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With its tour canceled, Boston Symphony Orchestra offers free concerts

Thomas Wilkins will lead a free concert at Symphony Hall. (Photo by Stu Rosner)Stu Rosner

The novel coronavirus outbreak in China may have grounded the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s planned tour of East Asia this month, but the musicians’ instruments won’t be staying in their cases until the subscription season picks back up on Feb. 21. Instead, players are heading out into the community for a series of pop-up chamber concerts. The full orchestra also will offer a free “Concert for Our City” at Symphony Hall Feb. 16 led by BSO youth and family concerts conductor Thomas Wilkins.

At the Feb. 16 event, the orchestra will perform selections by Tchaikovsky, Ginastera, Brahms, and George Walker. In addition, Chinese composer Huang Ruo will be the featured vocal soloist in selections from his own “Folksongs for Orchestra,” and Sphinx Competition-winning cellist Sterling Elliott will take center stage for a movement of Dvořák’s classic Cello Concerto.


The pop-up chamber concerts, which will take place at local organizations including schools, shelter facilities, and hospitals, are not open to the public. However, listeners can join the Boston Symphony Chamber Players at WGBH’s cozy Fraser Performance Studio for a concert and conversation hosted by WCRB’s Brian McCreath (Feb. 13), jointly presented by the BSO and the two radio stations. In addition, BSO players will also offer a free pop-up concert for the public at the Linde Center for Music and Learning at the Tanglewood campus in Lenox (Feb. 9).

Tickets can be reserved at bso.org/concertforourcity. Tickets for the Lenox and Symphony Hall concerts can also be reserved by calling SymphonyCharge at 888-266-1200.

A.Z. Madonna can be reached at az.madonna@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @knitandlisten.