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Dallas Symphony Orchestra to begin welcoming audiences to the Meyerson in September

Dallas Symphony Orchestra returning to the Meyerson in September

Dallas Symphony Orchestra
DSO starts its new fall season with a concert showcasing brass, organ, and percussion. Dallas Symphony Orchestra/Facebook

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra is planning to welcome patrons back to the Meyerson Symphony Center for live concerts as soon as September 4, with a revised lineup in place for the rest of 2020.

The carefully curated programming, titled "Next Stage" by incoming DSO music director Fabio Luisi, places an emphasis on small orchestra and chamber ensembles, and caps audiences at 50-75 people per concert.

"There is no substitute for performances on our stage at the Meyerson with an audience," says DSO president and CEO Kim Noltemy in a release. "We look forward to safely welcoming small audiences back this fall, and though attending concerts will be different than in previous seasons, our musicians will continue to inspire you."

DSO musicians will volunteer for the concerts and receive COVID-19 testing prior to playing. Strict distancing will be enforced in backstage areas, and additional cleaning will be part of musician common areas. For the audience side, there will be no intermissions or valet parking, arrival and departure times will be staggered, patrons will be asked to wear masks, and voluntary temperature checks will be conducted before entering the venue.

"We tested these protocols in June, and I felt safe and confident playing with my colleagues," says principal second violin Angela Fuller Heyde. "We are so grateful that our health and safety are being taken so seriously and that every possible precaution is being taken. I can't wait to be back on stage at the Meyerson!"

Heyde is referencing the more than 40 outdoor chamber music concerts and four programs recorded in the Meyerson that the DSO organized during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking of recordings, a new robotic camera system and video studio is being installed at the Meyerson to capture concerts for on-demand viewing or live streaming. Subscribers will have access to this collection of performances free of charge, while non-subscribers will be able to view for a fee.

Throughout the fall programming, the orchestra will feature works by Black composers including Adolphus Hailstork, Scott Joplin, Quinn Mason, Jessie Montgomery, Jelly Roll Morton, and George Walker. This is a first step in diversifying the selection of works being performed and providing opportunities for composers of color.

"We have much work to do in the area of equity, diversity, and inclusion," says Noltemy, "but it is a priority for the DSO, and very soon we will share our comprehensive plan to ensure that the DSO takes a leadership role in this important work."

One major step is the concert previously announced for November 11 that will honor lives lost to racial violence and injustice. Done in partnership with Dallas Black Dance Theatre and Project Unity, and featuring baritone Reginald Smith, Jr. and musicians from the Young Strings Program, the program will include a newly commissioned work by Dallas-based Quinn Mason.

The full fall lineup is as follows:

September 4-6, 2020
Brass, Organ & Percussion of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra

Sarah Hicks conducts
Bradley Hunter Welch, organ

September 10-13, 2020
Bronfman Plays Beethoven

Fabio Luisi conducts
Yefim Bronfman, piano

September 18-20, 2020
Ragtime & Jazz

Jeff Tyzik conducts
Byron Stripling, trumpet

September 24-27, 2020
Texas Instruments Classical Series

Gemma New conducts
Emily Levin, harp

October 1-4, 2020
Bold and New: Beethoven, Dessner and Kodály

Juraj Valcuha conducts
Jörgen Van Rijen, trombone

October 9-11, 2020
Mahler's Song of the Earth

Fabio Luisi conducts
Tamara Mumford, mezzo-soprano
Stuart Skelton, tenor

October 16-18, 2020
Kelli O'Hara In Concert with the DSO

Rob Fisher conducts
Kelli O’Hara, vocalist

October 22-25, 2020
Abduraimov Plays Beethoven

Jukka-Pekka Saraste conducts
Behzod Abduraimov, piano

October 29-November 1, 2020
Verdi Selections with Fabio

Fabio Luisi conducts
Krassimira Stoyanova, soprano
Jamie Barton, mezzo-soprano
Piero Pretti, tenor
Wenwei Zhang, bass

October 31, 2020
Dia De Los Muertos Concert

Katharina Wincor conducts

November 5- 8, 2020
Female Pioneers: Alsop and Hahn

Marin Alsop conducts
Hilary Hahn, violin

November 11, 2020
Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Black Dance Theatre and Project Unity Present: Concert to Honor Lives Lost to Racial Violence and Injustice

Reginald Smith, Jr., baritone
Further vocal soloists to be confirmed
Dancers from Dallas Black Dance Theatre
Musicians of the DSO Young Strings Program

November 12, 2020
Erich Bergen's Hollywood Songbook

Jeff Tyzik conducts
Erich Bergen, vocalist

November 13-15, 2020
Queens of Soul

Jeff Tyzik conducts
Shayna Steele, vocalist

November 27- 29, 2020
The Nutcracker

Andrew Grams conducts

Some originally scheduled Pops Series and movie programming has been moved to later dates.

Toy Story Live in Concert has moved to September 2021, and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets has moved to November 2021. The Music of Selena has now been rescheduled to June 2021, and Lush Life: The Music of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn has been postponed to March 2021. 

"My husband and I have been sheltering at home, and I had no intention of going further than daily walks," says Cece Smith, Dallas Symphony Association Board of Governors incoming chair. "Then I heard the comments from the musicians and other audience members about how safe they felt in the hall during the concerts performed in June, and we were convinced. It was so well done, and the live music was such a welcome treat, that we went to two more concerts! It is probably the safest place in Dallas."