In Partnership with ODU, Local Public Schools to Gain Mentors

HAMPTON ROADS, VA [January 18, 2022] The Virginia Symphony Orchestra has announced a new Musician Fellowship Program for four early-career African American orchestral string musicians to advance the goal of increased diversity of orchestral musicians nationwide. The first Fellows will join the orchestra in the fall of 2022.  This initiative is a continuation of the VSO’s commitment not only to serve our community but to reflect the diversity of Hampton Roads.

In making the announcement, President and CEO Karen Philion said, “To be truly excellent the VSO must be diverse.  This program is really a game-changer for the VSO and will open up opportunities for not only the Fellows but for everyone who comes in contact with the orchestra.  Thanks to all who were involved in designing this program, especially our musicians whose leadership remains key to its success.”

Music Director Eric Jacobsen added, “The passion and energy of young musicians fuels all of us on stage, and we are incredibly grateful for the community support that makes this groundbreaking project possible.  What we are doing here in Virginia will be a model for other orchestras nationwide.”

The Fellows will perform as part of the VSO in over 100 rehearsals and performances throughout eastern Virginia and engage in public school residencies and educational performances. Professional development opportunities, including private instrument instruction, mock auditions, and mentorship, will better equip Fellows to achieve in their careers as performers and educators. Through these activities, Fellows will receive 9 university-level course credits from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, according to each Fellow’s degree level: undergraduate, graduate, or post-graduate course credit. For those Fellows at a post-graduate level, these 9 credits culminate in a Graduate Certificate in Music Performance.

“The Diehn School of Music at ODU is excited to collaborate with the Virginia Symphony of this Fellowship Program,” said Dr. Nancy K. Klein, Professor of Choral Music and Director of the F. Ludwig Diehn School of Music at ODU. “Offering the Performer’s Certificate as part of the program will open doors for musicians to advance their training and education at the highest possible level. This has been two years in the planning stages and we are happy to see it launched.”

“I’m so pleased that we are starting this program. I look forward to identifying and encouraging talented young musicians— a win-win-win for them, for our orchestra and for our community,” said Vahn Armstrong, VSO Concertmaster.

VSO Musician Fellows will participate in the breadth of work performed by the Virginia Symphony Orchestra including Classics and Regional Classics, Pops, Peanut Butter & Jam family concerts, Young People’s Concerts, outdoor community concerts, chamber music, small ensemble educational concerts for elementary school students, and mentorship and coaching for middle school, high school, and university students.

With their participation, fellows will receive a stipend for the orchestra services and education work performed, housing with a local host family, a monthly health insurance stipend, and a full scholarship to receive course credit from Old Dominion University.

The program is open to violinists, violists, cellists, and bassists who self-identify as Black. Application materials are due March 21, 2022 to  Live auditions will be held at Old Dominion University in Norfolk April 4 and 5, 2022.  For more information on eligibility, and the application and audition materials, please visit This Fellowship, in partnership with Old Dominion University, is made possible by generous support from the Hampton Roads Community Foundation with assistance from the Goode Family Foundation.


As the region’s most celebrated musical, educational, and entrepreneurial arts organization, the Virginia Symphony Orchestra challenges expectations and pushes the boundaries of what an American orchestra can be.

Driven by a core belief of excellence and innovation, the VSO has received national attention for its unique mission serving a home area of 1.7 million across the diverse communities of southeastern Virginia. Through appearances at the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall and its commitment to adventurous programming, the VSO and its musicians have been highlighted in The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Public Radio, and BBC Worldwide News.

Presenting more than 150 concerts and events annually for over 100,000 residents and visitors, the VSO and VSO Chorus are the largest performing arts organization in southeastern Virginia. Recent innovations include health and wellness programs, interactive therapeutic experiences for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia, and adopting welcoming concert environments for neurodiverse audiences. Since 2019, the VSO has been nationally recognized for striving to reflect the region’s ethnic and racial diversity in its members, programming, and leadership.

Selecting the young and dynamic conductor Eric Jacobsen as music director earlier this year was yet another bold step forward, further expanding the VSO’s vision to attract wider and larger audiences with engaging concert experiences and creative, relevant programming. With Norfolk native Thomas Wilkins as the artistic leadership team’s Principal Guest Conductor, VSO is committed to telling its community’s stories and advancing conversations that promote understanding and belonging among all residents.

Old Dominion University, located in Norfolk, is Virginia’s forward-focused public doctoral research university with approximately 23,500 students, rigorous academics, an energetic residential community and initiatives that contribute $2.6 billion annually to Virginia’s economy.


January 18, 2022

Contact: Collin Norman, Director of Marketing & Communications
Phone: 757.213.1424

Twitter: @VASymphony


Nathaniel Stampley starred as ‘Porgy’ in the Broadway National Tour of The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess. He has also starred on Broadway in CATS, The Color Purple, and The Lion King. West End (London): The Lion King. Broadway National Tours include Ragtime and Orpheus Returns. Other credits include Big Love, Fiorello! and Lost in the Stars, New York City Center's Encores!; Abyssinia, Pacific Overtures, Strike Up the Band, One Touch of Venus, Violet, Once on This Island, Big River, The Color Purple, Dreamgirls, Show Boat, Harriet: The Woman Called Moses, El Capitan, Girl Crazy, and The King and I. He has performed in The Weill Music Institute concert series, Musical Explorers and Link Up with the Orchestra of St. Luke's at Carnegie Hall, and at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Other concerts include 92Y, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Elgin Symphony Orchestra (Naxos recording). El Paso Symphony Orchestra, the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra, West Michigan Symphony and Bernstein's Mass with the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra.


