• October 23, 2020
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The Winston-Salem Symphony Presents London Calling

The first concert of the 2020–21 Season Reimagined, October 24

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (October 12, 2020) – The Winston-Salem Symphony has returned to the stage this fall and while a lot has changed, its commitment to bringing music to life has not. The Winston-Salem Symphony kicked off its season on October 8 and 9 with two outdoor in-person concerts for audiences of 50 attendees. On October 24, Music Director Timothy Redmond and Symphony musicians will take the stage at the Stevens Center of UNCSA for its first Classics concert of the season, London Calling. This and other concerts this fall have been curated to feature music for a smaller orchestra that will accommodate socially distanced musicians on stage. These concerts will be live streamed so the audience can view from the comfort and safety of their own homes.

This concert features Joseph Haydn’s final symphony, Symphony No. 104. The prolific composer wrote several symphonies during his time in London, but this is the one that has become known as the “London Symphony.” Music Director Timothy Redmond originally planned to open the 2020–21 season with this work featuring a full orchestra, but Haydn also wrote an arrangement for a smaller number of musicians making it ideal for a socially distanced ensemble. Redmond heralds from London and will arrive a week before the performance after quarantining in London for the past seven months.   

New York-based, London-born Anna Clyne’s work Sound and Fury draws inspiration from both Haydn and William Shakespeare. Clyne lends a 21st-century color to an 18th-century instrumentation while quoting another of Haydn’s works. A soliloquy from Shakespeare’s MacBeth, which gives the piece its title, is read aloud during the performance. Bill Barclay, former Music Director for the Globe Theatre in London will be joining the Winston-Salem Symphony onstage to do the reading. The concert will open with Gioachino Rossini’s ever-popular overture to The Barber of Seville, which was selected to provide a lighthearted touch to the program. 

In August, the Symphony launched Stage Pass, a membership program that provides members with private links to view all concerts that the Winston-Salem Symphony produces during its 2020–21 season. Stage Pass will also provide members access to a “backstage” section of the Symphony’s website that includes musician interviews, behind-the-scenes extras, and past performances. The Symphony has eight concerts planned between October and May, all of which are included with Stage Pass, and is available for $75 at wssymphony.org/stagepass.

How has the Symphony been affected by the pandemic?

  1. It has shifted from an in-person concert experience to a virtual one, live-streaming its performances to audiences’ living rooms.  
  2. It has shortened its programs to reduce the amount of time musicians are in an enclosed space together and to eliminate intermissions from its program on the off-chance that in-person attendance could be possible
  3. It has reduced its orchestra size by two-thirds, only having 26 musicians performing on the first program. This is due to social distancing requirements for musicians.
  4. The Symphony has indefinitely furloughed 40% of its fulltime staff, requiring the remaining administrative staff to wear multiple hats and assume expanded responsibilities. Additionally, Symphony musicians have been drastically affected by the reduced orchestrations, with only 40% of the orchestra having the opportunity to play on the fall concerts.  

The last time the Winston-Salem Symphony performed on the stage at the Stevens Center was March 10, after which it cancelled multiple concerts and reprogrammed its 2020–21 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since March, the Symphony has increased its online programming, which has included Etherbound, a new series of collaborative performances that emphasize the possibilities of orchestral music in the digital space. To provide live music opportunities, the Winston-Salem Symphony launched Symphony Serenades, which makes curated programs of small ensembles available to hire for performances throughout the community.  

The Winston-Salem Symphony acknowledges the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 health crisis and the lack of clarity regarding the duration of the pandemic. Though the Symphony is working diligently to create safe alternatives to a typical season, the organization is prepared to respond if circumstances necessitate changes to its musical offerings. Should the Symphony need to cancel or reschedule concerts outlined in this press release, the Symphony will communicate with Stage Pass holders through traditional communication mechanisms.

About the Winston-Salem Symphony

Established in 1946, the Winston-Salem Symphony is one of the Southeast’s most highly regarded regional orchestras. Today, under Music Director Timothy Redmond, the Symphony inspires listeners of all ages throughout the North Carolina Piedmont Triad with a variety of concerts, education programs, and community engagement initiatives each year.  

The Symphony is supported by Season Presenting Sponsors BB&T Wealth/Truist and Bell, Davis & Pitt, P.A.; Music Director Season Sponsor Betty Myers Howell; Etherbound PresentingSponsors Chris and Mike Morykwas; as well as generous funding from the Arts Council of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County, the North Carolina Arts Council, and other dedicated sponsors. For more information, visit wssymphony.org.

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