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San Juan Symphony Kicks Off Virtual 2020-21 “Essential” Season on October 3

Durango, CO: BLACK VOICES AND A BALLET FOR MARTHA Set for Saturday, October 3rd, 2020, 7:30 pm, Online Release

This year, more than ever, the San Juan Symphony believes music is essential!

Our virtual 35th season kicks off on Saturday, October 3 with an online performance of Black Voices and a Ballet for Martha at 7:30 pm. Video recording of the concert took place at beautiful Blue Lake Ranch in August with Thomas Heuser conducting. Maestro Heuser will also offer a “Musically Speaking” pre-concert talk on Wednesday, September 30, as well as live comments on concert night.

Aaron Copland wrote “A Ballet for Martha” in 1944. The wartime ensemble consisted of just 13 musicians, and the collaboration with Martha Graham resulted in Appalachian Spring, an iconic vision of American Shaker communities. The program also features music by Jessie Montgomery and Bruce A. Russell, two Black composers whose voices resonate with the racial justice movement and introduce a season-long conversation about diversity and inclusivity in the performing arts.

All musical content may be accessed via the San Juan Symphony website after purchasing a Digital Season Pass for $99 at www.sanjuansymphony.org. All concerts will remain accessible on the website as long as copyright regulations allow, usually at least a week.

Buy a pass now to access recent individual recording projects by members of the San Juan Symphony. We’re making music safely and behind the scenes until we can gather in person again.

San Juan Symphony Goes Online for 2020

DURANGO, CO — Friends of the San Juan Symphony have come to expect thrilling live performances in Durango, Colorado and Farmington, New Mexico. The beloved regional orchestra has been thriving, but now we are entering a time of incredible uncertainty. The coronavirus pandemic has upended plans in 2020, canceling both concerts and fundraisers and complicating the organization’s upcoming 35th season. Despite many months of difficult news—complete with closed venues, travel restrictions, the health crisis and canceled guest artists—the San Juan Symphony is preparing an online season of musical events unlike any in its history.

“We are determined to make music and to connect with our audience” explains music director Thomas Heuser from his home in Durango. “Now more than ever before, we feel that music is essential, and so we are calling our 35th season Essential. We cannot have live audiences, nor can we bring large orchestras together, but we can still make music. And so rather than throw in the towel, we are thinking outside the box and bringing the Symphony into people’s homes.”

Available now, the Symphony will make a Digital Season Pass available for $99 by visiting www.sanjuansymphony.org. The virtual season ticket guarantees that, despite the pandemic, households in the Four Corners and around the country will be able to enjoy four subscription concerts of the San Juan Symphony, conducted by Heuser, pre-recorded and released during exclusive, live-streamed events. In addition to the four main programs, the website will host a variety of engaging content, including the popular Pre-Concert Talks by Heuser, interviews with composers and musicians, plus a video series of solo and ensemble performances by SJS musicians that have been commissioned by Dr. Heuser specifically for the online audience.

The musicians of the San Juan Symphony have been busy in advance of the website rollout. Season Pass holders can already enjoy performances of music by Telemann, Haydn, Glazunov, Mozart, and many others, with more than a dozen other projects already in the production pipeline. The first subscription event, scheduled for October 3rd, will be called “Black Voices and a Ballet for Martha,” with Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring Ballet for its original 13 musicians alongside two new works by Black composers, launching a season-long conversation about diversity and inclusivity. Other composers planned for the subscription series include George Walker, Eleanor Alberga, Gustav Mahler, and Astor Piazzola.

The Digital Season Pass will provide access to exclusive website content for an entire year. As the season progresses, other ticketing options will be introduced, including a $25 week-long pass, a $5 day-pass with limited content access, and coupons for students and music teachers. While the virtual tickets may seem like an unfortunate alternative to live music, they also offer a unique opportunity to reach new audiences, particularly first-time listeners, families with young children, audiences in other parts of the country, and those who might have physical limitations to attending concerts. Aspects of the digital concert experience are likely to become lasting features of the Symphony even after concert halls reopen.

Plans are also being made for the San Juan Symphony Youth Orchestra program. With school music programs in jeopardy, SJSYO conductors Sayra Siverson and Molly Jensen are planning a robust year of musical instruction, designed with everyone’s safety in mind. Online tutorials and practice guides will assist students in their preparation of orchestral repertoire, with conductors and professional coaches establishing both remote and in-person relationships throughout the season. More than anything, the students want to perform, and like their adult counterparts at the Symphony, they look forward to being back onstage as soon as possible.

The San Juan Symphony is actively seeking feedback and support from its Durango and Farmington communities. With some businesses unable to predict the depth of the downturn, individual donors are being asked to keep up their giving while the non-profit applies for state and federal funding. Purchasing a Digital Season Pass is the single best way to support the orchestra right now. For complete information please visit www.sanjuansymphony.org.


San Juan Symphony Provides March 24 Update

Dear members of the San Juan Symphony community,

We continue to monitor the ongoing COVID-19 crisis in the United States. Given the indefinite postponement of our April concerts, we are now focused on this season’s remaining event, notably the San Juan Symphony Roaring Twenties Symphony Train & Spring Gala which was scheduled for May 3 at River Bend Ranch.


We are postponing this event until it is safe to gather again, perhaps in the fall.  We are grateful to lead sponsor Al Harper at the D&SNGR for working with us to reschedule. And, we are grateful to our honorary sponsors and table chairs who had already stepped up to lead this effort. We’ll call on you soon!


In the meantime, while you are enjoying quality time at home, please consider using the Amazon Smile link below to place orders for items you need.  Amazon will donate a portion of sales back to the San Juan Symphony when you use this link: smile.amazon.com/ch/23-7414147.


As the San Juan Symphony is a non-profit institution relying on both ticket sales and contributions, we ask you to consider donating the cost of your unused season tickets. Single ticket refunds for the April concert are now being processed by the Community Concert Hall in Durango and Henderson Hall in Farmington. If you choose to make your unused season ticket a tax-deductible donation, you do not need to do anything at this time.


If you purchased season tickets, you also have these two other options which can be arranged by leaving a message at the symphony office at 970-382-9753 or e-mailing: sanjuansymphony@musician.org:

– exchange your April tickets for credit on your account to a concert held at a later date;

– receive a full refund for the value of the April tickets.


We look forward to providing another update next week. Meanwhile please send any questions, comments or concerns to the San Juan Symphony at sanjuansymphony@musician.orgor by calling 970-382-9753.


We’re working behind the scenes at our homes to plan our exciting 2020-21 season. More information will be coming your way soon!



Thomas Heuser, music director

Kathy Myrick, executive director

San Juan Symphony Board


San Juan Symphony Indefinitely Postpones Upcoming Concerts Out of Caution Over COVID-19

Dear members of the San Juan Symphony community,

We at the San Juan Symphony have been closely monitoring the ongoing and developing situation concerning COVID-19 in the United States. Just yesterday, both of our venues in Durango and Farmington announced temporary closures in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus in our communities. As a result, and out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to postpone indefinitely our subscription concerts of April 4th and 5th in Farmington and Durango. Our hope is to reschedule the events but we have no further information about that at this time.


We make this announcement with a heavy heart: our guest artist, musicians, and staff have been putting in countless hours of work behind the scenes in preparation. Our season has been a great success and to stop right now is a terrible shock to the system. Please know that this is not a decision that we have made lightly. As other communities have decided to move away from holding mass gatherings and public events, we also feel a responsibility to protect our patrons and musicians from the potential of a wider spread of the virus.


Please check back soon for updates regarding our scheduled events in late April and early May, including the San Juan Symphony Youth Orchestra concert on April 28th and our Roaring Twenties Symphony Train Gala on May 3rd. Please send any questions, comments or concerns to the San Juan Symphony at sanjuansymphony@musician.org or by calling 970-382-9753.


We hope you remain safe and well, and we look forward to seeing you again at the concert hall very soon.



Thomas Heuser, music director

Kathy Myrick, executive director

San Juan Symphony Board of Directors

San Juan Symphony Elegance & Intensity Season Concludes with Thrilling Virtuosity in Farmington and Durango

The overarching themes of “Elegance and Intensity” are perfectly fused in this program of Thrilling Virtuosity. Grammy Award- Winning violinist Karen Kim makes her San Juan Symphony debut with the flashy and heartfelt Barber Violin Concerto. The Coriolan Overture showcases the great Beethoven at his most passionate, and the First Symphony of Shostakovich creates wild contrasts and great tension that already reveal the composer’s mature voice—a voice that would challenge Soviet norms and spark revolution.

The performances are scheduled for Saturday, April 4 at 7:30 pm at Henderson Performance Hall in Farmington and Sunday, April 5 at 3 pm at the Community Concert Hall in Durango. Maestro Thomas Heuser will preview each concert an hour before showtime in the halls. The talks are free and the public is invited to attend.

Karen Kim has performed in such prestigious venues and series as Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium and Zankel and Weill Recital Halls; the Celebrity Series of Boston; the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society; the Vienna Musikverein; London’s Wigmore Hall; the Musée d’Orsay in Paris; the Seoul Arts Center; and Angel Place in Sydney, Australia. She received the Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance in 2011 for her recordings of the complete quartets of György Ligeti.

She is a member of the Jasper String Quartet and a founding member of Third Sound, which made its debut with an historic residency at the Havana Contemporary Music Festival in 2015. She is also a member of Talea Ensemble, Deviant Septet, and Ensemble Échappé, and frequently performs with such groups as the East Coast Chamber Orchestra and NOVUS NY.

Thrilling Virtuosity is sponsored by James Foster and the Connie Gotsch Arts Foundation.

For Farmington tickets, please call the Henderson Hall box office at 505-566-3430. For more information, please visit www.sanjuansymphony.org. For Durango tickets, please call 970-247-7657, purchase online at www.durangoconcerts.com, or visit the Community Concert Hall ticket office in the Welcome Center at 8th St. and Main Avenue.

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