Canada mostly closes down

Canada mostly closes down


norman lebrecht

March 13, 2020

The Orchestre symphonique de Montréal (OSM) last night cancelled 11 concerts, running up to April 5, 2020.

There was coughing and sneezing at a Toronto Symphony rehearsal. Some players called the media. Hours later, the orchestra shut down.

Just in from Vancouver Symphony: BC Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has directed the cancellation of all gatherings larger than 250 people in an effort to stem the spread of COVID-19. As such, VSO concerts through to April 5th are immediately cancelled or postponed.

Winnipeg Symphony stays open: The government of Manitoba and public health officials continue to report that the risk of acquiring COVID-19 in Manitoba is low.

Toronto Symphony statement:
The Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) is
cancelling performances of its upcoming Pictures at an Exhibition concert this weekend
(March 13, 14 and 15) and its EVENING EPIC gala fundraiser (March 26) in response
to the evolving COVID-19 situation.
“This was a disappointing decision because we know that music can play such an impactful
role in alleviating distress during challenging times. We are committed to supporting our
community in prioritizing health and safety. While we won’t be providing Torontonians with a
live orchestral experience for now, we will explore creative ways that we can inspire through
the power of music during this period of time,” said Matthew Loden, CEO, Toronto Symphony
The TSO recognizes that the current COVID-19 risk remains low in Canada. The decision
was made out of a commitment to health and safety and the direction given by Ontario’s
Chief Medical Officer of Health to limit gatherings of over 250 people. The Toronto Symphony
Orchestra has worked collaboratively with Roy Thomson Hall on its COVID-19 response.
The next scheduled performance for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Lisiecki Plays
Beethoven’s Emperor, is scheduled for April 1–5, 2020. A decision about moving forward
with those performances will be made closer to the performance dates.


  • Mustafa Kandan says:

    I have lived for 54 years now and I have never experienced a crisis like this. For me our responses to this admittedly serious (but within the context of history, for those who are still interested in this area of study, not the most deadly) pandemic. In my opinion our responses to this pandemic is much worse than the virus itself. We are so obsessed with a long life, which is in the end a matter of fate or chance if you will & ultimately not very pleasant at the end for most of us, that we are prepared to sacrifice everything that is worthwhile ( including the overall well being of the economy which impacts on everything else).

    • Karl says:

      If too many people get sick and die at once it overwhelms the hospitals. People might have to die without even any palliative care. That’s the big problem here.

  • Karl says:

    NAC in Ottawa is still open. I wonder how long that will last.

    • V.Lind says:

      Closed now till April 5 (azziff it will be all changed then). I am monitoring Saskatchewan’s orchestras, as there have been no incidents of Covid-19 reported in the province.

  • david perlman says:

    please clarify what you mean when you say in reference to the TSO “hours later the orchestra shut down?”

    • V.Lind says:

      I couldn’t fins anything about that either, but perhaps it came from a friend of NL directly.

      Much more annoying is their policy for the tickets sold for the cancelled concerts. Exchange (fee waived), donate for tax purposes, or trade in for a TSO gift certificate for TSO concerts (not much difference between that and exchange. More flexibility, I guess). No sign of the word refund.

      I have worked for three orchestras, so I understand something about their finances. But I find it GALLING that they make it impossible for patrons to get refunds, especially when the cause is something like force majeure, as here. If their own insurance policies do not cover force majeure, tough. But to make refunds impossible just because of their own needs flies in the face of all their talk about customer service and putting the patrons first, which in my experience is now and always has been just talk.

      I love music and musicians, but I detest the people who run it.

      • Anonymous says:

        A friend who had tickets for this evening said they are supplying refunds to patrons who ask.

      • Saxon Broken says:

        They will have to supply a refund if they are asked to, since they didn’t fulfil the contract. However, if you go to their concerts regularly then just use the money to buy your next ticket.

  • How sad says:

    Symphony Nova Scotia in Canada today cancelled the rest of the season (to 9 May), a total of 19 performances, despite there being no recorded occurrences of the virus in the province. A recommendation of the province’s public health officials.