The video production control room backstage at Symphony Hall, Sept. 18 rehearsal. (source: ASO)

ASO opens virtual classical season tonight, after program and schedule adjustments

Mark Gresham | 1 OCT 2020

Although only a month and a half having passed since their mid-August announcement, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s plans for Fall 2020 have continued to evolve in terms of scheduled dates, programming and even guest artists.

Back then, tonight’s opening virtual concert, led by music director Robert Spano and featuring the extraordinary violinist Gil Shaham as guest soloist, had been scheduled to air this past Saturday, September 26. But given the realities encountered — such as becoming accustomed to rehearsing as a socially distanced and smaller orchestra, as well as the pragmatic realities of time required for of video production and post-production — the opening concert was moved back to today. Likewise the other five subscription concerts and a Talent Development Program special were reshuffled. So if you were depending on August’s published schedule, best to have another look — we offer the updated information below.


Frankly, the shift of streamed deployment from Saturday to Thursday evenings of each of the classical subscription concert (with one rather prudent exception) was quite wise. After all these are six programs are ticketed subscription concerts, and ASO patrons are accustomed to Thursday opening nights and Saturday repeats (and back in in the old days, three concerts: Thursday, Friday and Saturday), and each video will be available for viewing on demand for 72 hours after its debut. That fits nicely into the comfortable pattern to which the orchestra’s patrons are accustomed.

The one exception is the concert which debuts on Saturday, November 28, because it’s really not a good idea to schedule a concert, whether live or virtual, on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 26), or even the mad shopping day, Black Friday, which follows on its heels.

A reduced and socially distanced ASO string section rehearses on September 18.

A reduced and socially distanced ASO string section rehearsal on September 18.

Another date-shifted concert is a special, now scheduled for debut on November 19, featuring ASO Talent development Program alumnus Xavier Foley, who will appear as both double-bass soloist and as composer. The ASO’s new associate conductor Jerry Hou will take the podium for that event.

The orchestra’s other programming has been evolving too. A pair of concerts with small live audiences to be performed this weekend at Serenbe, in Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia, are both sold out (Oct. 2 & 3), which is only one clear indicator that audiences are hungry for live music wherever it can be found. The pops arm of the orchestra, ASO Live, is presenting a number of concerts peppered throughout the remainder of the year. Also, the ASO Virtual Stage continues to offer additional free online experiences.


If you are not already a subscriber to the ASO’s first six classical subscription concerts, you can purchase a Virtual Membership online (from the Home Page click “My Account” then “Sign In” then “Sign Up.”) and you will receive an email with the necessary information to access the concerts. There is also an ASO “tech squad” to assist via live chat from 6-9pm on premiere nights if folks need additional help. More information and FAQs here: — which includes quick notes about getting help browsers, connecting devices, frequently asked questions, and a summary concert listing. ■

The ASO’s most recently updated Delta Classical Series schedule for Fall 2020

  1. Thursday, Oct.1, 2020, 8:00 p.m.
    Robert Spano, conductor
    Gil Shaham, violin
    Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
    MOZART: Symphony No. 41 (“Jupiter”) *
    BEETHOVEN: Violin Concerto
  2. Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020, 8:00 p.m.
    Robert Spano, conductor
    Inon Barnatan, piano *
    Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
    BARBER: Summer Music *
    MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 21 *
    TCHAIKOVSKY: Serenade for Strings in C major *
  3. Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020, 8:00 p.m.
    Donald Runnicles, conductor
    Rainer Eudeikis, cello
    Peachtree String Quartet
    Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
    HAYDN: Symphony No. 60, “Il distratto”
    HAYDN: Cello Concerto No. 2 in D major
    MOZART: Quartet in C major, K. 465 “Dissonance” * (PSQ)
  4. Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020, 8:00 p.m.
    Robert Spano, conductor
    Andrew Brady, bassoon
    Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
    HERTEL: Bassoon Concerto in A minor:
    BACH: Orchestral Suite No. 3
    HANDEL: Water Music Suite No. 2
  5. Saturday Nov. 28, 2020, 8:00 p.m.
    Robert Spano, conductor
    Kelley O’Connor, mezzo-soprano
    RAVEL: Le tombeau de Couperin
    RAVEL: Shéhérazade (arr. Shevtsov)
    SINGLETON: A Yellow Rose Petal *
    RAVEL: Mother Goose Suite *
  6. Thursday, Dec. 5, 2020, 8:00 p.m.
    Nathalie Stutzmann, conductor
    Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
    MAZZOLI: Sinfonia (for Orbiting Spheres) *
    WAGNER: Siegfried Idyll
    BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 1 *

ASO Special: featuring Talent Development Program alumnus Xavier Foley

  • Thursday, November 19, 2020, 8:00 p.m.
    Jerry Hou, conductor
    Xavier Foley, bass
    Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
    SCHUBERT: “The Trout” Qunitet (chamber music) *
    FOLEY: For Justice and Peace *
    BOTTESINI: Double Bass Concerto No. 2 *

* indicates a programming change from the mid-August announcement.

September 18 string section rehearsal, (source: ASO)

September 18 string section rehearsal, (source: ASO)