Naumburg Orchestral Concerts Cancels 2020 Season But Pays Artists Full Fees
Today, the Naumburg Orchestral Concerts announced that it would honor its financial commitments to all musicians scheduled to perform during the 2020 season, whether or not the concerts are canceled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The series is the oldest continuous, free, outdoor, Western classical music concert series in the world and has been held in New York's Central Park every summer since 1905.
"Our series is based on a foundation of deep respect and admiration for the skill and talent of professional musicians," said Christopher W. London, President of the Naumburg Orchestral Concerts. "At a time when the country's performing artists are experiencing unprecedented financial hardship, and thousands upon thousands of public performances have been canceled, our board felt strongly that we needed to show our genuine support for the musical community."
The 2020 season, as originally scheduled, was to begin with a performance by the East Coast Chamber Orchestra on June 17, followed by The Knights on June 24, A Far Cry on July 7, Marc André Hamelin, Lara St. John and the Ulysses String Quartet on July 14, and the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra on July 21.
The organizers of the Naumburg Orchestral Concerts fully intend to move forward with any part of the planned 2020 season if the prevailing circumstances and due prudence permit them to do so.
Elkan Naumburg, a prominent Wall Street banker at the end of the 19th and turn of the 20th century, began the concert series in 1905. He is known today for both the free symphonic concerts in Central Park, and for the Naumburg Bandshell which he donated in 1923. Elkan also created the first pension fund for musicians in New York, for a group now called the NY Philharmonic. His son Walter carried on the development of classical musical resources and talent by the creation of an international competition in 1925, and six music professorship chairs and scholarship funds for music students at Juilliard and Princeton. Elkan's niece Eleanor and her husband Elliott Sanger co-founded WQXR with John V. L. Hogan.