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Appalachian Spring & Aoife O’Donovan

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Eric Jacobsen, conductor
Aoife O’Donovan, vocalist

Aaron Copland: Fanfare for the Common Man
Aoife O’Donovan: America, Come
Aaron Copland: Appalachian Spring

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the premiere of Martha Graham’s Appalachian Spring ballet, where audiences first heard the iconic strains of Copland’s music that would come to define an American musical language. His suite of music from the ballet expanded for full orchestra further cemented the piece into the fabric of popular culture. Grammy Award-winning songwriter Aoife O’Donovan joins the VSO and her husband, Music Director Eric Jacobsen, to perform her musical exploration of voting rights for women. America, Come is inspired by the lives, letters, and speeches of the president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association Carrie Chapman Catt and United States President Woodrow Wilson during the summer of 1920.

Eric Jacobsen serves as the Virginia Symphony Orchestra’s twelfth Music Director, a position he’s held since 2021. He is also artistic director and co-founder of The Knights, the uniquely adventurous NYC-based chamber orchestra, and Music Director of the Orlando Philharmonic. In addition to conducting, Eric is a dedicated chamber musician (cello) and is a member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble.

Aoife O’Donovan (pronounced EE-fa) is a Grammy-award winning singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist whose music radiates with a timeless charm and contemporary allure beyond genre. She gained widespread recognition as a founding member of the progressive folk band Crooked Still and the folk trio I’m With Her. She is the featured vocalist on The Goat Rodeo Sessions (whose members include Yo-Yo Ma). Deemed “a vocalist of unerring instinct” by the New York Times, O’Donovan has released four critically-acclaimed solo albums including the 3x Grammy-nominated album, Age Of Apathy. Her latest release, 2024’s All My Friends, explores America’s evolution a century after women gained the right to vote.

Aaron Copland is often referred to as the “Dean of American Composers.” He developed a compositional style that, through works like Appalachian Spring, Billy the Kid, Rodeo, Fanfare for the Common Man, and his Third Symphony, came to be considered the sound of American music.

Co-presented with the Ferguson Center for the Arts in recognition of its 20th Anniversary Season.