You are our top priority!

As we prepare for a season of limited capacities and physical distancing in venues, we are making updates and enhancements to subscriptions. New for 2021: All access – all season subscribers will have access to our ENTIRE planned season with abundant flexibility. With a plan for reduced capacities, subscribers will be seated first and more!

Our commitment to you in 2021: Safety and comfort: We are committed to presenting concerts that meet local policies for health and safety. We are working with our partner venues to develop plans and procedures to make your (and our musicians’) experience as safe and as comfortable as possible.

First to know:  As we all adapt to the changing landscape in our community, you will be the first to hear about changes or additions to our season calendar.

Always listening: We want to hear from you, and will be in touch with you regularly as we get closer to the start of the season programming.

Most of all – thank you for standing by us and our musicians and for your crucial support as a VSO subscriber. We look forward to sharing music together soon!

Warm regards,

Karen M. Philion
President & CEO

Scroll down for more info.

Single Tickets on Sale NOW!

Limited availability tickets from $35.

Purchase your price section then details will be assigned by VSO staff and sent via email prior to your performance.

*Only a limited number of tickets will be available – reserve your seats now!

 

Virginia Symphony Orchestra

2021 Upcoming Concerts

7.16.21 | THOMAS WILKINS NAMED PRINCIPAL GUEST CONDUCTOR OF THE VIRGINIA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

THOMAS WILKINS NAMED PRINCIPAL GUEST CONDUCTOR OF THE VIRGINIA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

HAMPTON ROADS, VA [July 16, 2021] – Internationally renowned conductor and Norfolk native Thomas Wilkins has been named the Virginia Symphony Orchestra’s first-ever Principal Guest Conductor. Having recently stepped down after 17 years as music director of the Omaha Symphony, Mr. Wilkins is currently principal conductor of the fabled Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, as well as Artistic Advisor for Education and Community Engagement at the Boston Symphony Orchestra. His guest conducting credits include leading the orchestras of Cleveland, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Dallas, the New York Philharmonic among others, in addition to his posts at the Hollywood Bowl and BSO.

A frequent guest conductor and favorite of VSO audiences, Mr. Wilkins credits a performance by the Virginia Symphony for inspiring him at the age of eight to pursue a career as a professional conductor, when he attended a youth concert as a student at Young Park Elementary in Norfolk (now Park Place Elementary).

“I often say that I didn’t choose music; music chose me,” said Mr. Wilkins. “And to be invited to return as a leader to the place where I made that decision to embrace music as a career and way of life so many years ago is incredibly moving for me. I have enormous love and respect for the musicians of the Virginia Symphony and I’m thrilled and honored to join them in this new role.”

Mr. Wilkins joins the organization at an exciting time as the orchestra begins its second century. Since 2019, the VSO has been recognized nationally for striving to reflect the region’s ethnic and racial diversity in its members, its programming, and its leadership.

The appointment of Wilkins as not only the orchestra’s first Principal Guest Conductor but its first Black artistic leader comes just weeks after 38-year-old Eric Jacobsen was selected as the VSO’s new music director, another bold step toward expanding the VSO’s vision to engage wider audiences with creative and relevant programming.

In announcing the appointment, VSO Board Chair Mike McClellan said, “This is a true dream team! Eric and Thomas share the VSO’s commitment to telling our community’s stories and advancing the important conversations that will promote understanding and belonging among all our residents.”

The symphony will host a welcome event for Mr. Wilkins on Monday, July 19th at 4:30pm at the Chrysler Hall Dress Circle Lobby, with a special performance by the Boys Choir of Hampton Roads, led by Julius McCullough. Free and open to the public; please RSVP by registering here.

Devoted to promoting a life-long enthusiasm for music, Mr. Wilkins brings energy and commitment to audiences of all ages. He is hailed as a master at communicating and connecting with audiences. Following his highly successful first season with the Boston Symphony, the Boston Globe named him among the “Best People and Ideas of 2011.” In 2014, Mr. Wilkins received the prestigious “Outstanding Artist” award at the Nebraska Governor’s Arts Awards for his significant contribution to music in the state, while in 2018 Mr. Wilkins received the Leonard Bernstein Lifetime Achievement Award for the Elevation of Music in Society conferred by Boston’s Longy School of Music. And in 2019 the Virginia Symphony bestowed Mr. Wilkins with its annual Dreamer Award.

During his conducting career, Mr. Wilkins has led orchestras throughout the United States, including the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Cincinnati Symphony, and the National Symphony. Additionally, he has guest conducted the Philadelphia and Cleveland Orchestras, the Symphonies of Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Baltimore, San Diego and Utah, and the Buffalo and Rochester Philharmonics, as well as at the Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago.

Mr. Wilkins is a graduate of the Shenandoah Conservatory of Music and the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. He and his wife Sheri-Lee are the proud parents of twin daughters, Erica and Nicole. Mr. Wilkins’ first appearance with the orchestra in his new role will be February 18-20, 2022. Tickets will be on sale in mid-August at www.virginiasymphony.org.

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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. Since the ground-breaking appointment of JoAnn Falletta in 1991, innovation and excellence have been at the heart of the VSO’s narrative.

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 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.

The largest performing arts organization in southeastern Virginia, the VSO and VSO Chorus present more than 150 concerts and events annually to educate, enlighten and entertain more than 100,000 residents and visitors. Recent innovations include health and wellness programs, including interactive therapeutic experiences for people living with Alzheimer’s and dementia, and adopting welcoming concert environments for those who are neurodiverse.

For Immediate Release
July 16, 2021
Contact: Kristen Bennington
Director of Marketing & Communications
Phone: 757.213.1411|
email: kbennington@virginiasymphony.org
Twitter: @VASymphony | Facebook: facebook.com/virginiasymphony​

Twitter: @VASymphony
Facebook: facebook.com/virginiasymphony

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9.17.21 | The New Maestro

by  | VEER Mag
September 17, 2021

By Montague Gammon III

The newly appointed twelfth Music Director of our Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Eric Jacobsen, flew into town from his current home in Brooklyn late last month, hitting the ground – or rather the stage – running, with rehearsals, board meetings and meetings on programming concerts, “meets and greets with various VSO communities,” dinner, audio editing and then hastened back to Brooklyn, finding time at stops along the way to chat by phone and text about what he has in store for Virginia. 

One comment he made is that he “likes to throw parties and to have people own that party.” 

Conducting and programming a season of concerts is, to Jacobsen, much like giving a party. The musicians and the audiences are the guests, and the host/conductor is out to make their experience joyful and fun and meaningful and memorable. Most especially, to make it memorable. 

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VIRGINIA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA PRESENTS SEASON OPENING WEEKEND | 9.14.21

HAMPTON ROADS, VA [September 14, 2021] – The Virginia Symphony Orchestra opens its 2021/22 season with a weekend of exciting concerts across Hampton Roads on September 24th, 25th, and 26th.

It’s the roaring ‘20s! Pianist Natasha Paremski returns to the VSO for her third time in a program that harkens back to the decade of the Norfolk Symphony Orchestra’s first performance in 1921. Two jazz-influenced blockbusters, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Ravel’s Concerto in G, will showcase Paremski’s virtuosity and dynamic style.

Returning to the region to lead the orchestra will be Akiko Fujimoto, Music Director of the Mid-Texas Symphony. Quickly establishing herself as one of today’s most dynamic and nuanced young conductors, Fujimoto was previously Conducting Associate of the VSO and Director of Orchestra at the College of William & Mary, so she looks forward to her return to Hampton Roads.

Fujimoto said, “This will be the first time I am returning to the area since I left, so it will be a highly emotional homecoming for me. I am most looking forward to seeing the VSO musicians and staff again, after 10 years. The VSO was the first professional orchestra where I had the privilege to be on the conducting staff, and without those years with the orchestra, I would not be the conductor that I am today. I am forever indebted to the VSO for taking a chance on me, welcoming me into the family and supporting me as I learned the ropes. And I can’t think of a better way to thank them than making great music with them once again!”

