Symphony live-streams Summer Series

The Richmond Symphony’s Summer Series of chamber music, this year marking the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, will be presented in ticketed live streams.

Patrons can view and hear the performances live, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Thursdays from July 9 to Aug. 13, on a private-streaming online channel with interactive features. In addition to performances, the streams will include interviews and opportunities for questions and comments.

Tickets are $12 per performance, or $60 for the full series.

For more information, call the symphony’s patron services desk at (804) 788-1212 or e-mail

Dates, artists and programs for the series:

July 9
Ronald Crutcher, cello
Joanne Kong, piano
Beethoven: “Seven Variations on ‘Bei Männern welche Liebe fühlen’ from Mozart’s ‘The Magic Flute,’ ” WoO 46
Beethoven: Bagatelle in E flat major, Op. 126, No. 3
Beethoven: Bagatelle in E flat major, Op. 33, No. 1
Beethoven: Cello Sonata in G minor, Op. 5, No. 2

July 16
Susy Yim, violin
Magda Adamek, piano
Beethoven: Violin Sonata in A major, Op. 47 (“Kreutzer”)
Beethoven: Bagatelle in F major, Op. 33, No. 3
Beethoven: Bagatelle in B minor, Op. 126, No. 4

July 23
Schuyler Slack, cello
Ingrid Keller, piano
Beethoven: Cello Sonata in A major, Op. 69
Beethoven: Cello Sonata in C major, Op. 102, No. 1

July 30
Daisuke Yamamoto, violin
Michelle Huang, piano
Beethoven: Violin Sonata in C minor, Op. 30, No. 2
Beethoven: Violin Sonata in F major, Op. 24 (“Spring”)

Aug. 6
Jeannette Jang, violin
Russell Wilson, piano
Schubert: Violin Sonata in D major, D. 384
Beethoven: Piano Sonata in C major, Op. 2, No. 3
Beethoven: Violin Sonata in G major, Op. 30, No. 3
Vieuxtemps: “Souvenir d’Amerique”

Aug. 13
Erin Lano, French horn
Maria Yefimova, piano
Cherubini: 2 sonatas for horn and strings
Schubert: “An die Musik”
Beethoven: Piano Sonata in C major, Op. 53 (“Waldstein”)
Clara Wieck Schumann: ”6 Lieder aus Jucunde,” Op. 23 – “An einmen lichten Morgen,” “Lust o Lust”
Beethoven: Horn Sonata in F major, Op. 17

Betty Allan (1929-2020)

Betty Brown Allan, a cellist and founding member of the Richmond Symphony, has died at 91.

A native of Puducah, KY, and graduate of Murray State and Florida State universities, she played in the Nashville and North Carolina symphonies before moving to Richmond. She played in the Richmond Symphony for 44 years, retiring from the orchestra in 2001. She also performed in a number of chamber ensembles, taught cello at Virginia Commonwealth University and taught piano privately.

Memorial donations may be made to the Richmond Symphony, Epiphany Lutheran Church or the American Cancer Society.

Distant prospects for concerts

Researchers from the Charité Medical Hospital in Berlin have issued new guidelines on separation of the seating of orchestra musicians during the coronavirus pandemic, and the figures don’t look promising for resumption of symphonic concerts.

The guidelines recommend that string players be positioned 1.5 meters (about 5 feet) apart, wind players 2 meters (about 6.7 feet) distant from one another, with brass musicians playing behind plexiglass shields, and with conductors positioned at least 1.5 meters from the nearest player.

Given the size of most concert-hall stages, those numbers suggest that a chamber orchestra is the largest group that could be accommodated. And given the distances between musicians, significant issues of ensemble sound arise.

If this guidance is followed by orchestras, listeners could expect to hear more baroque, classical, modern neoclassical and large-scale chamber repertory such as octets and nonets, not much from the romantic era, none of the late-romantic and early modern big-orchestra blockbusters, and markedly different orchestral sound textures, more dependent than ever on the acoustics of the performance space.

Details on the guidelines from Vienna’s Wiener Zeitung newspaper (in German, English translation enabled):

Preliminary findings from researchers at the Bundeswehr University of Munich, examining “both the spit-like (ballistic) spread of larger droplets and the flow-related spread of small droplets (aerosol) when making music,” suggest that professional choral singers spread larger droplets half a meter (about 1.8 feet) or less, and that most wind musicians project droplets 1 meter or less.

Their report is summarized in this article from the Swiss online newsletter Katholisches Medienzentrum (in German, English translation enabled):

Infektionsrisiko beim Chorsingen begrenzt

(Note that the Munich research addresses professional singers, who are trained not to emit as much air as amateurs in vocalizing.)


None of that touches on the issue of social distancing in seating audiences. Is it economically feasible to stage a concert in which patrons need to sit six feet apart – in effect, leaving two-thirds of seats vacant? One European source tells me that concert promoters there are considering schemes in which patrons are required to purchase multiple seats, or even rows of seats, to attend performances.