Eugene Symphony Reimagines Plans for 2020/21 Season

Posted on July 23, 2020

Virtual Hub offers engagement opportunities in the meantime.

EUGENE, OR (July 22, 2020)— The priority of Eugene Symphony Association (ESA) continues to be delivering its mission — enriching lives through the power of music — and doing so while maintaining appropriate safety measures for musicians, audience members, and staff. As ongoing precautions around the spread of COVID-19 persist, ESA has cancelled its traditional annual summer concert series and is reimagining plans for its 2020/21 season. Additionally, pianist and songwriter Ben Folds who rescheduled his original May 2020 performance with Eugene Symphony to October 30, 2020 has now cancelled all tours for this year. While away from the concert hall, ESA has launched a virtual hub on its website ( to house accessible digital content, including music education content, live chats with Music Director & Conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong, musician performances, and access to a limited edition radio series on KLCC (FM 89.7).

2020 Summer Concerts Cancelled
With patrons’ and musicians' safety foremost in mind, and consistent with the pronouncement by Governor Kate Brown recommending that large gatherings be suspended through at least September, Eugene Symphony will not be able to bring the wonderful tradition of playing outdoor concerts to fellow Oregonians this summer.

"This would have marked our twelfth year presenting our free summer concert in Eugene, our fifth year in Cottage Grove and fourth in Roseburg," says Executive Director Scott Freck. "Pausing this tradition is truly heartbreaking, but we look forward to the prospect of a joyful return to these community celebrations in summer 2021."

All Remaining 2019/20 Concerts Postponed until the 2020/21 Season
All remaining concerts in the 2019/20 season have shifted into the 2020/21 season. This includes:

  • Bolero, originally scheduled for May 14, 2020
  • Rachmaninov’s Second, originally scheduled for March 19 and rescheduled for May 30, 2020
  • Beethoven’s Fifth, originally scheduled for April 23 and rescheduled for June 20, 2020
  • Peter & the Wolf Family Concert, originally scheduled for April 26 and rescheduled for June 21, 2020

Specific dates for these concerts in the 2020/21 season have not yet been confirmed. Ticketholders for these concerts have the following options:

  • Donate the value of the ticket(s) back to Eugene Symphony Association
  • Retain for credit toward future Eugene Symphony performances
  • Request a refund

For donating or requesting a refund, contact the Hult Center Ticket Office at 541-682-5000 from 12-5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday or email The Hult Center Ticket Office is temporarily closed to in-person transactions. For more information, please see the FAQs on the Hult Center's website here.

Ben Folds with Eugene Symphony Cancelled
In March, Eugene Symphony announced that the May 30 performance by pianist and songwriter Ben Folds was moved to October 30, 2020. Regrettably, Ben Folds has ceased touring in 2020. All ticketholders for this concert were refunded in June, unless the ticketholder chose to donate the value of the tickets to Eugene Symphony. Eugene Symphony is working to confirm a new date for this performance, conceivably in Fall 2021.

Plans for the 2020/21 Season
Concerts in Eugene Symphony’s 2020/21 season are still anticipated to take place, though performance details and ticketing options are still under consideration. Eugene Symphony’s Board of Directors, administrative staff, and musician leadership are working together, along with the Hult Center for the Performing Arts, to define several possible scenarios for delivering live performances safely. They are also considering plans for virtual concerts and have surveyed subscribers and donors for input.

Virtual Hub – Access virtual content easily
The Eugene Symphony’s Virtual Hub grants patrons easy access to the many opportunities for online engagement while the orchestra is away from the concert hall. Offerings are separated into four categories:

  • Musical Mondays – This online music education video series is produced and hosted by Music Director & Conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong and New World Symphony harpist Chloe Tula and premieres on Eugene Symphony’s Facebook page and YouTube channel on Mondays at 10 a.m. PDT.
  • Listen Here – Recorded material is housed on this page, including radio concert broadcasts and programs, Spotify playlists curated by Francesco, and an encore of “America the Beautiful” performed by pianist and Guest Conductor Jeffrey Kahane in February 2020.
  • Thursday Night Live with Francesco – This weekly series provides an introduction to curated performances, plus interviews with musicians. Thursday Night Live with FLC is accessible via his YouTube channel in addition to his Facebook page each Thursday at 7 p.m. PDT.
  • Musician Moments – This section of the Virtual Hub showcases music that orchestra musicians are making at home.

KLCC (FM 89.7) Limited Series Broadcast
On Sunday, July 19, Executive Director Scott Freck hosted the second installment of a three-part series on KLCC that takes an in-depth look at previous Eugene Symphony concerts. The most recent broadcast featured the January 2020 concert, which included Missy Mazzoli's Sinfonia (for Orbiting Spheres), Sibelius's Violin Concerto, and Brahms's Symphony No. 2. The hour-long radio program is now available online here. It features interviews with composer Missy Mazzoli, violin soloist Elina Vähälä, and Music Director & Conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong, plus musical excerpts of the concert.

The first episode aired on May 17 and examined the September 2019 program, Tchaikovsky’s Fifth. A third and final installment will premiere later this summer. This radio series is sponsored by Farmers Union Coffee Roasters.

About Eugene Symphony
Now in its 55th season, the Eugene Symphony is a nonprofit and 83-member part-time orchestra based in Eugene, Oregon. Led by Music Director & Conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong, Eugene Symphony reaches more than 40,000 adults and children annually with live music performances. Pursuing its mission of enriching lives through the power of music, Eugene Symphony presents annual classical and pops concerts, as well as music education and community engagement programs, regularly commissioning and premiering new American works, and disseminating its performances via radio broadcasts and recordings. More at

For details about online events and radio broadcasts, subscribe to Eugene Symphony’s enewsletter here or follow Eugene Symphony at