COVID-19 Festival Impact Updates

Cabrillo Festival has cancelled its originally-planned 2020 season, as a proactive measure in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are planning new ideas for the summer, and will post important communications here until then. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us directly. Thank you for your understanding and support!

Cabrillo Festival 20/20. Save our dates! The Virtual Season - July 25-August 9

Reshaping Our 2020 Season

May 13, 2020

Friends, I hope you are well. We’re living through challenging times that call upon us to be our most resilient selves. For me, this means having the courage to be optimistic in the face of all that confronts us, and to be especially creative about how we share our art form and our artistry at a time when the world needs it the most.

On March 10 Cabrillo Festival announced a 2020 season program that I was so excited to share, the culmination of months (and years!) of work and planning. It soon became clear to us that the pandemic was a major threat, and on March 28 we cancelled the season for the sake of everyone’s safety and wellbeing. I was so moved by the board and staff’s decision to prioritize providing financial support to all of our orchestra members, guest artists and production team, many of whom are enduring unprecedented losses. And in the midst of heartbreak came so many expressions of understanding, love, gratitude, and devotion from our Cabrillo Festival family. We heard over and over from musicians and fans how important the Cabrillo Festival has been in their lives, how much they will miss us all being together this summer, and how committed they are to ensuring that we can gather again when it is safer to do so. These outpourings give us the confidence and courage to pursue strategies and bold ideas that will bridge the distance between us, and ensure the Festival’s healthy future.

We have made a commitment to all the 2020 composers and guest artists that they will be reengaged during the 2021 and 2022 seasons; and soon we will announce plans for an exciting virtual season this summer, of which I am genuinely proud. Despite our physical distance, we will make music and we will connect with you! My thoughts are so often with my Festival family these days, and I very much look forward to connecting in new and different ways this summer.

With warm regards. Stay well.

Cristian Macelaru
Music Director and Conductor


Messages from Ellen Primack, Liza Culick and Cristi Macelaru

March 28, 2020

To our dear Cabrillo Festival family,

Cabrillo Festival distinguishes itself, not just by the music we play, but by the unique sense of intimacy and connection we create among our musicians, our audiences, our staff and volunteers. That sense of intimacy is at the core of who we are.

The current imperative for “social distancing” is exactly why Cristi, the Board of Directors, and staff believe it is necessary for us to cancel the 2020 Festival season. Even if we begin to emerge from this crisis in the coming weeks or months, the risk is far too high to accept. Because all our artists travel from across the country and the globe to stay in homes with members of our community, we are especially vulnerable; and, in turn, we feel a special sense of responsibility to safeguard those we hold most dear.

With help from our generous community, over many years Cabrillo Festival has built a reserve fund that can help sustain us through this crisis; but we will need your understanding and support to ensure our future. Knowing the incredible toll this pandemic is taking on those who make their living making music, the Festival will use our resources to provide some level of compensation to our orchestra, our artists, and production team, and will maintain our commitment to our devoted staff. Those will be our priorities.

We will move forward in the coming months to plan and build an even stronger more sustainable organization, and a spectacular 2021 season. In the absence of a 2020 Cabrillo Festival, our staff will devote ourselves to supporting other community organizations who may need our talent and time on a pro bono basis. This is a time to come together—perhaps not physically, but in all other ways—to bolster one another.

We recognize the stock market and economy are in flux, but we ask that if you are able to make a contribution to support and sustain the Cabrillo Festival and our community of artists, please do so now. It will be used as the foundation of our meaningful work and incredible music making for years to come. Click here to make a donation today.

“We will continue creating new ways to share the music our audience has come to expect at Cabrillo—new, thought-provoking content addressing the issues of our time. This is not to substitute the spiritual connection we form with our public every year, but to provide a bridge to the 2021 season. Our return means we understand the crucial role music has in the healing of our societies. And our answer to this need will be through music of comfort and hope. I speak on behalf of the entire orchestra when I say that we are deeply grateful to the Cabrillo Festival family for helping us overcome this current situation, and with their generosity ensuring a strong and healthy return in 2021. I cannot wait to welcome our audience and musicians back to celebrate together our shared love for new music.” —Cristi

If you have already purchased subscription tickets, you may click here to review options for a full refund or to donate their value to the Festival. If you have questions or concerns, or just want to touch base, please feel free to contact us. We will respond as quickly as possible.

Cristi’s programming for 2020 was so timely and meaningful. We were excited to welcome the artists and composers who were being newly introduced or returning; and bringing together the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra members with our community seemed more necessary for our spirits than ever before. We are grieving the loss of our annual gathering and the inspiration it brings, as we know you are. But we are also proud to prioritize everyone’s safety and the long-term future of the Festival we all love so much.

We’re so sorry to convey this sad news today and appreciate your continued support more than you can imagine.

Thank you for your understanding.

Stay healthy and write to us if you have questions or wish to stay in touch.

Ellen M. Primack, Executive Director

Liza Culick, Board President


A Message from Music Director Cristi Macelaru


COVID-19: A special message from Cristi and Ellen

March 19, 2020

To our beloved audience members and patrons,

Cristi and I and everyone here at Cabrillo Festival are thinking of you all—here in Santa Cruz and across the globe—and hoping that you, your families, and your communities are staying healthy. We know this is a profoundly difficult time for everyone, and our hearts are with each of you and with all of our artists.

At this juncture, Cabrillo Festival is still planning for and moving forward with presenting our 2020 season in August. We are monitoring the COVID-19 situation daily, and we acknowledge the uncertainty. We do, however, want you to know that we will make our decisions based on the well-being, health, and safety of our audience, artists, hosts, volunteers, and staff. Until we can plan definitively otherwise, we will continue to ready ourselves for the music to play and the community to meet. The Festival staff is working remotely from home, the Civic Auditorium is closed to the public, but subscriptions may be ordered online anytime or by mail, and donations made via our website. Our 2020 season program and artist bios are available on our website now. Please join our mailing list to receive updates.

As many of you are “sheltering in place” now, we would like to offer some gifts from the Festival Archives for your online enjoyment. We are curating a special collection and will release soon, in the meantime, we hope you will find these uplifting:

Meet the Composers videos
Audio excerpts

The Festival holds out hope that we may prove an antidote to these challenging times, offering powerful music and meaningful connection that will heal our heavy hearts. We promise to update you as the situation unfolds. Again, first and foremost, our thoughts and wishes are with you for your good health.
Stay home. Stay healthy.

On behalf of all of us at Cabrillo Festival,

Ellen M. Primack
Executive Director

P.S. This remains a very busy and concerning time for us, however, we want you to know that we are here for you. If you have a pressing question or concern, please use our website contact form. We’ll do our utmost to respond with haste.

Musicians bowing in front of audience

How can we help you?

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors