COVID-19 Updates

Thank you for staying updated on how this unfolding public health situation is affecting Rochester Symphony:


Dear Friends,

This was going to be our opening weekend—the first concert of our second century of bringing great music to life in Rochester. We had big plans for presenting all 160 musicians of the orchestra and the chorale together on stage to kick off the concert season in a big way. But that was "plan A" and 2020 had different plans for us!



One of the frustrations we all share in the current pandemic is our inability to get together to “bring great music to life” in person. We miss each other and we miss you!

As you know, we had to cancel our final two concerts last season to keep us all safe. Thank you for your understanding and generosity about that sad decision.

We had planned our full season for 2020-2021 before the pandemic hit. Of course, much of that season will have to be put on hold.

At this point, scientists have told us that instruments that make sound using human breath (i.e., winds, brass, and, especially, chorus) are less safe in live performance until the pandemic is brought under control. So we have asked our players to be creative in combining in small, safely distanced groups to bring us music we can enjoy right now.

Our plan is to offer three online performances of about an hour this fall to supplant our normal trio of concerts in October, November, and December. These will be professionally videoed and recorded at the Mayo Civic Center and offered to you and all our friends. We won’t be handing out printed programs, of course, but there will be concert information available for download and I’ll be there to guide us along the way. We are not charging for admission to these online events but are asking for a voluntary contribution to help defray the costs of producing the performances.

What will happen in the second half of our 20-21 season we aren’t yet sure. We currently have a series of live concerts planned for February, March, and April. In the more than likely event that live concerts for at least part of that period will not be possible, we plan to create additional online performances. In these we hope to have larger groups performing with a greater variety of instruments reflecting more the way an orchestra sounds. We, of course, will let you know of our plans as they develop.

When we have our first program ready for online performance in the coming weeks, we will let you know. We hope you will enjoy what our musicians have put together at this point. And I’ll be back in touch soon with specific details on all our autumn online offerings.

Please feel free to reply with your thoughts on our plans for this season. All of us at Rochester Symphony are eager to get back to what we do best—bringing great music to life in live concerts.

In the meantime, please stay safe. I look forward to seeing you online or in person soon!

-Maestro Jere Lantz


Dear Friends,

A celebration of the Women's Suffrage Movement, Beethoven's 250th birthday, and the return of Dr. Richard Kogan in concert - all on the backdrop of an ever-changing global pandemic. Planning is difficult and we have chosen not to place tickets on sale at this time, but we are excited to update you on the artistic planning going on behind the scenes!


We are exploring digital and chamber music formats for the fall of 2020, and are hoping to open a live three-concert season in February of 2021.




Of course, we can’t know yet, but it seems that the Rochester Symphony season for 2020-2021 may well have three concerts in February, March, and April of 2021. We have created programs for people who both love music and seek to explore the connection between great music and our world.

In February, pianist and psychiatrist Dr. Richard Kogan will return to perform Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 while illuminating how Tchaikovsky’s mental turmoil changed his life and his music. We’ll also introduce Rochester to the long-neglected Symphony No. 1 in E Minor by Florence Price, the first African American to have her music performed by a major orchestra.

March brings “When We Were Young,” celebrating the ways we all enjoyed childhood, from Mozart’s Magic Flute (and his father’s Toy Symphony) to Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite, from Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty to Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel. Plus a space fantasy called Starburst by Jessie Montgomery, a young composer who is opening the ears of people everywhere.

We close in April with “The Spirit of Us,” the concert we planned to climax our centennial season this past April with a focus on the power of music to break down barriers and unify people. Song of Democracy, based on poetry of Walt Whitman, calls on Americans to consider how we live in community together. The jazz-based team Ike Sturm and Dean Sorenson look toward our second century with the world premiere of their For the Breath, a suite celebrating collaboration in our community. We close with Beethoven’s revolutionary vision calling for universal community in his triumphant Ninth Symphony.


- Maestro Jere Lantz


Dear Friends,

As most of you have likely predicted, we have finally and officially decided to cancel our “Cheers to 40 Years” concert. Originally scheduled for March, we rescheduled for June 20 with hope that groups could gather safely in the concert hall by then. This is clearly not going to be the case. 

As many of you have also noticed, we have not yet opened ticket sales for the 2020/21 season. We have refrained from doing this because we are uncertain as to what our season will look like next year. Rochester Symphony board and staff are in the process of reviewing a few different scenarios and we will let you know the moment we have a season ready to announce! 

