Virginia Symphony Orchestra Administration

Executive
Staff

Karen Philion

President and CEO
More Info

Lofton Riser Barnes

Executive Assistant
757-213-1406

Orchestra
Activities

Christina Havens

Vice President of Orchestra Activities
757-213-1421

Rodney Martell

Artistic Administrator
757-572-3757

Paula Bonds

Assistant Librarian
757-213-1407

Rebekah Geiselman

Education and Community Engagement Manager
757-213-1438

Alex Partow

Production/Stage Manager
757-729-2508

Jim Nesbit

Orchestra Personnel Manager
757-729-2251

Salvatore Parillo

Operations Manager
757-641-5801

Carl Wilder

Principal Librarian
757-213-1408

Development

Elizabeth Baroody

Vice President of Development
757-213-1419

James Swindell

Development Operations Coordinator
757-213-1417

Linda Dyer

Director of Development
757-213-1412

Rachel Keene

Development Communications Associate
757-213-1415

Finance

Teresa Kraus

Chief Financial Officer
757-213-1437

Marketing and
Public Relations

Monica Meyer

Vice President of Marketing, Sales and Public Relations
757-213-1431

Peyton Carter

Manager of Digital Media Strategies and Patron Loyalty
757-213-1420

Kristen Kiekel

Manager of Volunteers and Patron Engagement
757-213-1411

Patron
Services

Robert Belford

Manager of Patron Services & Sales
757-213-1413

Averi Kasecamp

Patron Services Coordinator
757-213-1414

Brooke Angelique Bates

Call Room Manager
757-213-1423

Joe Bernard

House Manager and Volunteer Coordinator

Artistic
Staff

JoAnn Falletta

Music Director

Robert Shoup

Chorus Master and Staff Conductor

Ray Landon

Chorus Manager

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...

Karen M. Philion

As the President & CEO of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Karen Philion brings a wealth of experience across a broad spectrum of arts and cultural assignments to her position. Karen has significant experience in strategic planning, fundraising and marketing, believes passionately in the ability of the arts to connect people, and credits her management success to a radically open and highly collaborative leadership style.

While earning her graduate degree at the University of Mississippi, Karen joined the editing team of the Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, hailed by the Washington Post as an invaluable guide to southern life, culture & history. Contributing more than twenty entries, her work includes articles on subjects as diverse as the Tidewater coastal region, to musical legends Patsy Cline and Dizzy Gillespie. From Mississippi, Karen headed north where she managed the day-to-day operations of a 28-member station statewide public radio network—the Alaska Public Radio Network. Major highlights there included successful initiatives with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Education.

Karen joined the orchestra industry at the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, where she planned and implemented all marketing and fundraising activities for this statewide touring orchestra in 26 communities. She also helped create a statewide network of regional boards, an important mechanism that supported and positioned that VSO as a popular and successful attraction for residents and thousands of tourists throughout the state.

As Director of Development for the Buffalo Philharmonic, Karen was recruited as part of a new senior management team to secure and rebuild the Orchestra’s fundraising efforts by growing support for expanded programming, world-class artists, and critical stabilization initiatives – including the appointment of the orchestra’s then new music director – JoAnn Falletta. During her tenure, the BPO enjoyed three consecutive years of record-breaking fundraising, which represented more than 60% of all income. In 2011 Karen was recruited to the Virginia Symphony as VP of Development, during which time contributed income increased over three years by twenty percent.

Since being named CEO in 2015, Karen has led the VSO in a transformative long-range planning process which is transforming the organization and challenging the idea of what a 21st century orchestra can mean to our community. She has assembled a dynamic team, created innovative community partnerships, and launched new strategic initiatives to provide support and opportunity to the VSO’s musicians as they engage and enhance our community through the performance of live symphonic music.

A member of the 2017 CIVIC Leadership Class, Karen spends her spare time with her family: two daughters, Laura and Libby, and her husband Tom Philion, another arts management veteran.