University of Southern California cancels Piatigorsky International Cello Festival 

The University of Southern California has announced the cancellation of the 2020 Piatigorsky International Cello Festival, scheduled to take place March 13-22.

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 at 6:30 pm on Tues., March 10, the Office of the Provost canceled all university-sponsored events, including the Festival. He stated that “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.”

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.

“We want to thank everyone who has worked so hard to create this extraordinary festival,” said Ralph Kirshbaum, the Festival’s artistic director, “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 Heiden, March 21 with soloist Kian Soltani and March 22 at 2pm with soloist Ralph Kirshbaum as well as the Colburn Celebrity Concert on March 22 at 7:30 pm. For more information, click here.

Kirshbaum added, “We hope everyone, not least our artists, Fellows, patrons and enthusiasts, stays healthy and safe. Know that we will look to create another great cello festival as soon as circumstances permit.”

The University of Southern California and the USC Thornton School of Music will continue to follow the guidelines of our health experts and take every step possible to ensure the wellbeing of the campus community. To find updates on the university’s response to the coronavirus, click here.

Tickets for the 2020 Piatigorsky International Cello Festival will be refunded automatically via the original payment method by Thursday, March 12 at 5pm. Ticket buyers will receive a confirmation email from the USC Ticket Office showing the cancellation/refund of orders. Please allow 7-10 business days for the refund to process and contact bank or credit card providers for additional information regarding pending transactions. If you paid by check, a check from USC will be mailed in 10-14 business days.