Philadelphia Orchestra Plays for Empty Hall Amid Coronavirus Precautions

A sold-out Philadelphia Orchestra Beethoven program was performed for an empty hall and livestreamed on Facebook on Thursday, March 12, as events were canceled across the US over concerns about COVID-19, according to local media.

The Philadelphia Orchestra performed Ludwig van Beethoven’s 5th and 6th symphonies at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts’ 2,500-seat Verizon Hall for a virtual audience. The venue, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, announced it would be closed, in accordance with city orders, until April 11.

The Philadelphia Orchestra’s Facebook livestream was viewed about 233,000 times and shared more than 3,300 times.

The orchestra also performed the world premiere of Iranian-Canadian composer Iman Habibi’s Jeder Baum spricht (which translates to “Every Tree Speaks”), a piece that imagines Beethoven’s response to today’s climate crisis, local media reported.

“Thank you everyone for tuning in and spending your evening with us (virtually)! Wishing you all a peaceful night,” the Philadelphia Orchestra said on Facebook after the show. Credit: The Philadelphia Orchestra via Storyful