The Friday, September 24th performance will be held at 7:30pm at the Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News. Saturday, September 25th will be held at Norfolk’s Chrysler Hall at 7:30pm, and the weekend will conclude with a 2:30pm performance at the Sandler Center in Virginia Beach on Sunday, September 26th.

Tickets start at just $25 and can be purchased by visiting virginiasymphony.org or by calling 757.892.6366.

The Virginia Symphony is pleased to have Sentara returning as this year’s Regional Presenting Sponsor. The Ferguson opening night performance is sponsored in memory of Rona M. and Erwin B. Drucker. The Norfolk opening night performance is sponsored by Connie and Marc Jacobson.

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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. Innovation and excellence are at the heart of the VSO’s narrative.

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

The selection of the young and dynamic conductor Eric Jacobsen as music director earlier this year was another bold step forward for the VSO, further expanding its vision to attract wider and larger audiences with engaging concert experiences and creative and relevant programming. Rounding out the artistic leadership team is Norfolk native Thomas Wilkins in the role of Principal Guest Conductor, reflecting the VSO’s commitment to tell its community’s stories and advance the important conversations that will promote understanding and belonging among all residents.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 14, 2021

Contact: Kristen Bennington, Director of Marketing & Communications
Phone: 757.213.1411
Email: kbennington@virginiasymphony.org

Twitter: @VASymphony
Facebook: facebook.com/virginiasymphony

read more

SINGLE TICKETS ON SALE NOW FOR THE VIRGINIA SYMPHONY’S 2021-2022 SEASON

HAMPTON ROADS, VA [August 30, 2021] – The future of the VSO shines brightly, looking ahead to a season full of joy, new voices, and more live music together. With favorites like Branford Marsalis, Kishi Bashi and The Music of the Bee Gees, to Uptown Nights with the spectacular trumpeter Byron Stripling, you won’t want to miss this exciting season!

The season opens with a celebration of the roaring ‘20s! Gershwin wrote his signature piece Rhapsody in Blue about the same time Maurice Ravel was in Paris writing his Concerto in G, which was heavily influenced by American jazz. Hear both pieces as audience favorite pianist Natasha Paremski returns to the VSO in a program that harkens back to the decade of the Norfolk Symphony Orchestra’s first performance in 1921.

October features Hotel California: A Salute to the Eagles, which will have you waving your arms and dancing in the aisles to all your favorite megahits! We also welcome tubist Carol Jantsch to perform Wynton Marsalis’ new concerto for tuba and orchestra commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra. Dvorak’s “New World” Symphony concludes the evening by reflecting on the bountiful and optimistic United States that welcomed the composer with open arms. We finish the month with Music: The Final Frontier, A Sci-Fi Spectacular!

In November, we welcome back JoAnn Falletta in her role as the Connie and Marc Jacobson Music Director Laureate, on the podium for a one-night-only special performance with the VSO side-by-side with Old Dominion University’s Symphony Orchestra.

Then in December, welcome Eric Jacobsen in his debut as Music Director with Grammy-winning saxophonist Branford Marsalis for an evening of musical celebration, including Brahms’ Symphony No. 2!

Our holiday programming features all your favorites – Holiday Pops, Holiday Brass, and Handel’s Messiah!

Kick off the new year with Met Opera star (and Suffolk, Virginia native) Ryan Speedo Green, and the Norfolk State University Chorus in a program that features soul-stirring spirituals and operatic hits. Also in January, the orchestra presents the Golden Age of Broadway featuring favorites from Berlin, Porter, Rodgers & Hammerstein and Lerner & Loewe. You won’t want either of these evenings to end!

February brings a special treat, The Music of the Bee Gees, the orchestra with a rock band and amazing singers playing the iconic band’s 70’s disco hits from “Stayin’ Alive” to “Night Fever” while also embracing many of their early songs. Also join us when Norfolk native Thomas Wilkins returns to conduct the orchestral blockbuster Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4! Then, Uptown Nights will recreate the magical world of song and dance popularized in the jazz clubs of the ‘40s and ‘50s, and features the return to Virginia of the trumpeter Byron Stripling, the thrilling vocals of Carmen Bradford, and the fancy footwork of tap dancer Leo Manzari.

The internationally celebrated singer, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Kishi Bashi has been pushing musical boundaries since graduating from Maury High School in Norfolk. Hear his Improvisations on EO 9066, a multimedia presentation combining elements of film as well as recorded and improvised music, conducted by co-founder and artistic director of Miami’s Nu Deco Ensemble, Jacomo Bairos.

Few – if any – works of the orchestra repertoire inspire such fervor as Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, but then, it is no ordinary piece of music. It was revolutionary when it premiered, as it was the first symphony that included a chorus and vocal soloists. Make sure you have tickets for this blockbuster in April 2022 with the VSO Chorus conducted by Eric Jacobsen.

Back by popular demand, the VSO will perform The Music of Star Wars; experience the entire saga through the films’ scores written by the legendary John Williams.

Single Tickets start at just $25. To purchase tickets, visit virginiasymphony.org, or call 757.892.6366 to reserve your seats. We will see you at the symphony soon!

###

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. Innovation and excellence are at the heart of the VSO’s narrative.

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

The selection of the young and dynamic conductor Eric Jacobsen as music director earlier this year was another bold step forward for the VSO, further expanding its vision to attract wider and larger audiences with engaging concert experiences and creative and relevant programming. Rounding out the artistic leadership team is Norfolk native Thomas Wilkins in the role of Principal Guest Conductor, reflecting the VSO’s commitment to tell its community’s stories and advance the important conversations that will promote understanding and belonging among all residents.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 30, 2021

Contact: Kristen Bennington, Director of Marketing & Communications
Phone: 757.213.1411
Email: kbennington@virginiasymphony.org

Twitter: @VASymphony
Facebook: facebook.com/virginiasymphony

read more

VIRGINIA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA WELCOMES 2021-2022 NEW BOARD MEMBERS

HAMPTON ROADS, VA [August 23, 2021] – The Virginia Symphony Orchestra is excited to welcome four new members to its 2021-2022 Board of Directors.

GarrettGarrett Berger, a Virginia Beach resident since 2003, joins the VSO Board with a great appreciation for the arts community throughout Hampton Roads. A violinist and wine lover, Garrett was an integral part of developing the VSO Symphony of Wines fundraising concert in May 2019.

Until recently, Garrett held the role of Property Portfolio Controller at Armada Hoffler Properties in Virginia Beach. Prior to that, he served as the Controller for T. Parker Host, Inc., a shipping agency and maritime solutions provider headquartered in Norfolk. Garrett holds a Bachelor’s in Commerce and Master’s in Accounting from the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce.

Peggy LaynePeggy Layne has been a resident of Hampton Roads for 30 years and considers herself a “professional volunteer.” After a 40-year career with Dominion Energy, she now dedicates her energy and diverse business experience to work for organizations that make her community a better place to live.

Peggy is actively involved in the Virginia Community College System and is the Chair of the Citizen’s Advisory Council on the Furnishing and Interpretation of the Executive Mansion. Peggy holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management and a Master’s of Education in Human Resource Development from George Washington University. Locally, she graduated from both LEAD-Hampton Roads (1989) and CIVIC Leadership Institute (2017). Peggy is a resident of Chesapeake and enjoys golfing, reading, and taking her “fur babies” for walks with her husband, Aubrey.

Jim NaughtonJim Naughton, retired Partner at Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, joins the VSO Board with expertise in labor relations and employment law representing management. Listed in Best Lawyers in America and similar publications, Jim has been integral in assisting with the VSO’s labor negotiations and Covid-relief funding. Jim holds a BS from Northwestern University and a JD from Tulane University and served in the US Marine Corps as an infantry officer and as a military lawyer.

