Cabrillo Festival Cancels 2020 Season

Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music Announces Unprecedented Cancellation of 2020 Season

SANTA CRUZ, CA—March 28, 2020—The Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, America’s longest running festival of new orchestral music, regrets to announce the cancellation of its 2020 Season, scheduled for July 26-August 9, 2020.

For the past 58 years, the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music has been at the forefront of presenting new music, bringing together audiences with preeminent and emerging composers, an orchestra of dedicated professional musicians, and renowned guest artists from across the globe to give voice to works which are rarely more than a year or two old. Its 2020 Season, led by Grammy Award-winning Music Director and Conductor Cristian Măcelaru, was brimming with timely, topical, and thought-provoking new works.

However, in light of national and local guidelines regarding social distancing and the spread of COVID-19, the Festival will be canceling its season, for the first time in its 58-year history.

“The Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music 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,” said Executive Director Ellen Primack. “That sense of intimacy is at the core of who we are. Our artists travel from across the country and globe and stay in homes with members of our community – making us especially vulnerable. In turn, we feel a special sense of responsibility to safeguard those we hold most dear to us.”

In a time of great uncertainty, the Cabrillo Festival will remain loyal to its orchestra, artists, contractors, and production team, providing them some form of compensation, and also intends to retain its full staff through this temporary cessation.

“We are working on ways to share the music our audience has come to expect at Cabrillo – new, thought-provoking content addressing the issues of our time,” said Măcelaru. “This is not a substitute for the spiritual connection we form with our audience each year, but a bridge to the 2021 season. I speak on behalf of the entire orchestra when I say that we are deeply grateful to the Cabrillo Festival family for supporting us through this current situation. Their generosity will ensure a strong and healthy return in 2021. Music plays a crucial role in the healing of our societies. I cannot wait to welcome our audience and musicians back to celebrate our shared love for new music.”

Also slated for hiatus this summer is the Church Street Fair, a 29-year collaboration between the Cabrillo Festival and the Civic Auditorium/City of Santa Cruz. Designed to showcase the rich diversity of visual and performing arts in Santa Cruz, the two-day street fair has become a beloved tradition, drawing 14,000 locals and area visitors to Downtown Santa Cruz each year.

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