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As Coronavirus Pandemic Continues, Evanston Symphony Orchestra Announces Changes

As Coronavirus Pandemic Continues, Evanston Symphony Orchestra Announces Changes

June 25, 2020, Evanston, IL —With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing throughout the US and the world, the Evanston Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Lawrence Eckerling have announced changes to the 2020-2021 season.

The annual Holiday Concert will be cancelled. The regular season debut program, originally set for Oct. 25, 2020, will be postponed. The remaining scheduled program concerts of the ESO’s 75th Anniversary Season beginning with the concert Feb. 14, 2021, will be maintained for now. The orchestra will closely monitor the state of the pandemic and keep our patrons regularly informed.

“While we are looking forward to performing during our anniversary season, the safety of our audience and players is the primary consideration,” said Maestro Eckerling. He noted that choral singing has been linked to COVID “super-spreader” events and this fact led to the cancelling of the Holiday Concert. “Without the North Shore Choral Society, the Evanston Symphony Holiday Gospel Choir and the Evanston’s Children’s Choir, as well as the Evanston Dance Ensemble, the event is just not possible.”

Board President and orchestra member Cheryl Haack noted, “The ESO is fortunate in that it entered the pandemic in a healthy financial condition, although these extraordinary circumstances require the sustained financial support of the community.”

During the hiatus, the ESO is working to remain connected to its audience and community. It launched a newsletter, “Noteworthy,” that includes newly recorded videos of Maestro Eckerling performing duets with Concertmaster Julia Fischer and Principal Flutist James Donahue. The newsletters also include “Larry’s Recommendations,” music that is sustaining him during the pandemic. These videos can be found at ESO Videos, where past ESO performances, including symphonies by Brahms and Sibelius, can be viewed. “Larry’s Recommendations” can also be found on the website.

One can still subscribe to the season by downloading the form at ESO ( or by calling general manager David Ellis at 847-864-8804. Donations can also be made through the website and by phone.

“We are anxious to get back to performing,” said Haack. “The board and Larry will continue to monitor the situation and get back on stage as soon as it is safe for all involved.”

Founded in 1945, the Evanston Symphony is the 2017 Illinois Council of Orchestra’s “Orchestra of the Year” and in 2019, was honored by the Council for “Community Relations of the Year” for its significant outreach to the Evanston community The ESO mission is to provide community members of all ages with convenient, affordable opportunities to perform and hear fine classical music from locally, nationally and internationally renowned artists.

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