Jim is a past Board President of the Virginia Chorale and is a longtime supporter of the arts community. He enjoys singing bass with auditioned choral groups and serving as a church cantor and psalmist. Jim and his wife, Deb, have three adult children and six grandsons.

Dr. Andrea WarrenDr. Andrea F. Warren recently retired as Executive Director of The Governor’s School for the Arts after 13 successful years. During her tenure and with the assistance of the City of Norfolk and support of the eight superintendents and Regional Board, she was able to obtain a permanent home for the school on Granby Street, now called the Perry Family Arts Center. Under her leadership, GSA created a Visual and Performing Arts College Fair, expanded summer camps and programs for middle and high school students, and provided incredible opportunities for young artists to foster their talents at an exemplary high school arts training program.

Dr. Warren held a 20-year tenure in Virginia Beach City Public Schools in various teaching and leadership roles. She and her husband, Rev. Samuel Warren, Jr. are the proud parents of Adrienne Warren, a 2005 GSA graduate of the musical theatre department who has two Tony nominations, an Olivier nomination, and a Drama Desk Award.

The 2021-2022 Board of Directors will be led by Board Chair Mike McClellan, Vice President of Strategic Planning for Norfolk Southern Corporation. William “Bill” Van Buren III, President and Chairman of Kaufman & Canoles, was re-elected as Vice Chair. Becky Sawyer, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer for Sentara Healthcare will continue to serve as Board Treasurer, Susan Goode will continue her service as Board Secretary, and Pat McDermott, Partner at Patten, Wornom, Hatten & Diamonstein, L.C. in Newport News, will continue to serve as Chair Emeritus for the upcoming season.

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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. Innovation and excellence are at the heart of the VSO’s narrative.

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

The selection of the young and dynamic conductor Eric Jacobsen as music director earlier this year was another bold step forward for the VSO, further expanding its vision to attract wider and larger audiences with engaging concert experiences and creative and relevant programming. Rounding out the artistic leadership team is Norfolk native Thomas Wilkins in the role of Principal Guest Conductor, reflecting the VSO’s commitment to tell its community’s stories and advance the important conversations that will promote understanding and belonging among all residents.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 23, 2021

Contact: Kristen Bennington, Director of Marketing & Communications
Phone: 757.213.1411
Email: kbennington@virginiasymphony.org

Twitter: @VASymphony
Facebook: facebook.com/virginiasymphony

read more
Concerto for Tubist and Orchestra + “New World” • 10/22-10/24

Concerto for Tubist and Orchestra + “New World” • 10/22-10/24

Fri. October 22, 2021 | 7:30 PM | Ferguson Center
Sat. October 23, 2021 | 7:30 PM | Chrysler Hall
Sun. October 24, 2021 | 2:30 PM | Sandler Center

Be one of the first ever to hear Wynton Marsalis’ new concerto for tuba and orchestra commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra for tubist Carol Jantsch in this special preview performance! Dvorak’s “New World” Symphony reflects on the bountiful and optimistic United States that welcomed the composer with open arms. Spirituals learned from the grandson of a freed slave and transcriptions of the Native American melodies enrich this mix of European refinement and American earnestness.

Steven Jarvi, conductor
Carol Jantsch, tuba

Wynton Marsalis: Concerto for Tubist and Orchestra
Dvorak: Symphony No. 9 “From the New World”

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PB&J | Halloween Spooktakular • 10/31

PB&J | Halloween Spooktakular • 10/31

Sunday, October 31, 2021 | 3pm | Sandler Center for the Performing Arts

Celebrate with friends at Hampton Roads’ original and best-ever ghoulish afternoon of monstrous fun for kids and grownups! Dress up in your favorite Halloween costume and join the VSO performing some of the spookiest music ever written. But don’t be afraid – this concert is more TREAT than TRICK!

Helen Martell, conductor

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JoAnn Returns! • 11/12

JoAnn Returns! • 11/12

Fri. November 12, 2021 | 7:30 PM | Sandler Center

Join the VSO’s Connie and Marc Jacobson Music Director Laureate JoAnn Falletta as she returns to the stage for this one-night-only special performance. Featuring the musicians of the VSO side by side with the Old Dominion University Symphony Orchestra.

JoAnn Falletta, conductor

Bizet: Selections from Carmen
        featuring tenor Brian Nedvin and conductor Paul Sanho Kim
Schubert: Symphony No. 8 “Unfinished”
Hailstork: Amazing Grace Fanfare

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Eric Jacobsen + Branford Marsalis • 12/2-12/5

Eric Jacobsen + Branford Marsalis • 12/2-12/5

Thurs. December 2, 2021 | 7:30 PM | Ferguson Center
Fri. December 3, 2021 | 7:30 PM | Chrysler Hall
Sun. December 5, 2021 | 7:30 PM | Sandler Center

Join us to welcome new Music Director Eric Jacobsen with Grammy-winning saxophonist Branford Marsalis for an evening of musical celebration.

Eric Jacobsen, conductor
Branford Marsalis, saxophone

Sally Beamish: “The Imagined Sound of Sun on Stone”
Sally Beamish: “Under the Wing of the Rock”
Brahms: Symphony No. 2

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PB&J | Jingle Bell Jam • 12/12

PB&J | Jingle Bell Jam • 12/12

Sunday, December 12, 2021 | 3pm | Sandler Center for the Performing Arts 

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 music of the holidays performed by the best talent in Hampton Roads. You won’t want to miss this holly jolly concert! Get your tickets early – this family favorite
is sure to sell out!

Robert Shoup, conductor

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Holiday POPS! • 12/10-12/12

Holiday POPS! • 12/10-12/12

Fri. December 10, 2021 | 7:30 PM | Ferguson Center
Sat. December 11, 2021 | 7:30 PM | Harrison Opera House
Sun. December 12, 2021 | 7:00 PM | Sandler Center

Join us for the must-see holiday tradition of the season – Holiday POPS! There’s no better way to lift your spirits than with seasonal songs and traditional carols delivered in full sound and spectacle by the Virginia Symphony and special guests. Holiday POPS will have all the magical elements you’ve come to expect and more — high energy, familiar carols, and lots of holiday warmth! And we’ll even throw in a surprise or two! We can’t wait to celebrate the 2021 Holiday season together!

Robert Shoup, conductor
Virginia Symphony Orchestra Chorus

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Holiday Brass • 12/15

Holiday Brass • 12/15

Wed. December 15, 2021 | 7:30 PM | Williamsburg

The bold sounds of the Virginia Symphony brass section ring in the holidays with a blast! Experience the festive sounds of the season in a concert filled with wit, virtuosity, and the glorious music of the holidays—featuring the VSO brass and percussion sections in an all-new program. You’ll enjoy music from a variety of styles that have made this concert a new holiday tradition!

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HALLELUJAH! Handel’s Messiah • 12/16-12/18

HALLELUJAH! Handel’s Messiah • 12/16-12/18

Thurs. December 16, 2021 | 7:30 PM | Virginia Beach
Fri. December 17, 2021 | 7:30 PM | Newport News
Sat. December 18, 2021 | 7:30 PM | Harrison Opera House

We welcome back Virginia Symphony’s founding chorusmaster Don McCullough for the holidays!

After his departure from Virginia, he led the Kennedy Center’s Master Chorale and is currently director of the Jacksonville Symphony Chorus (FL). McCullough will conduct the VSO Chorus in excerpts from the Messiah, the perennial holiday favorite that continues to bring hope and joy to listeners nearly 300 years after it was written.

Don McCullough, conductor
Virginia Symphony Orchestra Chorus
Robert Shoup, Chorusmaster

Handel: Messiah Excerpts (Part I with Hallelujah)

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PB&J | The Mozart Experience • 1/9

PB&J | The Mozart Experience • 1/9

Sunday, January 9, 2022 | 3pm | Sandler Center for the Performing Arts

A mischievous street musician finds herself thrust into the role of Mozart in this concert program for chamber orchestra. Presented by the conductor with opportunities and dilemmas similar to those faced by Mozart, the street musician slowly evolves into a modern-day Mozart. From extravagant youth to the appearance of the apocalyptic “mysterious stranger,” the audience experiences Mozart’s life as a musical, human adventure.

