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Stanford Live Forges an Adventurous 2020–2021 Season

June 1, 2020

Themes of reconciliation and forgiveness shape the upcoming Stanford Live season, announced on the day COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. passed 100,000, and at a time when the future of public “unstreamed” performances is totally unknown.

Prepared for all eventualities, Stanford Live approaches the next season planning for a variety of programming scenarios. Some options include switching to outdoor venues and opting for livestreams without audiences. If in-person events are possible, increased safety protocols will be established that accommodate the latest health guidelines and consider the health and safety of patrons, staff, and artists.

“Our season launch is not a statement of fact but rather a statement of hope,” says Stanford Live Executive Director Chris Lorway. “We hope that we can deliver many of the programs we have planned in some format, but at the same time, we understand the reality that many of the things we wanted to share with you will likely not be possible.”

“Cultures and stories,” says the announcement, “that have historically been pushed to the peripheries, emerge at the forefront of artists’ visions, bringing a program of meaningful discussion and hope to Stanford Live.”

Against the current situation and challenge, the season has been years in the planning, says Lorway. “There has been a lot of discussion amongst our colleagues and advisors about the role the arts can play in the healing process after times of division. Now more than ever we need collective empathy and forgiveness as we chart a new course forward.”

The 2020–2021 line-up features jazz performances by Christian Scott’s aTunde Adjuah (Oct. 24), Orpheus Chamber Orchestra with Branford Marsalis (Jan. 13), Patti LuPone (Jan. 15), Ladysmith Black Mambazo (Feb. 4), Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Masses for Troubled Times (Feb. 13), Australian Chamber Orchestra (Apr. 11), Silkroad Ensemble (April 14), New Century Chamber Orchestra, with a new work by Tan Dun (April 20).

Theater performances include Anthony Hudson/Carla Rossi’s “Queer Horror’s Gravest Hits” and “Carla Rossi Does Drag” (Nov. 6 and 7), Cliff Cardinal’s Huff (Jan. 21 and 22), and a return visit from Inua Ellams with An Evening With an Immigrant (Jan. 23 and 24).

Some specifics from the 2020 portion of the season:

- Sundays with the St. Lawrence Quartet with guest artist Todd Palmer (Sept. 27)
- Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, The No One’s Rose, a world premiere by the American Modern Opera Company, featuring music by Matthew Aucoin, Oct 7
- Takács Quartet with Jeremy Denk, Oct 11
- Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Ancestral Recall, Oct. 24
- Garrick Ohlsson and Kirill Gerstein, dual pianos, Nov. 1
- A Chanticleer Christmas, Dec. 10
- Rite of Spring, Dec. 11 and 12

The Stanford Live announcement makes special mention of the fact that the university sits on the territory of Huichin, the ancestral and unceded land of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe, who are the successors of the historic and sovereign Verona Band of Alameda County.

“This land was and continues to be of great importance to the Ohlone people. We recognize that every member of the community has benefited — and continues to benefit — from the use and occupation of this land.

“Consistent with our values of community and diversity, we have a responsibility to acknowledge and make visible the university’s relationship to Native people.”

Download a PDF file of the season brochure.

Correction: The Vienna Boys Choir will not be performing in the upcoming Stanford Live season.

Janos Gereben appreciates news tips, corrections, and words of encouragement at [email protected].