HAMPTON ROADS, VIRGINIA (January 25, 2019) – Virginia Symphony Orchestra announces today its 2019-2020 Classics Series which boasts eight incredible weekends of favorite classics, world-renowned soloists, guest conductors and JoAnn Falletta in her 29th and final season as Music Director.

The season will be hosted by the Honorable Ralph S. Northam and First Lady Pamela Northam and the First Lady will be on hand for the season announcement at the Ferguson Center on Friday, January 25.

In September, JoAnn Falletta conducts Rachmaninoff’s famous Rhapsody On A Theme of Paganini with  pianist Alexander Gavrylyuk (gah-vee-LOOK). Gavrylyuk has been hailed as a “true inspiration” and “easily, the most compelling pianist of his generation” – whether in performance with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, concerts in Europe or the Far East. To close the evening, a rare treat: excerpts from Ravel’s music for Daphnis et Chloe, originally produced by the Ballets Russes.

The legendary Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Michael Tilson Thomas calls conductor Edwin Outwater “one of the most innovative conductors on the scene today.” Known throughout the world for reinventing the concert experience with major orchestras, Outwater will collaborate for the VSO’s performances in October with violinist, singer, and composer Caroline Shaw – who at age 30, was the youngest-ever winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2013, and who enjoys a large following both on recordings and YouTube. Equally adept at interpreting the great masterworks, Outwater concludes the evening leading Brahms’ perennial favorite Symphony No. 4.

The VSO is back in December with the ever-popular Messiah.  As legend has it, divine inspiration may have played a hand in Handel’s 1741 composition of what has become his most famous work. Not only did he write the massive score in just over three weeks’ time – there is a long-held story that the popular “Hallelujah” chorus was itself inspired by a vision of heaven and its angels revealed to Handel as he wrote it.

Glasgow-born conductor Douglas Boyd will lead the VSO in January 2020.  Boyd enjoyed a stellar career as a world-renowned oboist, before stepping away after 21 years to begin an international career as conductor. Currently, Boyd is Music Director of the L’Orchestre de Chambre de Paris as well as Artistic Director of the summer opera festival, Garsington Opera, in Buckinghamshire, England. Boyd has conducted all the BBC Orchestras, as well as orchestras throughout Europe, Australia, and the United States. For his debut performances in Hampton Roads, Boyd conducts Hector Berlioz’ Symphonie fantastique, a romantic symphonic portrayal of the gifted artist’s challenges with unrequited love.

In February the VSO welcomes David Danzmayr to the podium. “Danzmayr has what it takes,” wrote The Chicago Tribune of David Danzmayr’s performance leading the Illinois Symphony. Last year, Danzmayr was appointed chief conductor of the Zagreb Philharmonic – part of an extensive European career of concerts in venues like Musikverein and Konzerthaus in Vienna, and the Grosses Festspielhaus in Salzburg. One of his shorter symphonies, Mahler’s fourth is that last of his so-called Wunderhorn symphonies, all based on songs from The Youth’s Magic Horn – and is one his most popular and widely performed.

Chicago-born conductor Fawzi Haimor has established an extensive international career with some of world’s great orchestras, including the Pittsburgh Symphony, BBC Philharmonic, the Indianapolis Symphony, and just last summer, the Grant Park Symphony in his native Chicago. He is currently music director of the Württembergische Philharmonie. For his VSO debut in March 2020, Haimor celebrates the Centennial of Stravinsky’s The Firebird, along a first Hampton Roads performance from Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavarra – his popular Cantus Articus, or Concerto for Birds and Orchestra featuring birdsong recorded at the Finnish Artic Circle.

From the much-loved waltzes made famous in Strauss’ opera Der Rosenkavalier, to Robert Schumann’s one and only piano concerto, JoAnn Falletta has chosen a wide-ranging program of classics to show-off the orchestra and soloist in late March 2020, including French pianist Prisca Benoit – known for a refined pianistic touch with a wide range of countless colors. Benoit continues the Orchestra’s collaboration with Sentara Healthcare’s “Music and Medicine” Program. The Schumann concerto will be recorded for later release as a CD.