Join us in the lobby at 2PM for activities for all ages!

Benjamin Rous, conductor

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Spirituals + Operatic Showstoppers • 1/14-1/15

Spirituals + Operatic Showstoppers • 1/14-1/15

Fri. January 14, 2022 | 7:30 PM | Ferguson Center
Sat. January 15, 2022 | 7:30 PM | Chrysler Hall

Versatility and innovation are the hallmarks of American conductor Kellen Gray, newly-named Assistant Conductor of the 125-year-old Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Celebrate Suffolk native and Metropolitan Opera star Ryan Speedo Green as he comes home to join the VSO to kick off 2022! Green’s inspiring personal story and incredible talent (nurtured at the Governor’s School for the Arts) has been featured in numerous media outlets. For this special appearance, Green’s incredible range will be on full display. He will be joined by the highly acclaimed Norfolk State University, performing Undine Smith Moore’s Scenes from the Life of a Martyr.

Kellen Gray, conductor
Ryan Speedo Green, bass-baritone
Norfolk State University Concert Choir
Harlan Zackery, Jr., Director of Choral Activities

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Golden Age of Broadway • 1/21-1/22

Golden Age of Broadway • 1/21-1/22

Fri. January 21, 2022 | 7:30 PM | Ferguson Center
Sat. January 22, 2022 | 7:30 PM | Chrysler Hall

Classic Broadway shines with hit after hit from the Golden Age of the 1940s and 1950s. Composers featured include Bernstein, Berlin, Porter, Rodgers & Hammerstein and Lerner & Loewe. You’ll be ‘So In Love’ with this show that you won’t want the evening to end! Favorites from Kiss Me Kate, Oklahoma!, The Sound of Music, West Side Story, My Fair Lady and more!

Alicia Hall Moran, vocalist
Teri Hansen, vocalist
Nicholas Rodriguez, vocalist

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The Music of the Bee Gees • 2/3-2/4

The Music of the Bee Gees • 2/3-2/4

Thurs. February 3, 2022 | 7:30 PM | Ferguson Center
Fri. February 4, 2022 |7:30 PM | Chrysler Hall

Among the best-selling musical artists of all time, the Bee Gees’ distinctive sound comes alive again with the Virginia Symphony! From the Gibb brothers’ early days which featured Robin’s clear vibrato lead vocals, to the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack which won five Grammy Awards including Album of the Year, the band will live forever in the hearts of fans around the world. This show offers all of the band’s 70’s disco hits from “Stayin’ Alive” to “Night Fever” while embracing many of their early works.

Adam Turner, conductor

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Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4 • 2/18-2/20

Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4 • 2/18-2/20

Fri. February 18, 2022 | 7:30 PM | Ferguson Center
Sat. February 19, 2022 | 7:30 PM | Chrysler Hall
Sun. February 20, 2022 | 2:30 PM | Sandler Center

Norfolk native and Hampton Roads’ favorite son Thomas Wilkins returns to lead Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, featuring some of the most explosive brass and wind moments you’ll ever hear.

Thomas Wilkins, conductor

Program includes Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4

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Uptown Nights • 2/25-2/26

Uptown Nights • 2/25-2/26

Fri. February 25, 2022 | 7:30 PM | Ferguson Center
Sat. February 26, 2022 | 7:30 PM | Chrysler Hall

Byron Stripling is heralded as a “powerhouse trumpeter gifted with a soulful voice and a charismatic onstage swagger.” He’ll explore a magical world of song and dance popularized in the clubs of the ’40s and ’50s. Inspired by Harlem’s famed musical hot spots like The Cotton Club and The Savoy, this swingin’ night of musical sensations focuses on Harlem’s heyday — a time when Duke Ellington’s orchestra was the house band, and Cab Calloway, Ella Fitzgerald, and Ethel Waters showcased the classics! Thrill to the vocals of Carmen Bradford and the fancy footwork of tapdancer Leo Manzari.

Byron Stripling, conductor and trumpet
Carmen Bradford, vocalist
Leo Manzari, tap

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Kishi Bashi Meets the Symphony • 3/3-3/6

Kishi Bashi Meets the Symphony • 3/3-3/6

Thurs. March 3, 2022 | 7:30 PM | Ferguson Center
Sat. March 5, 2022 | 7:30 PM | Chrysler Hall
Sun. March 6, 2022 | 2:30 PM | Sandler Center

From South by Southwest to Austin City Limits, the internationally celebrated singer, multi instrumentalist and songwriter Kishi Bashi has been pushing musical boundaries since growing up in Norfolk. Written in honor of the 75th anniversary of the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, his multimedia presentation combines elements of film as well as recorded and improvised music. The work was premiered by Miami’s Nu Deco Ensemble in 2018 with co-founder and artistic director Jacomo Bairos on the podium.

Jacomo Bairos, conductor
Kishi Bashi, violin

Kishi Bashi: Improvisations on EO 9066

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PB&J | Blastoff: A Symphony in Space • 3/13

PB&J | Blastoff: A Symphony in Space • 3/13

Sunday, March 13, 2021 | 3pm | Sandler Center for the Performing Arts

Boldly go where no concert-goer has gone before when the Virginia Symphony Orchestra travels into hyperspace with the Bay Youth Symphony Orchestra in this side-by-side concert. Journey to the stars with music from Holst’s The Planets and selections from John Williams’ score to the Star Wars movies. NASA provided projections will accompany the music, giving young audiences a chance to experience breathtaking images of our solar system.

Join us in the lobby at 2PM for activities for all ages!

Benjamin Rous, conductor

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Beethoven’s Ninth! • 4/1-4/3

Beethoven’s Ninth! • 4/1-4/3

Fri. April 1, 2022 | 7:30 PM | Ferguson Center
Sat. April 2, 2022 | 7:30 PM | Chrysler Hall
Sun. April 3, 2022 | 2:30 PM | Sandler Center

Few — if any — works of the orchestral repertoire inspire such fervor, but then, Beethoven’s  Ninth Symphony is no ordinary piece of music. It was revolutionary when it premiered, as it was the first symphony that included a chorus and vocal soloists, performing a slightly altered version of Friedrich Schiller’s “Ode to Joy.”

And it endures because in this work Beethoven was grappling with some of the most fundamental aspects of humanity, with music that can evoke myriad ideas and emotions — tenderness to terror, sympathy to scorn, delight to despair, calm to chaos — culminating in an anthemic hymn to the possibility of universal brotherhood.

Eric Jacobsen, conductor
Virginia Symphony Orchestra Chorus
Robert Shoup, Chorusmaster

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The Sound of Music • 5/13-5/15

The Sound of Music • 5/13-5/15

Fri. May 13, 2022 | 8:00 PM | Harrison Opera House
Sat. May 14, 2022 | 8:00 PM | Harrison Opera House
Sun. May 15, 2022 | 2:00 PM | Harrison Opera House

A new, full production of the classic musical The Sound of Music in May 2022 will be co-produced by Virginia Arts Festival and Virginia Opera at the Harrison Opera House. With acclaimed Broadway music director Rob Fisher (Chicago, the Encores! series) conducting the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and cast, and star director Mary Birnbaum (La Boheme, Santa Fe Opera) envisioning the new staging, the production is sure to be among the most eagerly anticipated
musical events of the season.

Rob Fisher, conductor
Mary Birnbaum, director
Virginia Symphony Orchestra

THE SOUND OF MUSIC is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of The
Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization. www. concordtheatricals.com

This concert cannot be exchanged as part of your VSO package.

