Symphoria moves forward with 2020-21 season


SYRACUSE — Symphoria, the professional orchestra of Central New York, announced that season subscriptions, single tickets and live-stream tickets are all on sale for its 2020-21 season.

Symphoria’s ninth full season is “Expect the Unexpected” with entertainment for everyone in 25 concerts, in five performance series: PEC, Inc. Masterworks, Casual, Pops, Allyn Foundation Spark and Kids. The season features stars such as pianists Jon Nakamatsu, Sara Davis Buechner, and Natasha Paremski, as well as violinist Tai Murray, along with the best of John Williams, cirque performers, collaborations with local groups and more. 

Given the unique challenges of performing concerts during a pandemic, Symphoria is one of very few orchestras in the country planning on performing a full season of live music, organizers noted. Every concert of the season will be live-streamed across the world, bringing CNY and Symphoria to the global stage. Musicians will perform socially distanced on stage with health-department reviewed safety precautions at Inspiration Hall through November.

The Feng Family, owners of Inspiration Hall and PEC, Inc., provided the venue and live-streaming capabilities. All September, October and November concerts will have no in-person audiences. Thereafter, concert audiences will be permitted only according to state guidelines. Programs are subject to change, and the particulars about each program may evolve throughout the season to be responsive to community health needs. 

“Especially during these unprecedented times, we know how important classical music is to our patrons and concert-goers,” Music Director Lawrence Loh said.

“The musicians of Symphoria are committed to bringing live music to our loyal audience throughout the 2020-21 season.”

The 2020-21 season opens Sept. 26 with the first of eight PEC, Inc. Masterworks concerts, and will feature longtime Syracuse favorite, Jon Nakamatsu in “A Grand Overture.” The series will showcase a number of notable performances including “Mozart & Mendelssohn,” featuring piano virtuoso and transgender woman Sara David Buechner.

The fifth Masterworks concert, “Tai Plays Tchaikovsky,” will bring violinist Tai Murray to the Symphoria stage for the first time to perform Tchaikovsky’s “Violin Concerto.” In May, Natasha Paremski, much-loved and remembered for her feat of performing all four Rachmaninoff Piano Concertos in two nights last season, returns to Syracuse to perform Tchaikovsky’s “Piano Concerto No.1.” Embedded throughout the season is a Beethoven Festival to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the great composer’s birth. Expect to see features of Symphoria core musicians as well. 

The Pops Series will include five concerts led by Principal Pops Conductor Sean O’Loughlin. The series will feature exciting performances including “John Williams’ Greatest Hits.”

The “Holiday Pops” concerts will have three performances on Dec. 18 and 19, and feature vocalist Ronnie Leigh. Celebrate Valentine’s Day in style with the “De-Lovely Valentine’s Day” featuring the vocal stylings of Syracuse natives Nick Ziobro and Julia Goodwin. “Fantasia of Dance,” in March, will feature professional dance companies from around CNY and Symphoria celebrating the 80th anniversary of the movie, “Fantasia.”

The Casual Series will take place on four Sunday afternoons throughout the season. The first concert “Beethoven’s Legacy” is part of the season-long Beethoven Festival and features The Finger Lakes Trio performing Beethoven’s “Triple Concerto.” The second Casual Series concert, “Your Favorite Things,” the foil to last season’s “Our Favorite Things,” will feature works chosen by audience members through voting. The third and fourth Casual Concerts, “Baroque Brilliance” and “April in Paris” feature concertmaster Peter Rovit as soloist and conductor, and a concert dedicated to the City of Lights, respectively. All Casual Series concerts begin at 3 p.m. 

The Allyn Foundation Spark Series is about presenting themed concerts with collaborators, often in unique venues. The first concert on Oct. 10, is “Masquerade,” and explores the masks we wear, both literally and figuratively. This performance highlights music of composers who were forced to live their lives behind a mask due to societal expectations or stigmas.

In January, CNY’s favorite circus group, CirqOvation, returns to the Symphoria stage. In the final Spark Series concert, musical worlds collide as world-renowned gospel music expert Dr. Joan Hillsman and Symphoria sing the good news of the culturally-rich and vibrant community in “Gospel Meets Symphony.”

Symphoria’s Kids Series will present three musical performances: “Beethoven’s Ghost,” a spooktacularly musical Halloween with one of Symphoria’s favorite composers, Beethoven, on Oct. 31; “The Science of Sound,” an exploration of what music and science have in common; and finally “Peter and the Wolf,” a walk through the woods with Peter and friends during this musical favorite for the young and the young-at-heart. As always, children age 18 and younger are admitted free to all regular season Symphoria performances. 

“The performing arts fulfill an essential role in our lives. Music brings joy, connection, beauty, thoughtfulness, and a sense of community into our lives,” said Loh. “As Symphoria continues to be the best orchestra it can be for CNY, we are finding the opportunities to grow and make new connections in communities we are not yet serving. The Symphoria team has been working tirelessly to present a season that contains something sure to excite every member of our community, from gospel to movie music to Beethoven.”

In addition to live-streaming all concerts, Symphoria is also amping up concert weeks with a full line-up of digital content including guest artist, composer and musician interviews, online pre-concert talks with Lawrence Loh and Sean O’Loughlin, and special VIP Guest Artist Virtual Meet & Greet Hours.

New this year is Symphoria Unlimited. With a Symphoria Unlimited membership, patrons can live-stream all of the great Symphoria concerts they want and help others in need to attend as well. For just $19.99 per month for an individual membership, Symphoria Unlimited members get one ticket to any Symphoria performance (excluding special events).

Family Memberships are available for $29.99, and with a Family Membership patrons receive two adult and two kids’ tickets when in-person audiences resume. Symphoria Unlimited memberships include live-stream access to every concert. Every time a Symphoria Unlimited membership is sold, one Symphoria Unlimited membership is given to an adult or family in need.

Single tickets and season subscriptions can be purchased at the Symphoria box office 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at 234 Harrison St., Syracuse, or by calling 315-299-5598, or by visiting 

Single tickets for the 2020-21 concerts range from $20 to $82. Admission is free for kids age 18 and younger and only $5 for college students with a valid student ID. All subscriptions and single tickets include access to the live-stream concert. Subscription holders will be given priority in concerts where seating is limited due to COVID-19.


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