Hailed by The New York Times as “an interpretive dynamo,” conductor Eric Jacobsen returns to the VSO in May of 2020 to lead one of the 20th century’s tour de force masterpieces – Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5. Jacobsen has built a reputation for engaging audiences with his innovative and collaborative programming, and in addition to the Shostakovich, Jacobsen will conduct the beautiful Prokofiev Violin Concerto No. 2, with violinist Alexi Kenney, a recipient of a 2016 Avery Fisher Career Grant. Kenney has been named “a talent to watch” by The New York Times, which also noted his “architect’s eye for structure and space and a tone that ranges from the achingly fragile to full-bodied robustness.”

JoAnn Falletta finishes her final season as Music Director with a history-making performance celebrating Beethoven’s 250th Year, in performances presented by the Virginia Arts Festival May 15-17, 2020. For these concerts, Falletta will be joined by renowned pianist Olga Kern, who will perform Beethoven’s well-known “Emperor” Concerto. Kern is the recently appointed Connie and Mark Jacobson Director of Chamber Music for the Arts Festival. Following intermission, Falletta will be joined by four soloists and full VSO Chorus for Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, the “Choral” Symphony.

Season tickets are available in packages of eight concerts at the Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News, Chrysler Hall in Norfolk and the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts in Virginia Beach and range in price from $180 to $790. Tickets for individual concerts will go on sale in July. Season tickets are available by calling VSO Patron Services at 757.892.6366 or visiting virginiasymphony.org/subscriptions.


As the region’s most celebrated musical, educational and entrepreneurial arts organization, the Virginia Symphony Orchestra continues to challenge expectations and push the boundaries of what an American orchestra can be – even as it approaches its 100th anniversary in 2020.

At the heart of the VSO’s narrative is innovation.  In 1991 the VSO made a very bold move in appointing the gifted young American conductor JoAnn Falletta as its music director. Since then, the orchestra 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 commitment to adventurous programming, the VSO and its musicians have been highlighted in the media including The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Public Radio and BBC Worldwide News.

As the largest arts performing organization in southeastern Virginia, the VSO and VSO Chorus present more than 150 concerts and events to educate, enlighten and entertain more than 100,000 residents and visitors each year. Recent innovations include health and wellness programs, including interactive therapeutic experiences for people living with Alzheimer’s and dementia.  As it approaches its Centennial year, the Orchestra and its legions of fans look forward with anticipation as the VSO conducts a worldwide search for its next music director.

2019-2020 Virginia Symphony Orchestra Classics Season at a Glance

Programs, artists, dates and venues are subject to change

Opening Night!  Rachmaninoff and Ravel

Friday, September 13, 2019 | 8PM | Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News
Saturday, September 14, 2019 |8PM | Chrysler Hall, Norfolk
Sunday, September 15, 2019 | 2:30PM | Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia Beach

JoAnn Faletta, conductor
Alexander Gavrylyuk, piano
Virginia Symphony Orchestra Chorus
Robert Shoup, Chorusmaster

Tchaikovsky: Francesca da Rimini
Rachmaninoff: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
Ravel: Daphnis and Chloe Suites 1 and 2

Brahms + Pulitzer Price Winning Composer

Thursday, October 24, 2019 | 7:30PM | Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News
Saturday, October 26, 2019 | 8PM | Chrysler Hall, Norfolk
Sunday, October 27, 2019 |2:30PM | Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia Beach

Edwin Outwater, conductor
Caroline Shaw, composer/voice/violin

Beethoven: King Stephen Overture
Caroline Shaw: Other Song
Caroline Shaw: Red, Red Rose
Caroline Shaw: “Lo” (Violin solo)
Brahms: Symphony No.

