Classical Music Goes Virtual: Options for the Season

Live music is better.

-Neil Young

Despite the limited availability of live performances today due to pandemic restrictions, musicians and those who “thrive for live” are creating solutions to retain and even grow audiences.

Here in Delmarva, the Mid-Atlantic Symphony – (MAS), perennial provider of classical and orchestral performances is at the forefront of keeping its annual subscribers happy during an economic upheaval for most arts organizations. They’ve been pleasing audiences since 1997 with no signs of slowing down.

Adjusting to an incredible barrage of challenges these days, including painful questions about things like whether or not woodwind instruments should be included in their ongoing concert series, the homegrown orchestra has persevered in its commitment to the audience. (Woodwind instruments, out of extreme caution have been temporarily suspended; current repertoire is for strings and percussion only.)

“A Season Reimagined” has been the theme for the 2020-2021 Mid-Atlantic Symphony season, and plans are rigorously underway for its 2021-22 lineup. Concerts include multiple options for viewing or listening, whether it is in-person at one of its several venues throughout Delmarva, or live via streaming for those unable to attend by choice or limited seating.

For sure, reimagining musical performances has been MAS’s forte this year. Under the leadership of music director Julien Benichou, also a celebrated conductor of several other regional icons including the Washington Opera Society, MAS hasn’t just reinvented the performance wheel. They’ve rolled with it.

Are you wondering if you even want to choose in-person over the comfort of your recently-upgraded living room and surround sound? No problem! Try listening to Midatlantic Symphony Orchestra from home. “Virtual tickets” are available at a reduced price for those who prefer movies and meetings from their favorite chair. Live performances are even available for a week to let you fit it into your schedule.

Great news for those itching to get back to the true blue of evocative classical music – experiencing live performance. (You know, dimmed lights, first violinist tuning the entire orchestra, the hush between movements and the goosebump standing ovations.) Performing in several regional venues throughout Delmarva, the symphony is still going strong. In Southern Delaware, they can be seen or heard on a variety of stages, including Cape Henlopen High School’s theater, the Freeman Stage in Selbyville, the Ocean City (MD) Convention Center and a number of churches throughout Delmarva.

Limited, ticketed seating is now available at most of MAS’s venues. Although ticket prices are higher than a virtual performance, an in-person experience is increasingly available. Options for this season’s tickets are outlined on the MAS web site, and are sure to evolve as details for the 2021-2022 season emerges.

In addition to concerts, Mid-Atlantic Symphony offers several outreach and educational programs. Master classes for youth, school programs, podcasts and soloist interviews are available – many events are without fees, thanks to donors and sponsors.

Let’s raise a symbolic baton to the remainder of this season and the future of classical music in Delmarva! Support local musicians and the importance of classical music to our culture and for our happiness!

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