All full-Orchestra concerts originally scheduled for August and early September 2020 have been cancelled, as they are not in compliance with current state guidelines for gathering safely

Four newly-added weeks of limited-seating chamber music (small ensemble) performances are now scheduled throughout August 2020, to be held on Peavey Plaza outside Orchestra Hall

Phased re-opening approach is based on guidance from health authorities
and local government agencies

Outdoor performances will feature 250-person capacity limit,
face masks and physical distancing

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA (July 7, 2020) — The Minnesota Orchestra announced today the cancellation of all full-Orchestra concerts scheduled to take place inside Orchestra Hall in August and early September 2020, as they are not in compliance with the “Stay Safe MN” current guidelines for large events in the effort to limit the spread of COVID-19. The cancelled concerts include all programs previously scheduled from August 3, 2020, through September 5, 2020.

In place of the cancelled concerts, the Minnesota Orchestra is pleased to announce a phased return to live concerts, beginning with 24 newly-programmed chamber music (small ensemble) concerts outside Orchestra Hall on Peavey Plaza throughout the month of August. These concerts are offered as a complimentary thank-you for concertgoers who currently hold tickets to the cancelled August and early September full-Orchestra performances. Those concertgoers will be contacted directly with a full range of ticket/credit options for the cancelled concerts, as well as an invitation to attend the newly-added outdoor performances. Due to limited capacity, tickets are not available for purchase to these chamber performances, but there will be a small number of complimentary tickets available to the public through an online lottery system. For more information, visit

“While we aren’t able to offer the full-Orchestra concerts in August that we originally envisioned, we are pleased to focus on what the Orchestra can responsibly and creatively do next month in alignment with the State’s ‘Stay Safe MN’ guidelines,” said President and CEO Michelle Miller Burns. “Right now, that means we can take advantage of summer weather to offer outdoor chamber music for small audience groups—with physically separated seats, face masks and screening surveys all in place. This is the first step in the Orchestra’s gradual, phased approach to offering concerts again, and we are proceeding with great care to make it a safe and joyful experience.” 

With programs designed by Minnesota Orchestra musicians, every concert throughout the month of August will feature a piece of music written by a Black composer. The repertoire will be announced from the stage and will include music by composers such as Ludwig van Beethoven, Benjamin Britten, Valerie Coleman, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Paquito D’Rivera, Jean Françaix, Devonté Hynes, Wolfgang Amadè Mozart, Daniel Bernard Roumain, William Grant Still, Igor Stravinsky, Jerod Tate, Heitor Villa-Lobos and George Walker, among many others.

These limited-capacity, physically-distanced performances will each feature groups of up to eight Orchestra musicians. Concerts will take place daily at 7 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday, from August 4 through August 30. Each event will be approximately 70 minutes in length and will run without intermission. The total capacity for the concerts, including musicians, staff and audience members, will be up to 250 people, and seating for both musicians and audience members will be physically spaced at a safe distance. In the case of inclement weather, performances will be cancelled.

“Minnesota Orchestra musicians are so grateful to the loyal audience members who have stood by the organization through pandemic-related concert changes and cancellations over the past four months,” said Silver Ainomäe, associate principal cello and chair of the Musicians’ Artistic Advisory Committee. “We’ve spent several weeks reformulating our August programming to showcase really wonderful small ensemble chamber music. New safety measures will be part of concertgoing now, but these will not diminish the music itself. We can’t wait to offer live musical performances again as a gesture of our thanks.”

COVID-19 Concert Safety Protocols
The Minnesota Orchestra’s top priority is the health and safety of all guests, musicians and staff. Below is a list of the many protocols that will be implemented at the outdoor concert offerings in August. These will also serve as the foundation for protocols and plans as the organization advances into additional concert phases after August. The Orchestra will announce specific plans for fall concerts in mid-August. 

A complete list of Concert Safety Protocols is available at

  • reservation is required to attend. 
  • Face coverings are required for all audience members, musicians and staff. (Woodwind and brass players will remove masks on the stage to perform.)
  • All concert attendees, musicians and staff will be required to complete a short, online, pre-concert health screening
  • Seating capacity will be reduced to 250 people or less (including musicians and staff) based on state guidelines. Seating will be arranged in pairs only, with each pair at least six feet apart from any surrounding seat. 
  • Enhanced cleaning procedures: The Minnesota Orchestra Facilities team implemented new cleaning protocols in June in accordance with CDC guidelines. These same strict cleaning regimes will be in place for outdoor concerts. Common areas and high touch points will be routinely cleaned throughout the event with medical-grade disinfectant. 
  • Outdoor concert seats will be cleaned before and after every concert. 
  • Although Orchestra Hall is closed to the public, the indoor restroom facilities will be open in conjunction with all outdoor concerts in August. The restrooms and surrounding spaces will be monitored closely for cleanliness and sanitized frequently throughout the evening.
  • Orchestra Hall currently meets or exceeds all CDC recommended ventilation standards
  • Directional signs and reminders will be posted throughout Peavey Plaza to guide audience members in maintaining safe physical distancing before, during and after every concert. 
  • Concert seating and surrounding spaces will be stanchioned off to maintain the maximum attendance of 250. 
  • After the concert, the Audience Services team will release attendees in small groups by seating section—each group will have a separate departure path to exit the space.
  • The Minnesota Orchestra provides an on-site EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) at all events. Disposable masks and hand sanitizer will be available at the EMT location.