Handel’s Messiah

Thursday, December 19, 2019 | 7:30PM | Regent University, Virginia Beach
Friday, December 20, 2019 | 8PM | First Baptist Church Newport News
Saturday, December 21, 2019 |  8PM | Harrison Opera House

Virginia Symphony Orchestra Chorus
Robert Shoup, Chorusmaster     

Handel: Messiah

Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique

Friday, January 24, 2020 | 8PM | Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News
Saturday, January 25, 2020 | 8PM | Chrysler Hall, Norfolk
Sunday, January 26, 2020 | 2:30PM | Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia Beach

Douglas Boyd, conductor
Elena Urioste, violin

Stravinsky: Fireworks
Vaughan Williams: The Lark Ascending
Ravel: Tzigane
Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique

Mahler Symphony No. 4

Friday, February 21, 2020 | 8PM | Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News
Saturday, February 22, 2020 | 8PM | Chrysler Hall, Norfolk
Sunday, February 23, 2020 | 2:30PM | Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia Beach

David Danzmayr, conductor
Maureen McKay, soprano

Mahler: Symphony No. 4

Stravinsky Firebird

Friday, March 6, 2020 | 8PM | Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News
Saturday, March 7, 2020 | 8PM | L. Douglas Wilder Performing Arts Center, Norfolk
Sunday, March 8, 2020 | 2:30PM | Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia Beach

Fawzi Haimor, conductor
Leonard Elschenbroich, cello

Joshua Cerdenia: Feuertrunken (Fire-Drunk)
Elgar: Concerto for cello
Rautavaara: Cantus Arcticus, op. 61 “Concerto for Birds and Orchestra”
Stravinsky: Firebird Suite (1919)

Stauss Rosenkavalier Suite

Friday, March 27, 2020 | 8PM | Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News
Saturday, March 28, 2020 | 8PM | Chrysler Hall, Norfolk
Sunday, March 29, 2020 | 2:30PM | Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia Beach

JoAnn Falletta, conductor
Prisca Benoit, piano

Bantock: The Witch of Atlas
Schumann: Piano concerto
Strauss: Dance of the Seven Veils from Salome
Strauss: Rosenkavalier Suite

Shostakovich Five

Friday, May 8, 2020 | 8PM | Chrysler Hall, Norfolk
Saturday, May 9, 2020 | 8PM |  Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News
Sunday, May 10, 2020 | 2:30PM | Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia Beach

Eric Jacobsen, conductor
Alexi Kenney, violin

Anna Clyne: Masquerade
Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 2
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5

Beethoven “Emperor” and Symphony No. 9 “Choral”

Friday, May 15, 2020 | 8PM | Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News
Saturday, May 16, 2020 | 8PM | Chrysler Hall, Norfolk                   
Sunday, May 17, 2020 | 2:30 PM | Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia Beach

JoAnn Falletta
Olga Kern, piano

Beethoven: Symphony No. 9
Beethoven: Emperor Concerto 



January 25, 2019

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Phone: 757.213.1431 | email: mmeyer@virginiasymphony.org

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Holiday Pops! • 12/13 – 12/15

Holiday Pops! • 12/13 – 12/15

Friday, December 13, 2019 | Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News | 8PMSaturday, December 14, 2019 | Harrison Opera House Norfolk | 8PMSunday, December 15, 2019 | Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia Beach | 7PM Join us for the must-see holiday...

Jingle Bell Jam • 12/15

Jingle Bell Jam • 12/15

Sunday, December 15, 2019 | Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia Beach | 3PM Santa Claus is coming to town and he’s stopping by to be a part of the VSO’s ever-popular Jingle Bell Jam! Celebrate the magic of the season with an afternoon that showcases the...

Holiday Brass • 12/18-12/21

Holiday Brass • 12/18-12/21

Wednesday, December 18, 2019 | St. Bede Catholic Church, Williamsburg | 7:30PM Thursday, December 19, 2019 | Chesapeake Conference Center, Chesapeake | 7PM Friday, December 20, 2019 | Suffolk Center for the Cultural Arts, Suffolk | 7PM Holiday Brass and Brews |...

Handel’s Messiah • 12/19-12/21

Handel’s Messiah • 12/19-12/21

Thursday, December 19, 2019 | Regent University, Virginia Beach | 7:30PMFriday, December 20, 2019 | First Baptist Church, Newport News | 8PMSaturday, December 21, 2019 | Harrison Opera House, Norfolk | 8PM As legend has it, divine inspiration may have played a hand in...