The American Composers Orchestra has launched “Connecting ACO Community,” an initiative with the goal of supporting artists who need financial assistance by commissioning short works for solo instrument or voice. World premieres of the works were hosted in April and May on Zoom, with $5 tickets. The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra has commissioned thirteen composers to write short fanfares in response to the pandemic, with each composer choosing a CSO or Pops musician to perform the work. The initial group of composers includes Peter Boyer, Bryce Dessner, Laura Karpman, Matthias Pintscher, Caroline Shaw, Georgia Stitt, Tyshawn Sorey, and Du Yun. Composer Gabriela Lena Frank has launched an initiative called GigThruCOVID, which pairs 65 composers with solo performers to create short video works, with premieres that began in May. Violinist Jennifer Koh created “Alone Together,” through which she is commissioning 21 established composers and 21 emerging composers to write short pieces for solo violin, which she performs online from her home. The New Haven Symphony Orchestra has started a songwriting competition for a work to be performed as a tribute to front-line workers next season. The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra has commissioned Gratias Tibi from José Luis Domínguez, artistic director of the NJSO Youth Orchestras, which received its virtual world premiere in late June by the NJSO and the Montclair State University Singers. Oklahoma City Philharmonic Associate Concertmaster Marat Gabdullin composed a short orchestral work entitled Covid Romance and recruited musicians from his own and other orchestras to perform it from their homes for a video on the orchestra’s Facebook page.
Caption1: For its 125th-anniversary season finale, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra streamed a live, socially distanced concert from an empty Music Hall, with a string quartet wearing face masks onstage and its principal oboist performing from the balcony. Photo by Michael E. Keating.
Caption2: The Juilliard School’s video of Ravel’s Bolero—which received more than 500,000 views—features students and alumni from its music, drama, and dance divisions.
Caption3: Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Youth Orchestras musicians performed Bizet’s “Les Toréadors” from Carmen Suite No. 1 in their virtual season finale.
Caption4: Dallas Symphony Orchestra Principal Oboe Erin Hannigan, Associate Concertmaster Eunice Keem, Principal Viola Meredith Kufchak, and Associate Principal Cello Theodore Harvey perform Britten’s Phantasy Quartet at Meyerson Symphony Center, a performance later streamed online. Photo by Denise McGovern.
Caption5: Lynchburg Symphony Orchestra French Horn Drew Phillips and Principal Trombone Kevin Chiarizzio perform, six feet apart, in the parking lot of Heritage Green Assisted Living and Memory Care in Lynchburg, Virginia; residents listen from open windows and a porch.
Caption6: Led by Music Director James Ross (playing French Horn, left) a brass trio from the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra performs for residents at Goodwin House in Alexandria, Virginia. Photo by Janet Barnett.
Caption7: Charlotte Symphony Orchestra Principal Viola Ben Geller performs from his backyard for the orchestra’s “A Symphony A Part” performance in April. Photo by Logan Cyrus.
Caption8: The Olympia Symphony Orchestra in Washington State released a recording of Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance” for virtual graduation ceremonies this spring.
Caption9: South Bend Symphony Music Director Alastair Willis is curating a virtual “Quarantunes” playlist and performance series from home. Photo by Michael Caterina.
Caption10: Violinist Jennifer Koh performs a new work from home for her “Alone Together” commissioning project, featuring short works by 21 established and 21 emerging composers. Koh is a member of the League of American Orchestras’ Board of Directors.