COVID-19

The Bad Plus Live Again

Oct 5, 2020
Todd Steed

Did you know The Bad Plus just performed at the Bijou Theatre?  For no audience? Todd Steed sat down with pianist Orrin Evans to dicuss this unique concert that streams online this Friday as part of the Big Ears Festival. 

The Crossing

"America's most astonishing choir"--The New York Times

The Crossing: based in Philadelphia and led by Donald Nally, this professional chamber choir is dedicated to commissioning and recording substantial new works for choir. Many of its nearly ninety commissioned premieres address social, environmental, and political issues. With a commitment to recording its commissions, The Crossing has issued nineteen releases, receiving two Grammy Awards for Best Choral Performance (2018, 2019) and seven Grammy nominations.

Marble City Opera has had to postpone one production due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Leoncavallo's I Pagliacci was originally scheduled for May 29th and 30th, but has been postponed to August 13, 14, and 15th. Fortunately, the original venue of the Tennessee Ampitheatre in World's Fair Park remains the same and offers a great solution of outdoor seating and space for social distancing. During this time when the curtain is temporarily closed, executive and artistic director, Kathryn Frady, has been brainstorming and sharing ideas with other arts administrators.

The city of Oak Ridge, TN was essentially born out of a need to solve a problem. Established in 1942 as a production and development site for the Manhattan Project, scientists came to live and work in this small town where the atomic bomb would be developed. Not long after arriving in Oak Ridge, one scientist, Waldo Cohn, a cellist, felt the need to play chamber music with some of his colleagues. Out of this grew the Oak Ridge Symphonette, which would later become the Oak Ridge Symphony, conducted by Cohn.

Symphony Orchestras and performing arts organizations all over the world have had to cancel performances, postpone events and shutter concert hall doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Live performances involve large groups of people and that's not a good idea right now. So what are these artists doing in the meantime? How do they create music and connect with an audience? Thankfully, we are in a digital age and have technology to help, but how people choose to use that technology is up to them.

In early to mid-March, when performances and tours were swiftly cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a small window of time, before lockdowns were set into place. The professional male vocal ensemble Cantus seized the opportunity and recorded as many songs as they could in a span of three days, a total of twenty-eight, which they have called the COVID-19 sessions. The eight-member ensemble chose selections from their repertoire that they knew they could put together quickly and that would also bring comfort to their fans.