Cornell Concert Series works to keep the music playing

Social distancing measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 canceled the last two shows of the spring 2020 Cornell Concert Series, challenging organizers to connect performers with fans in new ways.

Series manager Deborah Justice is posting reflections from performing artists and others – including conductors, tour agents and sound technicians.

“I wanted to shed some light on how these cancellations ripple across different aspects of the economy and to honor the complexity of the impact,” she said.

In one post, soprano Lucy Fitz Gibbon, interim director of the Cornell Voice Program in the College of Arts and Sciences, said she’s lost months of performance engagements.

“But I am comparatively lucky: I also teach,” she said. “As difficult as it was to say goodbye to my wonderful Cornell students, and as challenging as it is to figure out how to translate our work to an online platform, I am incredibly fortunate to still have the chance to make and share music with these young people.”

Justice also shifted a musical mentorship program, sponsored by Engaged Cornell. Before social distancing measures took effect, members of Cornell’s orchestras were meeting in person with kids from local elementary schools. As this program went virtual, Justice has been working to connect outside collaborators and concert series artists with young musicians online.

On April 8, Mark Rabideau, director of the 21st-Century Musician Initiative at DePauw University, led a workshop on Zoom with Cornell orchestra members about unleashing potential for good through music.

Read the story in the Cornell Chronicle.

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