Music by RICHARD RODGERS
Lyrics by OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN II
Book by HOWARD LINDSAY and RUSSEL CROUSE
Suggested by “The Trapp Family Singers” by Maria Augusta Trapp
Co-produced by Virginia Arts Festival and Virginia Opera

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The Music of Star Wars • 6/10

The Music of Star Wars • 6/10

Fri. June 10, 2022 | 7:30 PM | Ferguson Center

Back by popular demand, the Virginia Symphony Orchestra will perform music from the iconic film franchise Star Wars. Experience the entire saga through the films’ scores written by the legendary John Williams, including music from Rogue One and Episode VII: The Force Awakens.

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8.31.21 | Virginia Symphony Orchestra’s ‘Under the Stars’ concert a Williamsburg tradition

Virginia Symphony Orchestra’s ‘Under the Stars’ concert a Williamsburg tradition

 

Williamsburg is a town of traditions and one of its most popular music traditions has been the free outdoor concert offered by the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, under the stars, at the Martha Wren Briggs Amphitheatre overlooking picturesque Lake Matoaka, on the campus of William & Mary.

The tradition continues Thursday, when the VSO’s “Under the Stars” concert signals the start of live classical music in town. And, in keeping with that tradition, a fun-filled fare is on tap, running from “Girl from Ipanema” and “Orange Blossom Special” to a medley from “Chicago,” “In the Mood” and “Shall We Dance,” with a few very light classical selections in the mix.

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8.12.21 | RESTRUCTURING AT THE VIRGINIA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA PROVIDES MORE RESOURCES FOR EDUCATION

HAMPTON ROADS, VA [August 12, 2021] — The VSO is proud to welcome experienced music educator and conductor Helen Martell as its new Director of Education and Staff Conductor.

This new position reflects restructuring at a moment of artistic transition in the organization. Alongside recently appointed Music Director Eric Jacobsen and Principal Guest Conductor Thomas Wilkins, Martell will round out the VSO’s new musical leadership team and bring a new level of expertise and experience to one of the pillars of its core mission, music education.

In her position, Martell will be responsible for the design and execution of the VSO’s broad education activities and will conduct the VSO’s education and family concerts. She brings not only more than two decades of experience and dedication in the field of public-school music education, but also a demonstrated commitment to and enthusiasm for equity, diversity and inclusion. She will continue as the Music Director and Symphony Orchestra Conductor of the Bay Youth Orchestras of Virginia, the region’s premier youth orchestra.

Martell taught string orchestra at The Academy of International Studies and Young Scholars at Rosemont for the Norfolk Public Schools for 18 years. Prior to that she taught middle school and high school orchestra in Chesapeake for 8 years. She has been with the Bay Youth Orchestras of Virginia since 2001.

Karen Philion, VSO President and CEO, said, “I believe Helen’s leadership will take the VSO’s education programs to a new level of professionalism and impact. She is a person of unusual ability, energy and dedication, and we are fortunate to have her join our team.”

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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. Innovation and excellence are at the heart of the VSO’s narrative.

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

The selection of the young and dynamic conductor Eric Jacobsen as music director earlier this year was another bold step forward for the VSO, further expanding its vision to attract wider and larger audiences with engaging concert experiences and creative and relevant programming. Rounding out the artistic leadership team is Norfolk native Thomas Wilkins in the role of Principal Guest Conductor, reflecting the VSO’s commitment to tell its community’s stories and advance the important conversations that will promote understanding and belonging among all residents.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 12, 2021

Contact: Kristen Bennington, Director of Marketing & Communications
Phone: 757.213.1411
Email: kbennington@virginiasymphony.org

Twitter: @VASymphony
Facebook: facebook.com/virginiasymphony

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7.29.21 | Another View with Barbara Hamm Lee on WHRO: Featuring Thomas Wilkins

Another View with Barbara Hamm Lee on WHRO: Featuring Thomas Wilkins

ACT-SO WINNERS!

If you’ve ever heard of ACT-SO, boy are you in for a treat! This NAACP youth achievement program allows high school students of African descent to develop their areas of interest and then showcase their talents through projects and performances. This year’s Region Two Virtual Competition produced several local winners who went on to ‘blow the competition away’ on the national level! Our Lisa Godley caught up with several of those talented teens who are the epitome of artistic excellence! Lisa’s piece was co-produced by our intern Brianna Walton, who is a rising senior at North Carolina A&T.

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7.19.21 | Thomas Wilkins is back in Norfolk with new Virginia Symphony Orchestra position

Thomas Wilkins is back in Norfolk with new Virginia Symphony Orchestra position

By MIKE HOLTZCLAW
VIRGINIAN-PILOT CORRESPONDENT
JUL 19, 2021 AT 8:39 AM

Thomas Wilkins believes music is more than just notes on paper or melodic sounds. It is transformative and alive, and the longtime conductor has made it a goal to share that with audiences.

Wilkins, a Norfolk native, was first exposed to classical music as an 8-year-old at the old Arena Theater. He said recently that he knew then it would be his life’s work. On Friday, the Virginia Symphony Orchestra announced it created a new position just for him — principal guest conductor.

“There’s beauty in the fact that this completes the circle,” Wilkins said in a phone interview from St. Petersburg, Florida, home. “I get to come back home and be a part of a team, be a part of the organization that helped me chart my life course. Therein lies the beauty of all this.”

Wilkins will be introduced at a reception at 4:30 p.m. Monday at Chrysler Hall, which will be free to the public. Eric Jacobsen, the recently named VSO musical director, will also attend.

Wilkins just finished a 17-year run as musical director for the Omaha Symphony. He still serves as principal conductor at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles and conducts for the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

When JoAnn Falletta ended her 30-year term as head of the VSO last year, the symphony’s board asked Wilkins if he wanted to be a candidate for the position. He declined. At 64 and leaving the Omaha position, he was ready for a slower pace. That’s when the VSO asked if he would be interested in a formal support relationship. Wilkins, who has conducted the VSO on several occasions, accepted immediately, becoming VSO’s first African-American artistic leader.

In a news release, VSO Board Chair Mike McClellan said Wilkins and Jacobsen “share the VSO’s commitment to telling our community’s stories and advancing the important conversations that will promote understanding and belonging among all our residents.”

Wilkins graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in 1974, serving as president of the last class in the old building. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the Shenandoah Conservatory of Music and a master’s from the New England Conservatory of Music — a path that he traces back to that performance he witnessed at age 8.

It was Russell Stanger conducting the Norfolk Symphony Orchestra, a forerunner to the VSO. Wilkins doesn’t remember the music, but he has never forgotten the sensation.

“It was as if the music was calling me by my name,” Wilkins said. “There was something about his physical and emotional involvement in that sound. I couldn’t take my eyes off him — the movements he made, the emotions he was conveying. I knew I wanted that to be in my life.”

Wilkins will make his debut on the weekend of Feb. 18 with shows in Norfolk, Newport News and Virginia Beach. The program will include Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4. The experience won’t be different in the new role, he said.

“I feel the same with every orchestra I conduct,” Wilkins said. “Once I start, it’s just the work of getting to the beauty. It doesn’t matter if it’s a major symphony or a youth orchestra. It’s all the same. It’s the joy of making music.”

Mike Holtzclaw can be reached at mikeclaw81@yahoo.com.

Reception

The Virginia Symphony Orchestra will introduce Norfolk native Thomas Wilkins as its principal guest conductor at a reception at 4:30 p.m. Monday at Chrysler Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

Virginia Symphony Orchestra upcoming schedule:

July 25 — Town Point Park in Norfolk, 6 p.m., free.

Aug. 19, and Sept. 9, 16 and 30 — Symphony by the Sea, Virginia Beach Oceanfront at 31st Street, 7:30 p.m., free ($100 subscription to series, which also includes two performances by Symphonicity, provides reserved seating and other benefits. Available at neptunefestival.com.)

Sept. 24 to 26 — Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Ravel’s Concerto in G. 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News; 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Chrysler Hall, Norfolk; 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Sandler Center in Virginia Beach. Tickets start at $25.

