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VSO offers virtual BeethovenFest finale in response to COVID-19

Tune in the the livestream at 2 p.m. this afternoon (Sunday, March 15) for Beethoven's Sixth Symphony live from the Orpheum Theatre
The VSO is offering a livestreamed performance of Beethoven's Sixth Symphony as a virtual finale to its Beethoven Festival, which was cut short by new restrictions on mass gatherings in the face of COVID-19. VANCOUVER SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA PHOTO

THE WORLD needs music now more than ever.

That's the message from the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, which is offering up a virtual finale this afternoon to its ongoing Beethoven Festival. The festival, marking the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth, was cut abruptly short after new health restrictions came into place Thursday banning mass gatherings, to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

The VSO, under the baton of Maestro Otto Tausk, will perform Beethoven's Sixth Symphony (Pastorale) direct from the Orpheum Theatre—and livestream it so audiences can enjoy it from the safety and comfort of their own homes.

The program will also include pianist Saleem Ashkar joining the VSO for Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4.

"Music and the arts are the heart of our community. We are facing unprecedented times and we need music now more than ever," wrote Angela Elster, VSO president and CEO, in a message to orchestra audiences.

"In the last few days we have seen a global philosophical 'coming together' in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19. We have committed to physically distance ourselves from one another to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our community. It's the right thing to do.

"Ironically, it's precisely in times of crisis that the human spirit is compelled to come together. The word 'symphony' in fact means coming together. As such, ... Maestro Tausk and the musicians of the VSO invite you to come together with us in a virtual finale to BeethovenFest";

You can watch the livestream here at 2 p.m. this afternoon (Sunday, March 15).

For full details of the VSO's response to the COVID-19 situation, see a message on its website here