Cape Symphony Moving Ahead With 2020/21 Season

By: Jennifer Sexton-Riley

On Saturday, Oct. 17 and Sunday, Oct. 18 a program titled By Popular Demand will feature the powerful vocals of Siren Mayhew, LaKisha Jones and the Cape's American Idol finalist Siobhan Magnus (pictured) joining the Cape Symphony to perform some of the most popular songs of all time, including “Respect,” “I’m Every Woman,” and “Proud Mary.”  MARSHALL GOFF PHOTO

Beethoven's 250th Birthday Will Be Running Theme

It’s been a long few months of silent stages and empty performance venues across Cape Cod, but now it’s time to mark your calendar for a musical treat. In September the Cape Symphony, led by Artistic Director and Conductor Jung-Ho Pak, hopes to emerge from the pandemic shadows to take the stage at the Barnstable Performing Arts Center with an unforgettable comeback, including a season-long tribute to Beethoven in celebration of the composer’s 250th birthday.

Members of the Cape Symphony staff have been working hard to create a safe environment for audiences and musicians, and everyone is excited about returning to perform.

“Certainly we have heard from our audience that they miss the Cape Symphony terribly and are longing to hear us perform again,” said Ellen Cliggott, Cape Symphony’s Director of Marketing. “I think we all recognize the power of music to transform our spirits, and we miss the collective experience of hearing a concert together. We’re all going through this crazy, unpredictable time, together but separately, and it’s been really hard on everyone. Music, theater, visual art — it can make such a powerful difference and can literally help us to get through our days.”

While ticket sales and subscription renewals for the 2020/21 season will be announced at a later date, the following is a sneak peek of what is on the schedule for Cape Symphony performances.

Assuming all does go according to plan, on Saturday, Sept. 26 and Sunday, Sept. 27 join the Cape Symphony in wishing Beethoven a happy 250th birthday. The celebration will feature award-winning pianist Charlie Albright, a talented improviser known for channeling the spirit of great classical composers. The evenings will begin with Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5, known as the Emperor Concerto, as well as the bright, joyful Symphony No. 2 from Johannes Brahms, a musical heir to Beethoven.

On Saturday, Oct. 17 and Sunday, Oct. 18 a program titled By Popular Demand will feature the powerful vocals of Siren Mayhew, LaKisha Jones and the Cape's American Idol finalist Siobhan Magnus joining the Cape Symphony to perform some of the most popular songs of all time, including “Respect,” “I’m Every Woman,” and “Proud Mary.” The greatest hits of Whitney Houston, Tina Turner, and Aretha Franklin will fill the Barnstable Performing Arts Center, along with a celebration of memorable James Bond songs including “Goldfinger,” “Diamonds are Forever,” and “Skyfall.”

On Saturday, Nov. 7 and Sunday, Nov. 8, Mayflower 400 will pay tribute to the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ arrival in New England, featuring vocalists Jonathan James-Perry and Kristin Watson, with narration by Josh Delaney. In partnership with the Plymouth Philharmonic, the Cape Symphony is commissioning two new works: “Mayflower,” commemorating the signing of the Mayflower Compact, and “Wampanoag: Stories For All Time.”

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 4 through 6, Holiday on the Cape will fill the air with seasonal songs featuring guest star David Pogue, an Emmy-winning author and journalist of “CBS Sunday Morning” and the New York Times, appearing in his roles as musician, conductor and music lover. He'll be joined by Deanna Loveland on piano, harp and vocals; Harwich resident Keb Hutchings-McMahon on guitar and vocals; and The Chatham Chorale with Music Director Joseph Marchio. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Chatham Chorale, so this performance will shine a spotlight on the local chorale group.

A New Years Day Party will feature the three sopranos of the ViVA Trio on Friday, Jan. 1. A mixture of old and new will once again celebrate Beethoven’s 250th birthday with Concertmaster Jae Cosmos Lee performing “Romance for Violin and Orchestra,” combined with a fresh take on pop hits and operatic classics.

Next up will be a Passport to Hungary: Gypsy Spirit on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 30 and 31, featuring violinist Roby Lakatos and The Roby Lakatos Ensemble. The Cape Symphony will celebrate Hungary’s great classical composers Frank Lizst, with his famous “Hungarian Rhapsody,” and Béla Bartók, who wrote “Hungarian Sketches,” both inspired by their country’s folk traditions, as was Johannes Brahms with his “Hungarian Dances.”

On Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 20 and 21 Grease is the word, as Cape Symphony performs the unforgettable “Grease” soundtrack live accompanying a showing of the full-length film. The 1979 summer blockbuster, starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, launched several popular songs, including “Summer Nights,” “You’re the One That I Want,” “We Go Together,” and more.

On Saturday and Sunday, April 10 and 11, Perfectly Paired will feature twin sisters Christina and Michelle Naughton on piano. The twins have astounded worldwide audiences by playing with precise synchronicity. The Juilliard graduates will perform Francis Poulenc’s “Concerto for Two Pianos,” a dialogue between the two pianists and the orchestra. The Cape Symphony will also present “Concerto for Orchestra” by Béla Bartók, featuring the famous “Game of Pairs” movement with pairs of bassoons, oboes, clarinets, flutes, and trumpets, each pair performing its own solo. This concert was rescheduled from 2020.

On Saturday and Sunday, May 1 and 2, Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, the pinnacle of Beethoven’s 250th birthday celebration, will feature Chelsea Basler, soprano; Laurel Semerdjian, mezzo soprano; Adrian Kramer, tenor; and Zachary James, bass. Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and its final movement, “Ode to Joy,” may be considered a protest anthem, a celebration of music and a call for unity among all humankind.

Finally, on Saturday and Sunday, June 12 and 13, Classical Mystery Tour, The Beatles Tribute, returns to the Cape Symphony stage for an encore performance. Hear “Penny Lane” with a live trumpet section, “Yesterday” with an acoustic guitar and string quartet, and experience the live orchestral crescendo on “A Day in the Life.”

Though it is expected that the season will proceed without interruption, it remains possible that there could be a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the region in the fall. Cape Symphony is prepared to respond to all recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the town of Barnstable, should circumstances require changes to the performance schedule or to health and safety procedures. If this should occur, Cape Symphony will adjust its schedule accordingly in order to adhere to all recommended safety protocols and keep audiences, musicians and staff safe.

Cliggott said that she has heard from many Cape Symphony fans and supporters that they are excited about the 2020/21 season.  

“It’s giving them something to look forward to,” Cliggott said. “Comments from our social media posts indicate that people are ‘crossing their fingers’ that we’ll be able to perform this fall. I think ‘hope’ is the key word here. We don’t yet know what precautions we’ll need to take in the fall, but we’ll do everything that we must in order to keep everyone safe. We’ll be looking at what other orchestras are planning to share insights and logistics. We’re making plans in the knowledge that we may need to change them; but hope is propelling us all forward and hope is what will bring us all out on the other side of this pandemic.”

The Cape Symphony staff will continue to monitor the governor’s phased re-opening plan and the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and provide additional updates about ticket and subscription sales as they become available. Visit for more information. The Cape Symphony office, including the box office, at 1060 Falmouth Road in Hyannis, remains closed. For questions, call 508-362-1111 or email