27 Mar

Vancouver Symphony Announces Cancellation of Concerts through June 06, 2020 in support of COVID-19 Mitigation

  • All concerts cancelled or postponed until June 6, 2020
  • VSO could face an immediate loss of $3M in revenue
  • Following cessation of live performances on March 13, orchestra musicians and staff will remain employed for a full month
  • Ticketholders can support the VSO by donating their tickets back in exchange for a tax receipt

Vancouver, Canada (March 27, 2020) — Today, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO) and VSO School of Music President and CEO Angela Elster, along with Board Chair Etienne Bruson and Music Director Maestro Otto Tausk, announced that the VSO will cancel or postpone all concerts through to June 6th, 2020, the final performance of the VSO’s 2019-2020 subscription series. The cancellations are in accordance with the measures currently in place to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Musicians and staff will remain fully employed until April 12th, at which time all musicians and the majority of staff will be laid off. The VSO’s senior management team will take a voluntary 50% pay cut in solidarity with the musicians and staff.

The VSO invites all ticketholders to consider supporting the VSO through this extremely challenging situation by donating tickets for cancelled concerts back to the VSO in exchange for a tax receipt. Donations can be made online at myvso.ca/covid-19

Subscriptions to the 2020-2021 season are still on sale and can be purchased online at vancouversymphony.ca. Subscribers can renew their seats and series by emailing the VSO box office at customerservice@vancouversymphony.ca. By subscribing now, you will be helping the VSO musicians and staff through these unparalleled challenging times.

Elster commented, “This is one of the most heartbreaking decisions we have ever had to make. Our very purpose is to connect and bring people together but COVID-19 is forcing us apart. Our musicians have responded remarkably, first with a free streaming performance to close our BeethovenFest and now with many creative virtual projects. The VSO School of Music has likewise moved programming online and is reaching a whole new audience of families looking for exceptional music education opportunities in this time of social distancing.

I know our audience members, donors, and supporters would like nothing more than to be back in the concert hall right now. Our primary concern is the safety and health of our musicians, staff, audience members and community. Together we can slow the spread of COVID-19.

We fully support the call for social distancing and our communal effort to flatten the curve. However, the impact on the VSO and the culture sector is catastrophic. The VSO faces an immediate estimated shortfall of $3M in ticket revenue. The market situation could have a long-term impact on our fundraising efforts. We applaud the economic support already announced by government and urge all levels of government to include specific measures to support the cultural community. We ask our donors, sponsors and loyal patrons to continue to donate at this unfortunate time – we need you more than ever. We look forward to playing a leadership role in reharmonizing and revitalizing our sector once the need for social distancing has passed. We will return better than ever. See you in the concert hall.”

Maestro Tausk commented, “Our thrilling 101st season has closed with an unexpected bang. The right thing to do now is take an intermission, but we will make sure our 102nd season will be one of celebration. I can’t wait to be with all of you again in the concert hall. We will return to bring music to our wonderful audiences and listeners in the future. Music can connect us and that is needed now more than ever. Please keep safe. We will make music together soon.”

Bruson commented, “This is an extremely difficult decision for us to take. The entire organization has been working closely together to make this decision for the long-term health and prosperity of the VSO. I want to thank the management team and board members who have worked tirelessly through process. I especially thank the musicians and staff whose goodwill and team mindset throughout this situation has been amazing.”


April 3 & 4 The Music of Joe Hisaishi | Postponed to May 28 and 29, 2021 – Current ticketholders will automatically be exchanged into the new performance dates. Ticketholders do not need to contact the VSO Box Office unless the dates do not work for them.

April 5 Day Of Music | postponed to TBD future date

April 17-19 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 in Concert – Postponed to January 28/29/30 – Current ticketholders will automatically be exchanged into the new performance dates. Ticketholders do not need to contact the VSO Box Office unless the dates do not work for them.


March 26 Tea & Trumpets: New York, New York | cancelled

March 27 & 28 The Celtic Tenors | cancelled

March 28 Rhythm In Your Rubbish | cancelled

April 24-26 Mozart and Rimsky-Korsakov | cancelled

April 30 VSO Afterwork: Bernstein & Gershwin | cancelled

May 1 & 2 Musical America: Bernstein, Gershwin, Previn | cancelled

May 7-9 Beethoven 8 Plus Symphonic Mandolin | cancelled

May 15 & 16 Purcell & Handel | cancelled

May 17 Carte Blanche: Marcus Goddard | cancelled

May 21 Tea & Trumpets: Roman Carnival | cancelled

May 22 & 23 Steven Page and Friends with the VSO | cancelled

May 24 Lemony Snicket – The Composer is Dead | cancelled

May 29 & 30 Teddy Bears Musical Picnic | cancelled

May 29-31 Tovey Conducts Chopin and Vaughan Williams | cancelled

June 5 & 6 A Little Night Music: Mozart & Berlioz | cancelled


Ticket holders are invited to donate the value of their tickets back to the VSO for a tax receipt.

In order to support Social Distancing the VSO is moving to a virtual box office for the forseeable future. You can use the form linked here to donate your tickets back to the VSO or exchange them for a future concert voucher. You can email customerservice@vancouversymphony.ca with specific requests. Or you can leave a message at 604-876-3434 and our team will respond as quickly as possible.

We greatly appreciate your patience as we are dealing with a large number of ticket holders at this time.

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