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A screenshot of a video of the TSO cello section performing remotely
2019/20 Annual Letter

From the Concert Hall to Your Living Room: Music in a Time of Crisis

September 29, 2020

“There is very little that can diminish a musician’s drive to perform,” said TSO Concertmaster Jonathan Crow. “As devastated as we were to leave Roy Thomson Hall, we all got to work right away to dream up compelling and inspiring virtual concerts.” Jonathan led one of the TSO’s most ambitious virtual concerts by inviting violinist James Ehnes to perform Beethoven’s Violin Romance No. 2 with more than 30 members of the Orchestra. “Even outside the concert hall, the energy of collaboration and creation was wonderful,” he said. In addition to the Beethoven Romance, one of the many pieces of content created by TSO musicians was an acclaimed virtual performance of Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring, created by Principal Double Bass Jeffrey Beecher. From digital concerts to panel discussions to exclusive subscriber and donor events featuring performances and chats, the TSO’s virtual presence garnered over two million views. “We all had to get very comfortable, very quickly, with unfamiliar technology…Many of us discovered how much we could actually do with our mobile phones! Many musicians learned editing software and explored different ways to improve sound quality including acquiring microphones. It was a very rewarding learning experience,” said Jonathan.  

In addition to a series of personal performances by TSO musicians called #TSOatHome, guest soloists from around the world—including Jan LisieckiAngela Hewitt, and Principal Pops Conductor Steven Reineke—sent dedicated performances and heartfelt messages to our patrons. 

The Education team has also pulled together digital resources for teachers who are working with students remotely, creating unique musical learning opportunities for kids at home to create and explore independently. 

“The bond between the TSO and its audience is impermeable. So many of our patrons have been with us through generations. Musicians feel the impact the TSO has in the lives of our patrons, and we are enriched by their dedication and passion for us. This year was very much about strengthening and celebrating that connection, and we are looking forward to the day we can perform in person,” said Jonathan. 

“I have been a subscriber for 20 years and am pleased to be a donor and member of the Maestro’s Club and the Volunteer Committee. I can’t tell you how meaningful your virtual performances have been to me. The beauty and artistry offered by the TSO have helped me to get through these turbulent times. I am so grateful to the TSO and incredible musicians for these musical gifts.” —Nora Lever