Festival artistic director Ralph Kirshbaum thanks ‘warmth, affection and generosity of spirit’ of festival colleagues and supporters

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Photo Dario Griffin USC

The University of Southern California has announced the cancellation of the 2020 Piatigorsky International Cello Festival, scheduled to take place from 13-22 March. The University made the decision as a precaution due to the uncertainty around the COVID-19 virus and its impact on large scale events and gatherings.

In a memo issued at 6:30 pm on Tuesday 10 March, the Office of the Provost announced the cancellation of all university-sponsored events, including the festival. ‘It is our responsibility to you and our greater community to be proactive in our efforts to encourage social distancing as a means of preventing the spread of illness,’ he said.

A statement posted on the USC Thornton School of Music website reads: We are heartbroken about the cancellation of this unique celebration of music, held every four years in Los Angeles. The festival’s 42 meticulously planned events were to be the culmination of three years of planning, collaboration and visionary programming.

Festival artistic director Ralph Kirshbaum said: ‘We want to thank everyone who has worked so hard to create this extraordinary festival, from the musicians here in Los Angeles to those who were set to travel the world to be here, to our remarkably supportive sponsors, and to the dozens of USC staff members who have attended to every detail in order to provide all of us with an extraordinary, seamless experience. If any reassurance of the warmth, affection and generosity of spirit of my beloved colleagues in the cello world was needed, the events of the past 24 hours have amply provided it. The unanimity of their concern, compassion and encouragement has been overwhelming.’

Four LA Phil concerts at Walt Disney Concert Hall, which were included as part of the festival, are scheduled to take place as planned:

March 20 with soloist Laura van der Heijden
March 21 with soloist Kian Soltani
March 22 at 2pm with soloist Ralph Kirshbaum
March 22 at 7.30pm - Colburn Celebrity Concert

For more information visit https://piatigorskyfestival.usc.edu/

Updates on the USC’s response to the coronavirus outbreak can be found here.