Oct. 15 to 16 — VSO backs the Eagles tribute band Hotel California. 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Ferguson Center for the Arts; 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Chrysler Hall. Tickets start at $25.

Oct. 22-24 — Wynton Marsalis’ Concerto for Tuba and Orchestra, and Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9. Shows are 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Ferguson Center for the Arts; 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Chrysler Hall ; 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Sandler Center. Tickets start at $25.

Oct. 30 — The Final Frontier, featuring music from iconic sci-fi movies and TV shows. 7:30 p.m. at Chrysler Hall. Tickets start at $25.

Ticket information: virginiasymphony.org or call 757-892-6366

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7.18.21 | State of the Water with Dr. Eric Claville on WNSB: Featuring Thomas Wilkins

State of the Water with Dr. Eric Claville on WNSB: Featuring Thomas Wilkins

 

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6.25.21 | VSO PRESENTS “HOPE FOR THE FUTURE” CONCERT

VSO PRESENTS “HOPE FOR THE FUTURE” CONCERT

HAMPTON ROADS, VA [June 25, 2021] – Join musicians of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra on June 26 for a special healing event as communities begin healing from the pandemic. This “Hope for the Future” concert will happen at Second Calvary Baptist Church in Norfolk and is free and open to the public. Doors open at 5:00pm for a 5:30pm show.

This evening’s concert will be facilitated by Mrs. Barbara Hamm Lee of WHRO’s “Another View.” She is well known in the Hampton Roads community and beyond for her grasp and insight of issues that directly impact the Black American communities on both the Southside and The Peninsula. Joining her as a facilitator is Mrs. Elizabeth Eccles who now serves as the Interim Music Director for the I. Sherman Greene Chorale. She was also the 2020 Dreamer Award recipient from the Virginia Symphony Orchestra.

This concert will feature several instrumental ensembles of the VSO playing music which will focus on “Hope For The Future” as communities begin a recovery from the pandemic and as a memorial for congregants from each HARMONY church who passed away because of it. Following the program will be a talk-back session with the musicians who performed which will give audience members an opportunity to ask questions.

The HARMONY Project is a long-term initiative that creates reciprocal relationships between the VSO and historically Black churches in the Hampton Roads communities by offering free performances and educational events for the congregation, sometimes including collaboration with church choirs. The HARMONY Project is specifically designed to meet the interest of each church congregation and its worship context.

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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. Since the ground-breaking appointment of JoAnn Falletta in 1991, innovation and excellence have been at the heart of the VSO’s narrative.

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  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.

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

The selection of Eric Jacobsen as music director in 2021 is a bold step forward for VSO, further expanding its vision to attract wider and larger audiences with engaging concert experiences and creative and relevant programming. Jacobsen also shares the VSO’s commitment to tell our community’s stories and advance the important conversations that will promote understanding and belonging among all our residents.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 25, 2021
Contact: Kristen Bennington,
Director of Marketing & Communications
Phone: 757.213.1411
email: kbennington@virginiasymphony.org

Twitter: @VASymphony
Facebook: facebook.com/virginiasymphony

Twitter: @VASymphony
Facebook: facebook.com/virginiasymphony

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6.2.21 | Virginia Symphony Orchestra names Eric Jacobsen new music director

Virginia Symphony Orchestra names Eric Jacobsen new music director

By AMY POULTER
THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT
JUN 02, 2021 AT 12:01 PM

NORFOLK — In April 2019, the Virginia Symphony Orchestra announced its longtime music director, JoAnn Falletta, was leaving after 29 years with the organization.

The search for a new director began but, in musical terms, last year was the fermata that seemingly had no end.

The long pause is over, and the VSO has named its new music director — Eric Jacobsen, a 38-year-old cellist and conductor. He begins his tenure July 1.

Jacobsen has a talent for mixing classical canon and moving works by undiscovered composers. Jacobsen — who also serves as music director for the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and the Greater Bridgeport Symphony in Connecticut — calls it framing, and considers it his biggest programming challenge. He likens it to creating the perfect dinner plate.

“Everyone knows that a New York strip steak or a filet mignon is going to be delicious,” he said in a phone interview Tuesday. “But what else is on that plate with that so that it’s different than the last time you had it?”

In other words, how do you spice up shows where the centerpiece is a beloved Berlioz or Bach? Jacobsen likes to sprinkle in a bit of the unknown, slyly introducing audiences to new compositions in a way that makes them feel familiar.

“It’s borderline green eggs and ham, right?” Jacobsen said.

Food analogies aside, Jacobsen said his relationship with the VSO happened organically. It wasn’t until he was invited back in March 2020 to guest conduct that he realized it was part of the organization’s search.

“That was even more exciting,” he said. “I wasn’t just me loving this orchestra, it was going in both directions. There was a symbiotic thing going on.”

The search attracted more than 100 candidates and was chaired by Michael McClellan and his wife, Andria.

“The joy he has for making music is contagious,” Michael R. McClellan said in a news release about Jacobsen. “I believe his approach to collaboration and making concerts fun experiences will energize a new generation of musically curious audiences.”

Jacobsen said he’s thrilled to get the job and pick up where Falletta left off. He does have big shoes to fill, and he’s not reluctant to admit that. Her strong leadership led to great stability within the organization and community, “so much clarity and a lot of love,” he said.

“Really, the next steps are just about where is it going from here and how big can this grow,” he said.

VSO President and CEO Karen Philion echoed Jacobsen’s sentiments.

“We now look forward to building on our success and momentum,” Philion said in the news release. “Eric’s innovative vision, musical curiosity, and boundless energy are in perfect alignment with this moment, and with the VSO’s commitment to serve the entire community in new and exciting ways.”

In addition to his music director roles, Jacobsen is also a member of the Silk Road Ensemble founded by Yo-Yo Ma and a founding member of the string quartet Brooklyn Rider, dubbed “one of the wonders of contemporary music” by the Los Angeles Times.

Jacobsen said he’s excited to experiment with the performance format and programming and bring in new fans. It’s a hefty task for any music director, he said, and the effort doesn’t stop when people buy a ticket and sit down in the concert hall.

The concert itself needs to be “more than bait.”

“It’s gotta be more like hook, line and sinker,” he said. “We have to show them that coming in was worth their time, and it’s worth their time to come back.”

In any good concert, Jacobsen said there should be a moment where time bends just slightly. When the music is piercing and creates vulnerability. When, without words, the musicians communicate at the deepest level. That only happens when conductors and musicians are willing to take risks and let their guard down, Jacobsen said.

“You’ve got to be willing to expose yourself and then something can happen where the audience is able to feel something meaningful.”

Amy Poulter, 757-446-2705, amy.poulter@pilotonline.com

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6.2.21 | NOTED AMERICAN CONDUCTOR AND CELLIST ERIC JACOBSEN APPOINTED NEW MUSIC DIRECTOR OF THE VIRGINIA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

NOTED AMERICAN CONDUCTOR AND CELLIST ERIC JACOBSEN APPOINTED NEW MUSIC DIRECTOR OF THE VIRGINIA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

HAMPTON ROADS, VA [June 2, 2021] – The Virginia Symphony Orchestra today announced the appointment of noted American conductor and cellist ERIC JACOBSEN as its new Music Director, effective July 1.

Hailed by the Los Angeles Times as helping to ensure “the future of classical music in America,” Jacobsen, 38, has already carved out a reputation as one of the classical music’s most exciting and innovative young conductors. He combines the best of the core classical canon with cutting-edge collaborations and projects that cut across musical boundaries, captivating both traditional as well as younger and more diverse new audiences.

Jacobsen is currently the artistic director and conductor of The Knights, a NYC-based orchestra known for its adventurous programs and cross-genre musical partnerships. He is also Music Director of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and the Greater Bridgeport Symphony in Connecticut.

