The New Hampshire Music Festival has announced that it has canceled the 2020 season.
In an email message to patrons posted on its website, NHMF Executive Director Lucinda Williams and board chairman Phil Boulter said the decision was difficult, but made in keeping with recommendations from state public health experts.
“Our decision is consistent with decisions being made by many other regional and national orchestras. We must keep the safety of our patrons, musicians, festival and Plymouth State University staff foremost in our minds,” the announcement said.
Over the past eight months, Music Director Paul Polivnick, along with key staff and artistic advisory committee members, worked hard to prepare the 2020 season, which was to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Beethoven as well as the 68th season of the festival.
Founded in 1952 as a small chamber orchestra performing on Melody Island on Lake Winnipesaukee each July and August, the festival has blossomed into a highly valued community asset.
Each summer musicians from around the country come together to perform well-known classics and contemporary works. For the past 20 years, the Silver Center for the Arts at Plymouth State University has been home base for the festival that has an educational outreach program that links elementary school students with world class musicians.
Among the planned highlights of the season was the return of a symphony by Alan Hovhaness, “Loon Lake.” It was commissioned by the festival many years ago and features the haunting sounds of the beloved water bird.
Choral Director Jenny Cooper had planned to assemble a 100-member volunteer chorus of voices from across the state to present Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 as the season finale.
At this time, the NHMF anticipates presenting in 2021 as much as possible of the planned 2020 programming. Boulter said the festival will continue to plan and present school education programs to welcome students back to the classroom.
“In addition, the board and staff will be working on opportunities, when it is appropriate to do so, to bring the Festival musicians to Plymouth to present chamber music and recital concerts so that the festival can remain part of the fabric of our community,” Williams said.