Acknowledging that there is no way to be certain that large concert halls will be safe by next fall for patrons, musicians and staff, the Austin Symphony announced today that its concerts now scheduled from September though December will be presented virtually.


Some concerts — such as Handel’s ’Messiah’ and other big pieces — have been moved to January and beyond. Meanwhile, starting at the end of December, audience members will have the options of returning to the Long Center for the Performing Arts or continuing with online performances.


How and where will the musicians perform for these virtual concerts?


"We are working with our orchestra committee to make sure we are doing this the safest way possible," symphony spokeswoman Rachel Santorelli says. "Whether it be recording in sections of the orchestra, or leaving more distance among the musicians. We want the sound quality to be top notch and the visual component to be engaging as well as interactive."


The virtual concerts for subscribers and single-ticket buyers will employ "front row" close ups of the musicians as well as interviews and question-and-answer sessions.


"Scheduling has been adjusted to maximize the virtual experience during the first half of the season, and the live performances starting at the end of December," symphony leaders said in a statement. "Gustav Holst’s ’The Planets’ will be moved to January along with Beethoven’s 9th in March. Another change will be Handel’s ’Messiah,’ typically performed in December, which will be programmed around Easter; in addition, the family-favorite Halloween Children’s Concert on Oct. 25, 2020, will remain on the schedule but virtual. The October Butler Pops Series concert will be moved to later in the season as an orchestral offering."


Patrons may renew or purchase subscriptions now. Subscriptions start as low as $198 for all eight Masterworks Series concerts and $114 for the Butler Pops Series. Single tickets will go on sale in August. Season information is available online at www.austinsymphony.org where you will find seating maps, price options and concert information.