One Year in the Life of TCS

Dear TCS Family,

One year ago, we were gathered for a concert — we did not know then that it would be the last time we would be able to meet and share music together in person before a global pandemic would shutter our stages. Now, one year later, we are long overdue in reaching out to say hello during these extraordinary times filled with so much extra, so much less, and so much ordinary all at the same time.

First of all, we hope you and your loved ones are safe, healthy, and well. It has been a year of loss for too many. We lost one of our own, cellist Kurt Behnke, right at the beginning. Our thoughts and condolences are with everyone who suffered the loss of a loved one.

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From March 2020, we canceled all of our in-person events, weathered quarantine and the ever-shifting landscape, and took the time to look inward as an organization. Looking outward at the events unfolding around our country related to the Black Lives Matter movement, we started our internal antiracist book club and implemented diversity and inclusion initiatives across our organization which include our internal orchestras and social justice working group. 

As small signs are popping up that the warmth and hope of a new spring are indeed coming, we would like to share with you a few upcoming events, open to the public:

Monthly Chamber Concerts (First Sunday of Each Month)
Street Lab Collaboration around Chelsea Market

  • Street Lab is a non-profit organization creating and sharing extraordinary programs for public spaces across New York City
  • We will be starting small with solo or small ensemble sets and dreaming bigger for the future
  • Next concert will be on Sunday, April 4, 2021

Professional Development Webinar Series
Everyone is welcome to join these complimentary educational webinars

We hope you will join us for these upcoming webinars and performances!

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TCS percussionist Michael Blancaflor performed on vibraphone and drums on Sunday, March 7 as part of Street Lab outside Chelsea Market

We are thrilled to be able to share two pieces from our March 2020 concert with you on our TCS YouTube channel!

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Tim KiahTruth Unto the People with text from Sojourner Truth's 1851 "Ain't I a Woman" speech featuring Bonita Oliver and Onome, World Premiere March 2020


Mike Boyman: Concerto for Two Horns and Wind Ensemble featuring hornists Jessica Santiago and Emily Wong, World Premiere March 2020

Lastly, although we have been musically quiet, TCS has been busy behind the scenes with organizational changes, new projects, and planning for the time when we will be able to come together again. Below is a summary of some of the efforts we’ve undertaken in the past year: 

  • In June 2020, in response to, and in solidarity with, the George Floyd and BLM protests for racial and social justice, TCS initiated a regularly convened antiracist book club to engage musicians in study and discussions around race and how to be better allies
  • Throughout 2020 and 2021, TCS has partnered with NYC’s Department of Correction through The Right Now Project and expanded for more bespoke content to deliver access to high-quality classical music performances to 4,000+ Detainees in 8 facilities 
  • In September 2020, TCS’s board adopted a new mission statement
  • In December 2020, we continued our beloved annual tradition performing Aaron Dai’s The Night Before Christmas with remotely recorded musicians and special guest narrator John Lithgow, which premiered December 11 on the daily web series Stars in the House with Seth Rudetsky & James Wesley

Aaron Dai: The Night Before Christmas featuring special guest narrator John Lithgow, December 2020

  • Beginning in January 2021, we convened a working group to investigate how orchestral organizations can institute best practices for an inclusive, diverse, and accessible orchestral music culture; a public-facing presentation of findings will be shared later this year
  • In February 2021, a digital professional development webinar series for musicians began
  • This March 2021, TCS launched its partnership with Street Lab, to bring live outdoor performances and educational activities to Chelsea Market on the first Sunday of each month
  • In June 2021, TCS will be releasing new video performances - more info to come!

Several of these programs are made possible with the generous support of the Cultural Development Fund, a program of NYC’s Department of Cultural Affairs.

Thank you, as always, for your friendship to The Chelsea Symphony - we look forward to seeing you again soon.