“The Virginia Symphony has been wonderfully warm and welcoming to me, and I am overjoyed to be joining as Music Director!” said Jacobsen. “Music is the deepest, most powerfully meaningful form of communication I know, encompassing the entire range of human emotions from towering transcendental experiences to moments of sheer lightness and joy.  It also offers virtually endless possibilities for discovery, and I’m so excited to embark on this journey of exploration with the musicians, staff and audiences of the Virginia Symphony.”

Jacobsen becomes the twelfth music director in the VSO’s 100-year history, succeeding JoAnn Falletta who stepped down in 2020 after 29 years in the role, and is now the orchestra’s Music Director Laureate.

In making the announcement, VSO President and CEO Karen M. Philion said the selection of Jacobsen signals an exciting new chapter in the organization’s history.  “In 1991 the VSO made a bold decision when it chose JoAnn Falletta as its music director.  We now look forward to building on our success and momentum. Eric’s innovative vision, musical curiosity, and boundless energy are in perfect alignment with this moment, and with the VSO’s commitment to serve the entire community in new and exciting ways.”

The VSO’s international search, which attracted more than 100 candidates, was chaired by Mike McClellan and his wife Andria, leading a committee made up of community leaders, musicians, and board members. In making the announcement, McClellan said the committee was impressed first by Jacobsen’s musicianship but also by his charisma, inclusivity, and thoughtfulness. “The joy he has for making music is contagious,” McClellan said, adding “I believe his approach to collaboration and making concerts fun experiences will energize a new generation of musically curious audiences.”

Hailed by the New York Times as “an interpretive dynamo,” conductor and cellist Eric Jacobsen has built a reputation for welcoming and engaging audiences, creating powerful and compelling experiences around music through creative programming and meaningful artistic partnerships. Jacobsen founded the adventurous orchestra The Knights with his brother, violinist Colin Jacobsen, to foster the intimacy and camaraderie of chamber music on the orchestral stage. As conductor, Jacobsen has led the “consistently inventive, infectiously engaged indie ensemble” (New York Times) at Central Park’s Naumburg Orchestral Concerts, Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival, (Le) Poisson Rouge, the 92nd Street Y, Carnegie Hall, and Lincoln Center, at major summer festivals such as Tanglewood, Ravinia, and Ojai, and on tour nationally and international. 

In his six years with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, Jacobsen has pioneered the orchestra’s programming and community engagement in new and exciting directions. The 2019-20 season in Orlando included two new initiatives: Inside the Score, in which Jacobsen led the audience on a guided exploration of Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, and Resonate, which featured a unique blend of old and new orchestral and chamber works, performed in standard and more intimate concert formats. During the pandemic, Jacobsen embraced the virtual medium and continued to engage audiences in a variety of high-energy ensemble performances ranging from full-length online concerts to social media content, many of which were self-produced.

A dedicated chamber musician, Jacobsen is a member of the Silk Road Ensemble, founded by Yo-Yo Ma, participating in residencies and performances at the Hollywood Bowl, Carnegie Hall, and across the U.S., Central Asia, Middle East, Far East, and Europe. In addition, as a founding member of the string quartet Brooklyn Rider – dubbed “one of the wonders of contemporary music” (Los Angeles Times) – he has taken part in a wealth of world premieres and toured extensively in North America, Europe, and Asia.

Married to GRAMMYTM Award-winning singer-songwriter Aoife O’Donovan, Jacobsen also finds time away from the stage for an active family life with Aoife and their three-year-old daughter, Ivy Jo. 

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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.  Since the ground-breaking appointment of JoAnn Falletta in 1991, innovation and excellence have been at the heart of the VSO’s narrative.

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 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.

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

The selection of Eric Jacobsen as music director in 2021 is a bold step forward for VSO, further expanding its vision to attract wider and larger audiences with engaging concert experiences and creative and relevant programming. Jacobsen also shares the VSO’s commitment to tell our community’s stories and advance the important conversations that will promote understanding and belonging among all our residents.

 

For Immediate Release

June 2, 2021
Contact: Kristen Bennington,
Director of Marketing & Communications
Phone: 757.213.1411| email: kbennington@virginiasymphony.org

Twitter: @VASymphony | Facebook: facebook.com/virginiasymphony

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5.17.21 | STUDENTS ENGAGE WITH THE VSO THROUGH VIRTUAL FIELD TRIPS

STUDENTS ENGAGE WITH THE VSO THROUGH VIRTUAL FIELD TRIPS

HAMPTON ROADS, VA [May 17, 2021] – The Virginia Symphony Orchestra has turned their popular Young People’s Concert into a virtual experience this year, available through the end of June, to 12 public school divisions.

 

The program, which began in the late 1960s, traditionally serves 25,000 students in 12 school divisions throughout the Hampton Roads region. The recording is available to these school divisions: Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Southampton, Franklin, Williamsburg/James City County, Hampton, Newport News, Suffolk, Isle of Wight, Gloucester. Conducted by Helen Martell, Music Director and Symphony Orchestra Conductor for the Bay Youth Orchestras of Virginia, the concert features jazz pianist James Collins, as well as Virginia Beach local and GSA alum vocalist, Bridget Cooper.

 

The VSO partners with Carnegie Hall to provide schools with teacher guides, student activities, and classroom materials. Throughout the year, students learn to sing and play an instrument in their virtual classrooms, and then play and sing along with the Young People’s Concert recording. For most students, this is their first time seeing a symphony orchestra, and the opportunity to play along with the orchestra is an experience that leaves a lasting impact.

 

Kelly Dee, Hampton City Schools fine arts teacher specialist for music education, stated, “The Virginia Symphony Orchestra has shined brightly as a valued community partner, helping our music educators to overcome some of the challenges they faced during this pandemic school year. Our shared educational mission and work have provided many enriching opportunities that our students would not have experienced without their unwavering dedication to Hampton City Schools.”

 

“We were so glad to be able to continue our partnership with Hampton Roads teachers and students this year given all of the challenges presented by the pandemic. The VSO remained adaptable, and our musicians were flexible to ensure we could still effectively deliver our programs virtually. Music teachers have been incredibly innovative, and I look forward to incorporating the lessons learned and methods developed during this time to our future partnerships so that we can continue to provide valuable programs for students,” said Rebekah Geiselman, Education and Community Engagement Manager.

 

This year’s Young People’s Concert is generously funded by the following organizations: City of Norfolk, Chesapeake Fine Arts Commission, Southeast Virginia Community Foundation, Rouse-Bottom Foundation, Newport News Arts Commission, Portsmouth Museum and Fine Arts Commission, Virginia Beach Arts and Humanities Commission, Tidewater Children’s Foundation, Williamsburg Area Arts Commission, Williamsburg Community Foundation, Camp Foundation, VCA, and BCAS.

 

To view supplementary information provided by Carnegie Hall, visit https://www.carnegiehall.org/Education/Programs/Link-Up/National-Program/The-Orchestra-Swings

 

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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 as it celebrates its 100th anniversary season in 2021.

 

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, prior to the pandemic the VSO and VSO Chorus presented 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 celebrates its Centennial year, the Orchestra and its legions of fans look forward with anticipation as the VSO concludes a worldwide search for its next music director.

For Immediate Release

May 17, 2021
Contact: Kristen Bennington,
Director of Marketing & Communications
Phone: 757.213.1411| email: kbennington@virginiasymphony.org

Twitter: @VASymphony
Facebook: facebook.com/virginiasymphony

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3.3.21 | THE VIRGINIA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA ANNOUNCES NEW STAFFING STRUCTURE

THE VIRGINIA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA ANNOUNCES NEW STAFFING STRUCTURE

HAMPTON ROADS, VA. [March 3, 2021] – Today the VSO announced a new staffing structure designed to strengthen the organization’s response to the evolving needs of a 21st century symphony orchestra. The marketing and fundraising teams will have a collaborative focus on meeting the highest customer experience standards in the VSO’s 100-year history. Rooted in the VSO’s mission and vision for community service, and driven by data, the VSO enters its second century as an industry leader implementing best practices for building long-term relationships with audiences, donors, and artists. 

