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Stanford Live Reimagines Its Fall Season

September 22, 2020

In yet another remarkable pivot by an arts organization hit hard by the strictures of the pandemic, Stanford Live announced a completely reimagined fall season, with new and archived concert films, virtual Shakespeare with kitchen accoutrements, along with fireside chats, podcasts, lectures, and more. This exclusive content will only be available to Stanford students and Stanford Live members. Check the support page for details on membership.

For music lovers, the main event announced so far is a Sept. 27 showing of a brand-new documentary featuring the St. Lawrence String Quartet in their first appearance together since before the pandemic playing — in a masked and socially distanced performance — the entirety of Haydn’s String Quartet Op. 76, No. 5. This video is a collaboration between Stanford Live, Stanford Associate Professor of Documentary Film and Video Jamie Meltzer, Stanford student editors, cinematographer Frazer Bradshaw, and renowned digital arts producer Elena Park.

“We’ve assembled an incredible group of artists and filmmakers to bring the magic of the Bing stage into living rooms throughout the Bay Area,” said Chris Lorway, Stanford Live’s executive director. “While you can never replace the experience of live performance, we hope that seeing some of your favorite artists captured in film in our venue will bring you comfort and hope as we await our collective return to the theater.”

According to press materials, “the film will be more than a virtual concert, though. Through interviews with members of the quartet, behind the scenes footage, and a peek into the personal lives of the quartet, the film tells the story of how the quartet has had to adapt its creative process amid months of COVID-19 restrictions that has resulted in their longest hiatus in the quartet’s 30-year history.”

Other music-oriented events slated for the series include short films shot at Bing Concert Hall featuring pianist Garrick Ohlsson, musician Vân Ánh (Vanessa) Võ, the Kronos Quartet, and more. In addition, the series will screen new performances by other Stanford Live favorites including the Takács Quartet, Manual Cinema, Taylor Mac, and others. Specific dates and details are still to be announced.

In addition, the series includes an at-home version of Forced Entertainment’s Complete Works: Table Top Shakespeare will run through Nov. 15, with four new plays added to the site each week. Each performance will feature one of six actors creating an hour-long narrative version of Shakespeare’s most popular works from their kitchen tables using common household objects to bring the characters to life.

For podcast fans, there is Artists-in-Presidents: Fireside Chats for 2020, a new project curated by artist Constance Hockaday and co-produced by Stanford Live and UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance (CAP UCLA), 50 artists will be paired with notable speechwriters to find their presidential voice. These national addresses kick off the week of Sep. 14.

For more details, visit Stanford Live’s virtual season website. For an optimistic overview of all the events planned for the coming seasons — including live events in 2021 — see the upcoming events page.

Paul Kotapish is the managing editor for SFCV.  You can learn more here or at