The Well-Tempered Ear

Looks like there will be no live concerts for the rest of the 2020-21 season and maybe until early 2022 | September 21, 2020

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By Jacob Stockinger

Some important things for classical music fans to know happened over the weekend, even as Dane County continues to break records for new cases of coronavirus.

Three high federal health officials, including director of the CDC Dr. Robert Redfield and his colleague Dr. Anthony Fauci, have testified that it is highly unlikely that vaccines for the coronavirus will be widely available to the public until May 2021 at the earliest and may well be delayed until early 2022 or later.

President Donald Trump says they are wrong, but the public health officials are standing by their estimates.

Adding to the concern is that the rate of people who say they will not get the hurried vaccine continues to rise from 35 percent to 50 percent or more.

In addition, there are reports of logistical problems because the vaccines will be difficult to distribute as they require cold temperatures.

This amounts to bad news for a long list of local arts presenters.

The net effect is that mass gatherings – such as concerts – will not be safe to attend for the rest of this season and perhaps until the beginning of 2022.

That means that many groups that have planned on reopening by January or February are likely to cancel or postpone events for the remainder of this season, and perhaps also for next fall – just as they planned for doing this concert season.

Instead there will probably be more virtual and online events substituted for in-person events — if anything at all is offered.

Among the major groups who have announced earlier reopening and be affected by the new deadlines are: the Madison Symphony Orchestra (below top); the Madison Opera; the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra (below bottom, in a photo by Mike Gorski); the Wisconsin Union Theater; the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Mead Witter School of Music; the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras (WYSO); and the Middleton Community Orchestra.

We can all hope that live music starts happening sooner. But The Ear suspects that alternative plans are already being drawn up and will be announced shortly.

What do you think about the estimates of the delays in vaccine accessibility and acceptance?

What do you think music groups will do – or should do in –in the wake of the public health crisis?

The Ear wants to hear.


Posted in Classical music
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3 Comments »

  1. When was the decision debated and made to stay shut down until there is a vaccine? THERE MAY NEVER BE AN EFFECTIVE VACCINE. EVER. Even the flu vaccine is hit & miss.

    Comment by Think4Urself — September 25, 2020 @ 1:12 am

  2. It seems to me there could be chamber music live in certain spaces. Or at least certain kinds of chamber music. String players and pianists can wear masks while performing, for example. Audience members can, too, and can space themselves out. There are different levels of risk to be considered plus each prospective audience member has to make a judgment. Of course, one follows local health rules. But within that it seems some possibilities should be explored.

    Comment by Melinda Certain — September 23, 2020 @ 9:21 am

  3. Dear Ear…..and yet the UW is going ahead with Badger football games. As if the threat of the virus weren’t enough it’s OK to bash kids’ heads in. The UW needs to make plain its continued support of the arts and facilitate concerts that can be appreciated virtually. If Chattauqua could present such a beautiful concert featuring Christopher Taylor so can our local groups with corporate, individual and government support.

    Comment by Ronnie — September 21, 2020 @ 10:44 am


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