1. Eugene Symphony 115 W. 8th Ave. #115. 541-687-9487. EugeneSymphony.org.
2. Oregon Mozart Players 317 Goodpasture Island Rd. Ste A. 541-345-6648. OregonMozartPlayers.org.
3. Delgani String Quartet 541-650-5040. Delgani.org.
Eugene may never know how lucky it is to have Francesco Lecce-Chong leading the Eugene Symphony. Over the few years he’s been in Eugene he’s brought contagious enthusiasm for classical music to the Willamette Valley and made classical music cool again.
Though COVID-19 threw a wrench in every musical group’s plans, Lecce-Chong found a way to continue the mission of bringing music to Eugene patrons via social media. Classical music has a reputation for gatekeeping everyday listeners away, but with outreach during the pandemic Lecce-Chong has continued to chip away at that bad image by making the art form more accessible through explaining concepts and breaking down musical compositions.
Before COVID-19 changed the performing arts, the Eugene Symphony found ways of packing the Hult Center. I’ve only seen every seat filled in the Silva Concert Hall a few times, and Eugene Symphony’s performance of A New Hope, aka the original 1977 Star Wars film, is one of those events. By performing the John Williams blockbuster scores along with the corresponding movie, the Eugene Symphony found a gold mine to not only sell tickets but also to present an orchestra to new audiences. When the pandemic is over, I hope Lecce-Chong, who worked as an assistant for Williams at one time, considers a concert of only Williams’ Star Wars work because his compositions are as good — if not better — than the movies themselves.