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Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra Announces 2021 Season

The season begins on July 10 with Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony and a work by composer and pianist Gabriela Lena Frank, 'Elegía Andina.'

Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra Announces 2021 Season

Chautauqua Institution has announced the 2021 season repertoire of the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Music Director and Principal Conductor Rossen Milanov. The CSO in 2021 will offer 14 performances between July 10 and Aug. 14, with concerts in Weeks Three through Eight of the Chautauqua Summer Assembly, and members will also provide support to the Chautauqua Opera Company's production of Scalia/Ginsburg. The season will also feature some important adjustments that provide for flexibility and creativity in planning.

"We're beyond excited to welcome the sights and sounds of symphonic music back to the Chautauqua Amphitheater and for an in-person audience this summer," said Deborah Sunya Moore, interim senior vice president and chief program officer. "The pandemic limitations we're working within have provided opportunities to experiment and innovate, and the CSO is no exception. When life gave the CSO lemons, Maestro Milanov started mixing lyrical limoncello - we're excited to give our audience sips of compositions that are rarely heard, further diversifying our repertoire."

Plans for the CSO's 2021 season will incorporate a number of necessary changes and procedures to ensure the health and safety of musicians and patrons alike, all aligned with industry best practices and pending state and federal regulations. Performances will often feature a smaller ensemble, with all musicians distanced and non-wind and -brass players masked. With appearances by guest soloists necessarily limited, the repertoire will be designed to showcase the members of the CSO, allowing the community a closer and more intimate look at the vast talent of Chautauqua's resident orchestra.

"Planning for the upcoming season has been challenging but also wholly invigorating - dreaming of how we can make the most of our circumstances and deliver concert experiences that will surprise and delight," Milanov said. "I'm elated to return to Chautauqua and the Amphitheater, and to take the stage with my incredibly gifted orchestra colleagues to make beautiful music for our wonderful audience."

2021 will also feature the return of the Chautauqua Diversity Fellows to the Institution grounds. The program began as an expansion of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music's (CCM) groundbreaking Diversity Fellowship Program for pre-professional underrepresented musicians. 2021 will feature four fellows from the Cincinnati Diversity Fellowship Program and one Fellow from the Sphinx Organization, the pivotal organization dedicated to transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts. This will be the fourth cohort of Chautauqua fellows, and will feature four of the 2020 Fellows who were limited to virtual participation: violinists Yan Izquierdo and Scott Jackson, violist Edna Pierce, cellist Maximiliano Oppeltz and bassist Amy Nickler. (See biographies of each at

The CSO's 2021 season begins on July 10 with a performance of Beethoven's Fourth Symphony and a work by composer and pianist Gabriela Lena Frank, "Elegía Andina," that she says "is one of my first written-down compositions to explore what it means to be of several ethnic persuasions, of several minds." The closing concert on Aug. 14, with Principal Pops Conductor Stuart Chafetz, will feature returning vocalist Capathia Jenkins performing selections made famous by the inimitable Ella Fitzgerald, who last performed at Chautauqua on July 11, 1968. Other season highlights include a preview performance of a new tuba concerto by composer and trumpeter - and frequent Chautauqua collaborator - Wynton Marsalis on July 28; two family-friendly movie nights, with the orchestra accompanying "The Nightmare Before Christmas" (July 17) and 1991's "Beauty and the Beast" (July 24) playing on the big screen above the stage; a special afternoon performance on Aug. 1, allowing attendees to take advantage of Chautauqua's long-standing tradition of free admission to the grounds and Amphitheater programs on Sundays; a performance of Stravinsky's breakthrough Firebird Suite on Aug. 5; and a performance of Guilmant's Symphony No. 2 for Organ and Orchestra, op. 91, featuring newly appointed Director of Sacred Music Joshua Stafford on the historic Massey Memorial Organ.

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