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Boston Symphony Orchestra cancels slate of March concerts

Boston Symphony Orchestra made the announcement Thursday afternoon.Michael J. Lutch/Courtesy Boston Symphony Orchestra

In an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus, the Boston Symphony Orchestra has canceled all performances in Symphony Hall and at the Linde Center at Tanglewood from March 13 to March 28. This includes other Symphony Hall events such as those presented by the Celebrity Series and the Boston Speaker Series.

According to Mark Volpe, BSO president and CEO, the decision “had to be made out of our utmost concern for the safety and well-being of the BSO community at large."

The orchestra joins a long list of cultural organizations nationwide that announced on Thursday that they would be closing their doors in order to protect themselves and their audiences by following the advice of numerous public health officials to suspend large gatherings. Earlier today, closures were announced by Carnegie Hall, Broadway theaters, the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Cleveland Orchestra. The San Francisco Symphony also announced it has called off its tour to New York and Europe, which was to have been the ensemble’s final tour under the baton of its music director of 25 years, Michael Tilson Thomas. Locally, Boston Lyric Opera canceled its production of Bellini’s “Norma,” which was scheduled to open on March 13. Boston Ballet postponed its run of “Carmen,” originally scheduled to open March 12.

BSO music director Andris Nelsons was due to conduct the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra in late March, though a notice on the ensemble’s website suggests those performances will also be canceled. Nelsons’s final three subscription weeks of the current BSO season are to begin on April 2, and are slated to include keenly anticipated concert performances of Act III of Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde.” Even if the BSO is somehow able to perform in early April, it was unclear, as of Thursday afternoon, whether Nelsons would be able to enter the US at any point within the next 30 days, given the country’s new restrictions on travel from most areas of Europe.


Due to the financial consequences of the closure, the BSO has asked that audience members consider exchanging or donating their tickets, but said it will also be providing refunds through its box office at 617-266-1200.


Jeremy Eichler can be reached at jeremy.eichler@globe.com, or follow him on Twitter @Jeremy_Eichler.