the activities being considered is a BSO concert free for the community of Boston. Further details will be announced by early next week.

The 2020 trip was to be the orchestra’s 29th international tour since the orchestra’s founding in 1881. On other occasions, the BSO has been forced to cancel or significantly alter tour dates and personnel due to external factors. They include the orchestra’s 1960 Asia-Australasia tour when the BSO canceled an appearance in Seoul, South Korea due to political unrest and in 1999 when the BSO canceled performances in Beijing due to the accidental bombing of the Chinese embassy in former Yugoslavia.

To view a January 27, 2020 report about the new coronavirus from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, click here.

boston symphony commissions

Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Commissions

boston symphony commissions

The Boston Symphony Orchestra has added another CD to its extensive discography: recent Boston Symphony Orchestra commissions of works by American composers Timo Andres, Eric Nathan, Sean Shepherd, and George Tsontakis. BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons leads the BSO musicians, who are members of Local 9-535 (Boston, MA), in recordings made live at Symphony Hall from February 2016 through February 2018. The album joins two other Boston Symphony Orchestra CDs issued earlier this year.

The latest album includes:

  • Eric Nathan, “the space of a door”
  • George Tsontakis, “Sonnets, Tone poems for English horn and orchestra”
  • Timo Andres, “Everything Happens So Much”
  • Sean Shepherd, “Express Abstractionism”

Boston Symphony Orchestra, Shostakovich Symphonies 4 and 11 “The Year 1905”


This two-disc set is the latest in Andris Nelsons and the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s complete Shostakovich symphony cycle. Both pieces have unique historical and political stories. The premiere of the 4th was delayed 25 years due to Soviet authoritarianism, while the 11th commemorates the 40th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution.

This album won two Grammy awards in 2019: Best Engineered Album, Classical and Best Orchestra Performance. Previous Nelsons and BSO Shostakovich releases—for symphonies 5, 8, 9, and 10—won the 2016 and 2017 Grammy awards for Best Orchestra Performance.

Boston Symphony Orchestra musicians are members of Local 9-535 (Boston, MA).