The Chattanooga Symphony & Opera is taking its show on the road, sort of, with a unique schedule for the 2020-21 season. It will open at 7 p.m. Friday with Percussion & Friends, a free community concert at the Tennessee Riverpark that will feature classical works, patriotic favorites and modern percussion pieces.
It is the first public performance in the CSO's First Horizon Foundation Instrumental Series, which was created to feature smaller concerts with fewer musicians and limited audience sizes, providing for a safer concert experience for both audience members and musicians in the face of COVID-19.
In addition to allowing audiences to get out and hear a live symphony, the updated format will introduce audiences to new works and instrumental combinations that they would not typically experience in a normal season.
"As I was reprogramming the 20/21 season to fit the precautions of COVID-19, I had a great opportunity to explore works that I have never encountered before," said Kayoko Dan, CSO music director.
"I am excited to share these works with the Chattanooga community, and you will see various configurations of musicians throughout the season: brass quintet, percussion trio, string orchestra, woodwind octet, horn/trombone duo and more. This season will highlight all our wonderful musicians and is a fabulous opportunity for us to be creative and flexible."
The programming will include works ranging from the classics of Beethoven and Mozart to modern pieces by local composers such as Kenyon Wilson and Jonathan McNair.
Audiences can continue to celebrate the holidays with the CSO as they take the stage for two Christmas-themed programs in December and two concerts highlighting romantic works for Valentine's Day. The organization will continue its commitment to highlighting both female composers and composers of color with pieces by a diverse group of classical and modern composers.
The Instrumental Series will also bring the CSO into new indoor and outdoor venues throughout the Chattanooga area.
"We are thrilled to offer live performances in a variety of locations around our community, and in unique venues not typically set for classical music performances," said Samantha Teter, CSO executive director.
She said the organization began planning ways to perform back in April and has worked with several organizations to make it happen.
"We're excited to be working with Hamilton County Parks Department, Red Bank Parks, Collegedale Commons, AT&T Field, local churches and hotels and more. These new or strengthened partnerships will ensure that our reach into the community can continue beyond this COVID-19 affected season."
While the percussion show is free, many future shows will be ticketed. The CSO will host several free community concerts throughout the season, including its annual Veteran's Day performance, and livestreaming and recorded content will be available at various points throughout the season for a small fee. Current CSO subscribers will receive first access to seating for ticketed concerts, but tickets will be available to the public for any seats still available after subscribers have been allocated performances.
For more information, visit chattanoogasymphony.org or contact the CSO Box Office at 423-267-8583. The box office is also open for limited office hours each Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.