“We will continue to base day-to-day decisions on even more sophisticated collection and analysis of data, but data doesn’t do; people do,” said Karen M. Philion, President and CEO, in making this announcement. “I am grateful to work alongside one of the most talented and dedicated teams the VSO has ever assembled.” 

Monica K. Meyer has been named to the new position of Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer, in which she will oversee both contributed and earned revenue in support of the VSO’s annual pre-pandemic operating budget of $6.5 million. Monica came to the VSO in 2014 as Director of Marketing, Sales and Public Relations, after a successful seven-year career at the Pittsburgh Symphony in increasingly responsible positions. 

Kristen Bennington, who has been with the organization since 2019 in a variety of marketing roles, has been named Director of Marketing and Communications. Kristen has a master’s degree in Piano Accompanying from Temple University and is currently working toward an MBA with a marketing concentration from Wilmington University. 

Lauren DiPeppe will be the VSO’s new Director of Development. Prior to joining the VSO, Lauren served as the Assistant Director of Giving at Eastern Virginia Medical School. Her previous experience also includes positions at the United Way of South Hampton Roads and CHKD. Lauren will oversee the day-to-day operations of the development department including all major gifts, grants, and special campaigns. 

Linda Dyer, who has held various development roles at the VSO and at several other arts, education and human service non-profits in Hampton Roads, has been named Manager of Institutional Relations, and will be responsible for foundation and government grants and relationships on behalf of the organization.

To round out the new team structure, two positions are currently being advertised:  Annual Fund Manager and Database Manager.  Job descriptions and application information are available at www.virginiasymphony.org

For Immediate Release

March 3, 2021
Contact: Kristen Bennington,
Director of Marketing & Communications
Phone: 757.213.1411
email: kbennington@virginiasymphony.org

Twitter: @VASymphony
Facebook: facebook.com/virginiasymphony

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2.27.21 | THE VIRGINIA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA RETURNS TO A SCHEDULE OF LIVE PERFORMANCES TO CELEBRATE THE ORCHESTRA’S 100TH ANNIVERSARY BEGINNING FEBRUARY 26!

THE VIRGINIA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA RETURNS TO A SCHEDULE OF LIVE PERFORMANCES TO CELEBRATE THE ORCHESTRA’S 100TH ANNIVERSARY BEGINNING FEBRUARY 26!

THE SIX LIVE PERFORMANCES IN FEBRUARY AND MARCH WILL BE THE ORCHESTRA’S FIRST IN NEARLY A YEAR SINCE THE OUTBREAK OF THE PANDEMIC

HAMPTON ROADS, VA. [February 22, 2021] – After nearly a year away from the concert stage and live music, the Virginia Symphony Orchestra has announced an exciting schedule of six live performances between February 26 and March 28, including three different programs to be presented in Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Newport News, with safety protocols and limited audience capacity to ensure social distancing.

The much-awaited plan for returning to live performances comes after months of planning and discussions with musicians, venues, community leaders and health officials toward ensuring the safety of performers and audiences. In adherence to the Governor’s executive order, audience attendance will be limited to no more than 250 at each location and will require masking and other safety protocols (see full list on www.virginiasymphony.org). Running time for each of the concerts will be approximately 60-80 minutes, with no intermission.

Additionally, these concerts will be streamed live, real-time, with free priority access for current VSO season ticket holders who are choosing or not able to attend in person.

“This announcement that the VSO will be performing live concerts beginning in March is indeed exciting news. To be able to see and to hear exceptionally talented musicians performing on stage in front of a very appreciative audience gives me such joy and happiness,” said longtime subscriber Mary Margaret Hutchins. “I know that all the friends and supporters of the orchestra join me in thanking the VSO for safely bringing back the magic of the music.”

DETAILS OF THE CONCERT PROGRAMS FOR FIRST THREE WEEKENDS OF LIVE MUSIC:

FEBRUARY 26, OPENING NIGHT:   JoAnn Fallettathe Connie and Marc Jacobson Music Director Laureate – makes a very special appearance on the podium for this first live opening performance of the series in Norfolk’s Chrysler Hall.  The program opens with the orchestral premiere of Adolphus Hailstork’s Adagio, to honor and remember those we’ve lost in the last year.  Next, Richard Strauss’s joyous Concerto for Horn No. 1 features the VSO’s Principal Horn, Jacob Wilder, as soloist – continuing a century-long tradition of showcasing VSO musicians as soloists. The final work is one of Mendelssohn’s most popular masterpieces, his Symphony No. 4 “Italian.” It is filled with echoes of his joy at visiting Italy for the first time, in a journey which inspired him to explore new ideas and different paths – in much the same way the VSO now begins a voyage of discovery looking forward to its next 100 years.

This concert is made possible by Connie and Marc Jacobson and the Helen G. Gifford Foundation.

An on-demand version of this performance is available for free beginning March 3rd. To reserve your on-demand ticket valid for 30-days of streaming this performance, please visit www.virginiasymphony.org.

MARCH 5-7, CONDUCTING MAVERICK:  The second weekend in the series will welcome guest conductor Eric Jacobsen, who has carved out a reputation as one of classical music’s most exciting and innovative young conductors. With him will be brothers and Newport News natives Brendon and Sterling Elliott, making a rare joint appearance to perform the magical La muse et le poète from French composer Camille Saint-Saëns. The program will conclude with Franz Schubert’s animated Symphony No. 3 in D Major, written when he was only eighteen years old. These performances will take place at the Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News on Friday, March 5 at 7:30 p.m., at Chrysler Hall in Norfolk on Saturday, March 6 at 7:30 p.m., and at the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts in Virginia Beach on Sunday, March 7 at 2:30 p.m. On-demand tickets for streaming this performance are available for $25 at virginiasymphony.org and will be available beginning March 10 for 30 days of streaming.

These concerts are sponsored by the Rutter Family Foundation. The Ferguson Center performance is supported in part by the Rona & Edwin Drucker Charitable Trust, and the Chrysler Hall performance is sponsored by TowneBank.

MARCH 26-28, THE BACH BRANDENBURGS: a very special evening of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerti. Written in 1721, these musical jewels showcase a range of individual instruments spotlighting the superlative musicians of the VSO, led by world-famous guest conductor and violinist Cho-Liang (Jimmy) Lin. Known for his acclaimed violin and conducting appearances throughout the world, the VSO is honored to welcome Lin back to the region. This weekend of concerts will be performed at the Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News on Friday, March 26 at 7:30 p.m. and at the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts in Virginia Beach on Sunday, March 28 at 2:30 p.m. On-demand tickets for streaming this performance are available for $25 at virginiasymphony.org and will be available beginning March 31 for 30 days of streaming.

The March 28th performance at Sandler Center is supported in part by Avraham Ashkenazi in memory of his wife, Patricia Ashkenazi.

SPECIAL NOTE: Additional upcoming live VSO performances later this spring will be announced as details become available. To receive these updates, please “follow” us on Facebook and other social media, sign-up for email notifications and check for news at our website: www.virginiasymphony.org. We also welcome you to call our Patron Services Team with any questions weekdays at 757.892.6366.

For more information and questions, or to purchase tickets to on-demand concerts, visit virginiasymphony.org or call our Patron Services team at 757.892.6366.

 

 

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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 as it celebrates its 100th anniversary season in 2021.

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, prior to the pandemic, the VSO and VSO Chorus presented 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 celebrates its Centennial year, the Orchestra and its legions of fans look forward with anticipation as the VSO concludes a worldwide search for its next music director.

 

   For Immediate Release

February 22, 2021
Contact: Monica Meyer,
Vice President of Marketing, Sales, and Public Relations
Phone: 757.213.1431
email: mmeyer@virginiasymphony.org

Twitter: @VASymphony
Facebook: facebook.com/virginiasymphony

read more