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Toledo Symphony Orchestra announces revised season; concerts begin Sept. 12

TSO will offer both socially distanced in-person and new streaming attendance options for concertgoers.

TOLEDO, Ohio — The Toledo Symphony Orchestra announced its new plans for the 2020-2021 performance season.

The orchestra's 77th season will kick off on Sept. 12, with Alain Trudel at the helm for his third season as Music Director.

“With everything going on in the world right now, we need music more than ever to safely bring us back together,” says Trudel. “The performing arts create a sense of community that we are all longing for, and at a time when the world stretches us in different directions, let us rejoice together in the joy and beauty of music."

TSO will offer both socially distanced in-person and new streaming attendance options for concertgoers. All performances will be held at the Toledo Museum of Art's Peristyle Theater until Feb. 2021.

Some performances have been designed entirely to highlight repertoire that will allow orchestra members to socially distance on stage. The orchestra has additionally re-introduced some concerts that were canceled last spring due to COVID-19 closures. 

The TSO season, which runs from September 2020 through June 2021, will open with all-Beethoven programming in celebration of the landmark composer’s 250th birthday.

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 Highlights from the 2020-2021 Season:

  • Golden Globe, Tony, and Emmy Award-winner Bernadette Peters makes her Toledo debut, in a one-night-only Spotlight Event.
  • The Toledo Ballet’s 80th Anniversary presentation of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker.
  • Vivaldi’s Four Seasons Recomposed by Max Richter, a treasured favorite with a 21st century spin.
  • The return of the Canadian Brass in a program of music by Brahms and Shostakovich.
  • Van Cliburn Gold Medalist, Jon Nakamatsu performing Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto.
  • A rousing tribute to Louis Armstrong, featuring trumpeter Byron Stripling.
  • A re-creation of Frank Sinatra’s Only the Lonely, featuring Sinatra’s granddaughter, vocalist AJ Lambert.
  • Coming to Toledo from a galaxy far, far away—the TSO performs John Williams’s entire score to Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back alongside the iconic film.
  •  The ProMedica Masterworks Series expands to 13 weekends this season. Inaugural concerts will celebrate Beethoven’s 250th birthday with performances of his Symphonies Nos. 1, 3 “Eroica”, and 5 (September 12, 13, 25, 26). Violinist Randall Goosby will join a tribute to Joseph Bologne de Saint-Georges, the most prominent Black composer of the 18th century (October 17). Mezzo-soprano Susan Platts returns to Toledo to join tenor Brandon Scott Russell in Mahler’s haunting Das Lied von der Erde, or “Song of the Earth” (November 6-7). The TSO reimagines Vivaldi’s famed Four Seasons with a spellbinding, 21st century “recomposition” by British composer Max Richter (November 20-21). The legendary Canadian Brass return to Toledo for the first time in over a decade to perform music by Brahms and Shostakovich (January 15-16). Grammy Award-winning soprano Measha Brueggergosman joins a celebration of Richard Wagner’s music in her prized interpretation of his Wesendonck Lieder (February 5-6). Alain Trudel and the TSO perform famous works inspired by the city of Prague (February 19). Violinist Kerson Leong performs Bartok’s Violin Concerto No. 2 in between two Tchaikovsky masterpieces: the 1812 Overture and Fifth Symphony (March 5-6). Pianist Stewart Goodyear returns to Toledo to present his original composition, Callaloo, alongside Duke Ellington’s incredible Black, Brown, and Beige (April 9-10). Pianist Jean-Philippe Sylvestre celebrates music of André Mathieu, otherwise known as “Rachmaninoff’s Heir” alongside Rachmaninoff’s own Second Symphony (April 30-May 1). Van Cliburn Gold Medalist, pianist Jon Nakamatsu returns to Toledo in Tchaikovsky’s celebrated First Piano Concerto (May 21-22). The series concludes with pianist Michael Chertock presenting Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Variations on I Got Rhythm alongside Copland’s masterpiece Appalachian Spring (June 4-5).
  •  The KeyBank Pops Series will open with trumpeter Byron Stripling’s tribute to Louis Armstrong on October 3. On January 9, The TSO will recreate Mary Poppins’s Grammy Award-winning score, live to the original film. The TSO will pay homage to the Beatles on January 23 in a brand-new program that features talented young vocalists and arrangements transcribed from the original Abbey Road sessions. Vocalist AJ Lambert will provide a Valentine’s Weekend tribute to Frank Sinatra—her grandfather—in a re-creation of his legendary concept album, Only the Lonely. The Roaring Twenties will be the focus of a new Pops revue on February 27, staring vocalist Connor Bogart O’Brien and conductor Carl Topilow. The series concludes on March 20 with a stirring tribute to Aretha Franklin, starring Broadway’s Capathia Jenkins.
  •  The Buckeye Broadband & Blade Chamber Series begins October 11 with “Transcriptions,” a program that celebrates great moments of the symphonic repertoire in amazing transcriptions for small ensembles. Music on November 1 will include Messiaen’s moving Quartet for the End of Time. The January 31 concert will celebrate intimacy and romance, concluding with Leoš Janáček’s incredible string quartet, “Intimate Letters.” The April 18 performance will pair Shostakovich’s first Piano Trio with Alain Trudel’s Shostakovich-inspired String Quartet. The series concludes on May 16 with Beethoven’s “Razumovsky” Quartet. 
  • The Anderson Foundation Family Series features two seasonal favorites: the Halloween Spooktacular on October 25 and Christmas at the Peristyle on December 5-6. The series will conclude with a new production, Dancing Fairy Tales, which brings stories of Hans Christian Andersen to life with TSO musicians and Toledo Ballet dancers.
  • The Dance Series will celebrate Toledo Ballet’s 80th Anniversary performances of Tchaikovsky’s beloved Nutcracker (December 11-13). The longest continuously running production in the nation, this year’s performances are dedicated to the late Marie Bollinger-Vogt, who founded Toledo Ballet. The TSO and Toledo Ballet will collaborate with the Toledo Museum of Art on March 14 to present a new production, Moving Soliloquies, inspired by works from the TMA’s legendary collection.
  •  This season’s Spotlight Events include the Toledo debut of singer and actress Bernadette Peters. Famous for her iconic stage appearances in Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, Annie Get your Gun, Gypsy, and Hello, Dolly, Ms. Peters will appear with the TSO on April 17. On May 8, the TSO continues its celebration of the Star Wars franchise with The Empire Strikes Back. This is the second installment in the Star Wars in Concert series. The first installment, Star Wars: A New Hope drew a record-setting crowd of 5,000 to the Huntington Center on May 4, 2019.

New this season, the TSO will launch a state-of-the-art streaming platform. Modeled after popular products like Netflix and Hulu, the TAPA Streaming technology will allow virtual ticketholders to view most performances on their computers, phones, tablets, Apple TV, or Roku devices. More information on TAPA Streaming is available on TSO's website.

The TSO is implementing additional safety measures for in-person attendance, including increased sanitizing of high touch surfaces, easy access to hand sanitizing stations, enforcement of social distancing guidelines, use of masks, touchless ticketing, and special audience routing throughout the Peristyle. 

“The health and safety of our audiences, performers, and staff remain our top priority. Our administrative and artistic teams have worked diligently to ensure the safest environment for all,” says Zak Vassar, President & CEO of the Toledo Symphony. . “We’re continuing to follow the guidelines set forth by the State of Ohio related to COVID-19.”

Tickets to all of the symphony’s 2020-2021 performances are now available to the general public and can be purchased online, by calling the box office at 419.246.8000, or by emailing boxoffice@artstoledo.com.