Boston Symphony Orchestra cancels fall 2020 performances due to coronavirus

The remainder of the 2020-21 season will be evaluated later this year.

Andris Nelsons leads the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Andris Nelsons leads the Boston Symphony Orchestra. –Hilary Scott

The Boston Symphony Orchestra won’t be returning this fall after all.

The BSO announced that it would suspend its fall performances at Symphony Hall from Sept. 16 through Nov. 28 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Among the canceled performances are a 250th anniversary celebration of Beethoven, which was set to run from Sept. 16 through Oct. 3.

“I join my beloved BSO family and its wonderful music community in expressing deep sadness over the loss of our fall season at Symphony Hall,” BSO music director Andris Nelsons said in a press release. “Unfortunately, the pandemic continues to affect the lives of many people and organizations around the world, including our very own Boston Symphony Orchestra.”


Back in April, the BSO announced its 2020-21 season lineup despite cancelling the remainder of its 2019-20 season and the entirety of the 2020 Boston Pops season, hoping that in-person performances would be able to resume by September. Even before cancelling the September shows, the BSO estimated it had lost $30 million in revenue due to the coronavirus.

The BSO said it will make a decision by October as to whether the Winter Pops will go ahead as planned, and by the end of 2020 as to whether the remainder of the 2020-21 season will be held.

Because of the cancellations, the BSO is suspending all patron subscriptions for the 2020-21 season starting in September. The orchestra will also contact subscribers regarding subscription options, which include canceling, donating, or rolling subscriptions over to the 2021-22 season.

As it did during the spring with its BSO at Home series and summer with its Tanglewood Online Festival, the BSO will continue to distribute a mix of paid and free online content in the fall. Details about those performances are expected to be announced in September.

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