Ali EwoldtAli Ewoldt has appeared as Christine Daaé in The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, Cosette in Les Miserables (Broadway, National Tour), The King and I (Broadway, Lyric Opera of Chicago), and Maria in West Side Story (National Tour, International Tour). Ali’s concert work includes: Alice Tully Hall, NY Pops at Carnegie Hall, Houston Symphony, Kaohsiung Symphony and The Boston Pops. Ali has a BA in psychology from Yale University and is a proud Filipina-American. @aliewoldt


Teri Hansen has received International recognition for her crossover abilities as a singing actress from Opera to Broadway and concert stages around the world. Miss Hansen made her Broadway debut in The Boys From Syracuse and starred in London’s West End as ‘Magnolia’ in Hal Prince’s Tony award winning production of Show Boat. Most recently she starred in the National Tours of The Sound Of Music (Elsa) and the Tony Award winning An American In Paris. Miss Hansen starred in tours of The Music Man as ‘Marian Paroo’, ‘Guenevere’ in Camelot and as ‘Magnolia’ in Show Boat. Internationally recognized as an interpreter of Weill, Miss Hansen starred as “Rose” in the film version of Kurt Weill’s Street Scene. Miss Hansen also toured for years with Marvin Hamlisch, appeared at the Lincoln Center singing Rodgers and Hammerstein, as well as regular appearances there as a part of the prestigious “Meet the Artist” series. Her solo CD “Into Your Arms…Love Songs of Richard Rodger’s” is available worldwide.



Sean MacLaughlin recently garnered critical acclaim across the country performing the role of Juan Peron in the Broadway National Tour of Evita. He has sung with countless symphony orchestras throughout the United States and Canada singing the music of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and Richard Rodgers. Broadway credits include Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera, Elton John’s Lestat, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Woman In White and Bombay Dreams. Other credits include Transport Groups Productions of The Audience, Requiem for William, and Baby: in Concert; South Pacific: In Concert at Carnegie Hall; Grand Hotel, Follies and More at Signature Theatre in DC; The Sondheim Celebration: Merrily We Roll Along and Chess at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; Frank Wildhorn’s Excalibur and Webber’s Sunset Boulevard. Film includes HBO’s Something the Lord Made and Walking Shadows.


VSO Guest Artist: Andrew von Oeyen

Hailed worldwide for his elegant and insightful interpretations, balanced artistry and brilliant technique, Andrew von Oeyen has established himself as one of the most captivating pianists of his generation.

Since his debut at age 16 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Esa-Pekka Salonen, Mr. von Oeyen has extended his interpretive voice to a broad spectrum of repertoire as both a soloist and recitalist. He has collaborated with such ensembles as the Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, National Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Saint Louis Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Mariinsky Orchestra, Berlin Symphony Orchestra, New Japan Philharmonic, Singapore Symphony, Grant Park Orchestra, Ravinia Festival Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony, Utah Symphony, Orchestre Symphonique de Marseille, Geneva Chamber Orchestra, Spoleto USA Orchestra, Slovenian Philharmonic and Slovak Philharmonic. As both soloist and conductor he has led concerti and orchestral works by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Ravel and Kurt Weill. On July 4, 2009, he performed at the U.S. Capitol with the National Symphony in “A Capitol Fourth,” reaching millions worldwide in the multi-award winning PBS live telecast.

‍Mr. von Oeyen has appeared in recital at Wigmore Hall and Barbican Hall in London, Lincoln Center in New York, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Boston’s Symphony Hall, Zürich’s Tonhalle, Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Hall, St. Petersburg’s Philharmonia, Dublin’s National Concert Hall, Royce Hall in Los Angeles, Herbst Theater in San Francisco, Spivey Hall in Atlanta, Sala São Paulo, Teatro Olimpico in Rome, in Mexico City, Hanoi, Macau, and in every major concert hall of Japan and South Korea. Festival appearances include Aspen, Ravinia, Grant Park, Mainly Mozart, Saratoga, Schubertiade, Spoleto, Brevard, Grand Teton, Chautauqua and the Mariinsky’s “Stars of the White Nights.”

Mr. von Oeyen has recorded for Warner Classics since 2017. His albums under that label, including works for piano and orchestra by Saint-Saëns, Ravel and Gershwin and a disc including Debussy’s Fantaisie pour Piano et Orchestre, have been met with critical acclaim. Mr. von Oeyen has also recorded award-winning recital albums of Liszt, Debussy, and Stravinsky under the Delos label.

Mr. von Oeyen, of German and Dutch origin, was born in the U.S. He began his piano studies at age 5 and made his solo orchestral debut at age 10. An alumnus of Columbia University and graduate of The Juilliard School, where his principal teachers were Herbert Stessin and Jerome Lowenthal, he also worked with Alfred Brendel and Leon Fleisher. He won the prestigious Gilmore Young Artist Award in 1999 and also took First Prize in the Léni Fé Bland Foundation National Piano Competition in 2001. Mr. von Oeyen lives in Paris and Los Angeles.