For now, we are sharing online performances by our musicians in a series called "Music for Now," and Maestro Jere Lantz is sharing his vast musical knowledge in a blog called, “Dear Maestro,” in which he answers questions about music in written letter format, and includes videos of musical selections that illuminate his stories. All of these can be enjoyed on our website at 

We certainly didn’t anticipate our Centennial Season being cut short by a global pandemic, but are enjoying staying connected to our patrons and community in different ways. As we look to next season, we are dedicated to pursuing our mission - We Bring Great Music to Life - even if it takes a very different form than traditional seasons. We are looking forward to sharing more with you about that in the coming weeks. Thank you for your patience, generosity and friendship to Rochester Symphony. And thank you for your support during a very special Centennial Season!


Dear Friends,

Since postponing our March 14 concert, Cheers to 40 Years, we have been monitoring the growing public health responses to COVID-19 in relation to how this effects our audience members. We have made an attempt to plan a few months into the future based on the information we have now. We know things are likely to change in ways we don’t expect - that is certainly one thing this pandemic has taught us. But we also feel it’s important to plan for what we know at this time and then adjust accordingly when needed.

The schedule for the remainder of the 2019/20 concert season:

Cheers to 40 Years: This concert was to be performed on March 14 and was postponed. We have rescheduled it for Saturday, June 20, so mark your calendars!

We know this could change, but feel this is far enough in the future to be hopeful that we can gather for a concert again at that time. If our community is on the other side of social distancing by then, we’ll all be ready for the beauty of a live orchestra performing Wagner and Brahms!


If you cannot attend the rescheduled June 20 date, we can process your ticket

return in the following ways: 

  • You can return your ticket as a donation. You will receive credit for a donation to Rochester Symphony in the amount of your ticket value. 

  • You can request a voucher for use at any concert next season.

We can provide you with a donation to the symphony for the value of your ticket.
Provide a voucher for use next season.

The Spirit of Us: This concert scheduled for April 25 & 26 has been cancelled for this season. We plan to schedule it into next season’s programming so we can still bring you the world premier Centennial Commission that is currently being created, and of course, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. We can’t think of a better way to kick off the 2020/21 season and usher in the beginning of our second century than with these celebratory pieces.

Return processing for The Spirit of Us concert tickets:


If you cannot attend the rescheduled June 20 date, we can process your ticket

return in the following ways: 

  • You can return your ticket as a donation. You will receive credit for a donation to Rochester Symphony in the amount of your ticket value. 

  • You can request a voucher for use at any concert next season.

  • If you have purchased your tickets individually and not part of a season ticket package, you can request a refund. 

Returning your ticket for a donation: During the best of times, life changes quickly. When you can’t use your tickets, returning them as a donation supports Rochester Symphony in a meaningful financial way. During this unprecedented time of        shut-downs, your decision to return your ticket for a donation is more helpful than ever. Many of you have already expressed a desire to return tickets for a donation and we are incredibly grateful for this show up support!

If you are not in a position to return your ticket for a donation credit, we understand. Whichever method you choose, contact us with your preferred method of ticket return through email or phone. It may take us a few days to complete the processing and we appreciate your patience during this time.

Reminder: As staff are working from home, email is more efficient at this time. It may take a few days to respond to phone calls, and again, we are grateful for your patience.

Contact us with ticket questions and return preferences:  |   507-286-8742

Thank you!


Dear Friends,

While the situation in our community is changing daily, we wanted to give you a brief update on what Rochester Symphony is doing this week in response to unfolding COVID-19 developments.

The Rochester Symphony physical office is closed for the time being. Staff are working remotely. We are checking voicemail messages daily and each of us can be reached by email. If you would like to contact us, send your email to, and your message will be forwarded to the correct person. Individual staff email addresses can be found at

As you know, our March 14 concert, “Cheers to 40 Years,” has been postponed. The very moment we are assured that it is safe for the community to gather again, we will set a new date and make sure each patron knows when that will be. We are immensely grateful for the graciousness you’ve shown by holding on to your tickets and assuring us that you’ll celebrate with us when we are able to perform this concert for you! Once we know the new date, if you are unable to attend, we will work with you at that time to process ticket exchanges.

We have not yet made a decision about our April concert, “The Spirit of Us.” The staff and Board of Directors are working this week to evaluate programming options in light of rapidly evolving information and recommendations from medical experts and the State of Minnesota. Once again, we are grateful for your patience as we process daily changes and we hope to have more information to you by next week.

Please continue to stay in touch with us through our email updates and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. If you know a patron of Rochester Symphony that does not have email, please relay our updates and pass along our greetings and well-wishes.

In communicating with our supporters and community leaders, we have been reminded again that Rochester Symphony is more than an orchestra and chorale. It’s a community of people who are committed to uplifting each other through the universal language of music.


Until we’re able to bring great music to life for you again in the concert hall, we’ll continue to keep you updated and send along musical inspiration from our musicians.

With well wishes,
Rochester Symphony staff — Jere, Amy, Stephanie and Sarah.