The Handel and Haydn Society has announced two major decisions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
First, with the closure of Symphony Hall to live audiences through the end of November, the Handel and Haydn Society will make changes to the first two programs of its season.
Second, Harry Christophers, who was to have ended his tenure as Artistic Director this season, will extend his directorship one season. He will remain with the organization through the 2021-2022 season.
The concerts that will be affected by the closure of Symphony are Brahms’ A German Requiem, originally scheduled for Sept. 25 and 27, and Bach + Vivaldi “Gloria,” a Baroque choral program scheduled for Oct. 23 and 25. Both programs will be postponed to later dates and will instead offer revised programs on those weekends via live streaming.
The organization is also considering a live stream option for its performances of “Messiah” on Thanksgiving weekend.
“I was so looking forward to my final season filled with many of the works I have most enjoyed performing with H+H. For all of us, this year will go down as our annus horribilis so I am thrilled to be able to celebrate in a proper way next season. H+H is so dear to my heart and I miss you all terribly. However, I look forward to welcoming you, our amazing audience and supporters, back for what will be a joyous and restorative 2021-22 season,” Christophers said about his decision to extend his contract.
Additionally, the H+H Board has agreed to compensate musicians who will lose employment this season at the rate of 50 percent of what they normally would have received.