S.D. Symphony postpones La Jolla concert, its first of winter season, and cancels two others, citing Omicron

San Diego Symphony Music Director Rafael Payare
San Diego Symphony Music Director Rafael Payare is shown conducting the orchestra in July. Citing the again-surging COVID-19 pandemic, the symphony has pushed back next week’s opening of its 2022 winter-spring concert season.
(Sandy Huffaker)

The San Diego Symphony has postponed next week’s opening in La Jolla of its 2022 winter-spring “Hear Us Here” season and canceled two other performances, citing concerns about the surging Omicron coronavirus variant.

The symphony’s concert scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 11, at La Jolla’s Baker-Baum Concert Hall by guitarist Jason Vieaux and an 11-piece chamber orchestra has been postponed, with a new date to be announced.

The two canceled concerts were scheduled for Jan. 15 and 16 at the San Diego Civic Theatre and would have featured the symphony’s principal guest conductor, Edo de Waart, and guest violinist Simone Lamsma with the orchestra.

The “difficult decision” to postpone and cancel was made “after consulting with local health experts” about the surge in coronavirus cases across San Diego County, the symphony said in a statement Jan. 6.

The 112-year-old orchestra, the oldest in California, hopes to resume its new season on Friday, Jan. 28, at the San Diego Civic Theatre if the rate of new cases and hospitalizations has declined sufficiently.

Eight other concerts besides the postponed Jan. 11 performance are scheduled for La Jolla.

The San Diego Symphony will present nine concerts in La Jolla during the orchestra’s ambitious and wide-ranging 2022 winter and spring season.

“In light of the current level of transmission of COVID-19, we felt it prudent to cancel or postpone our performances next week,” symphony Chief Executive Martha Gilmer told The San Diego Union-Tribune. “In taking this decision, we hope that we will be able to welcome our audiences back sooner to enjoy live musical performances once again. Preserving and supporting the health of our musicians, our administration and our audiences is our primary concern.”

The symphony said it will contact ticketholders for the postponed and canceled concerts “to share the options available for each patron.” Symphony music director Rafael Payare and his wife, cello star Alisa Weilerstein, both contracted COVID-19 last summer and made full recoveries.

In 2021, the pandemic forced the orchestra to cancel part of its winter seasons and all of its spring season, followed by a pivot to several streamed concerts in the fall without an audience. Had all gone according to plan this year, the symphony’s 2022 winter-spring season would have included 32 concerts at nine San Diego County venues and one in Palm Desert.

When they resume, the orchestra’s indoor performances for the winter-spring season will require all concert-goers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, present proof of full vaccination and wear masks while in attendance.

On Jan. 5, the California Health and Human Services Agency extended the state’s indoor mask mandate through at least Feb. 15 because of the surging number of coronavirus cases statewide.

The symphony’s final eight performances of the season, all in May, are scheduled to be held outdoors at The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, the symphony’s new $85 million bayside venue in San Diego.

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— La Jolla Light staff contributed to this report.