This has been a long, difficult year for us all. And for many of you reading this letter, you may be disappointed to see such reduced capacities in the Dock Street Theatre for Spoleto’s chamber music concerts. I understand your frustrations. Please know that decisions this year have not been made on a whim—Festival organizers have been in constant communication with a team of medical professionals at MUSC in an attempt to follow and adapt CDC health guidelines for our purposes. We realize our efforts to mitigate the risks posed by COVID-19 are not perfect, yet they are of the utmost importance as we work towards keeping our Festival family—audience members, artists, and staff—as safe as possible.
In a normal season, this week is often brimming with excitement surrounding the chamber music program reveal. Of course, this year is far from normal. Plans for the 2021 program have pivoted more times than my hairdos have from year to year—which is to say, a lot. I joke; yet these changes have reflected the unpredictable course of the pandemic.
Still, there may be some light. In a break from tradition, we will be videotaping all 11 chamber music programs and sharing video footage from the concerts via email, on spoletousa.org, and on Spoleto’s social media platforms. The recordings will feature performance highlights from the live concerts along with introductions from my friends and fellow musicians. You’ll see the world premieres from Jessica Meyer and Osvaldo Golijov as well as star performers including Alisa Weilerstein and Anthony Roth Costanzo.
The aural magic created in the Dock Street Theatre is not easily replicated, but our friends at South Carolina Public Radio come close. As they have in previous years, their engineers will be recording each concert, then broadcasting them—in full—during the weekday program Sonatas and Soundscapes, beginning Friday, June 4, at 11:00am ET. Tune in to the show on air or online to hear each program, and stick around as the host, Bradley Fuller, talks to some of this season’s performers.
I know firsthand that my colleagues and I will miss seeing a theater so full of familiar faces, and until we can all be together again, I hope you will take advantage of these concert streams. Spoleto Festival USA and its chamber music series could not be possible without your unwavering support, and I thank you for your continued understanding. I welcome your questions and concerns; please email me.
The Charles E. and Andrea L. Volpe Director of Chamber Music