The Boston Symphony Orchestra cancels its European tour due to rising COVID cases

Andris Nelsons conducting the Boston Symphony Orchestra in February. (Courtesy Aram Boghosian)
Andris Nelsons conducting the Boston Symphony Orchestra in February. (Courtesy Aram Boghosian)

The Boston Symphony Orchestra has cancelled its upcoming European tour.

In a statement Monday, BSO leaders said they canceled the tour due to concern over rising COVID-19 cases in Europe and the U.S. and, therefore, the potential for travel disruptions. Additionally, there has been an increase in COVID-19 cases among members of the orchestra and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus after recent Symphony Hall performances.

Thirty-one performers were impacted by the recent surge, according to the statement. None of the cases were severe.

"Sadly, the only prudent and responsible course of action is, with deep regret, to cancel the European tour,” said BSO President and CEO Gail Samuel in the statement.

The BSO was set to tour through Vienna, Leipzig, Hamburg and Paris from May 15 to 24. The orchestra's European performances were part of a tour partnership with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, which BSO music director Andris Nelsons also leads, focused on the works of Richard Strauss.

"I was deeply passionate and excited to share this international alliance — a musical and human bond between exceptional orchestras on two continents — with our audiences," said Nelsons in the statement. "I am so very sorry for all presenters and audience members who were looking forward to the BSO’s performances, and to all the wonderful teams who spent so much time and energy on making this dream a reality."

The Gewandhausorchester Leipzig performances are scheduled to go ahead as planned.

More than two years ago, the BSO canceled its Asia tour as the coronavirus pandemic began. It went on to cancel a few seasons. The BSO resumed performances at Tanglewood in July 2021, and continued its 2021-2022 season at Symphony Hall in Boston, with pandemic restrictions in place.

The BSO upgraded its ventilation system at Symphony Hall, and continues to ask ticket holders for proof of vaccination and to wear masks during performances. The organization's protocols will be re-assessed and adjusted if necessary, according to the BSO's statement.

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Andrea Shea Correspondent, Arts & Culture
Andrea Shea is a correspondent for WBUR's arts & culture reporter.



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