The organizations are combining forces to enhance music education in Hampton Roads

HAMPTON ROADS, VA (Feb. 21, 2019) — The Virginia Symphony Orchestra (VSO) and Old Dominion University have signed a collaborative agreement to encourage presentation, growth, education and continued development of music in Hampton Roads. The agreement will be announced at a concert tonight (Feb. 21) featuring both the ODU Symphony Orchestra and the VSO at 7 p.m. at the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts in Virginia Beach.

In addition to solidifying an existing relationship between the organizations, the agreement outlines future projects including:

  • Annual University/VSO “Presents” series
  • Master classes for students by VSO conductors or soloists
  • Workshops for students with VSO musicians and special access to Open Rehearsals
  • Discounted tickets for ODU music students and faculty, including a free “Class Pass” for Department of Music students to attend all Classics and Pops! concerts
  • Week-long summer camp for high school instrumental and choral students to be held at the University
  • Integrating VSO programming with the University’s Strome Entrepreneurial Center and Health and Wellness to create research opportunities for ODU students
  • Performance opportunities:
    • ODU Symphony Orchestra will continue its annual side-by-side with the VSO for both orchestral and choral students
    • Students will rehearse with the VSO and receive supplemental coaching in preparation
  • Professional development opportunities:
    • Administrative internships
    • Education and Community Engagement volunteer opportunities assisting VSO musicians
    • Minority Fellowship Program for string instrumentalists

“Old Dominion University has a proud and longstanding commitment to music education,” President John R. Broderick said. “With this new agreement, we will now extend those opportunities for our students. In exchange, the Virginia Symphony will greatly benefit from the energy, perspective and diversity of the University.”

Karen M. Philion, president and CEO of the VSO, is equally thrilled about the new agreement.  “The VSO is proud to add meaningful value to the music students at ODU by offering educational and cultural opportunities that will enrich their college experiences in significant ways,” she said. “This new type of partnership is unique in the state of Virginia and across the nation, and will strengthen our organization as well.”

Nancy Klein, professor and chair of the Department of Music, said the new initiative is one of the “tremendous benefits of being a part of the vibrant Hampton Roads community.”

“The Department of Music has been excited to join in this exciting collaboration that provides exceptional opportunities for our students, the Symphony and the University, and the community at large,” she said.  “ODU and the Department of Music are able to provide musical opportunities for our music students through this collaboration that are unsurpassed by any other university in Virginia.”

The VSO and ODU launched their collaboration with funding from The F. Ludwig Diehn Fund of the Hampton Roads Community Foundation. Together, the institutions have begun planning a joint fundraising strategy, seeking other donors to grow opportunities for music students.  This unique initiative will give donors the opportunity to invest for the benefit of both students and the arts in our region.


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.


February 21, 2019

Contact: Monica Meyer, Vice President of Marketing, Sales and Public Relations
Phone: 757.213.1431 | email:

Twitter: @VASymphony

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...