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Saint-Saëns’ Organ Symphony

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JoAnn Falletta, conductor
Brendon Elliott, violin
Virginia Symphony Orchestra
Virginia Symphony Orchestra Chorus

Lili Boulanger: Psalm 24
Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges: Violin Concerto in A major, Op.5 No 2  
Camille Saint-Saëns: Symphony No. 3, “Organ”

As part of the Lafayette 200 celebration, Music Director Laureate JoAnn Falletta leads the Virginia Symphony Orchestra & Chorus in a tribute to French musical excellence with Saint-Saëns’ grand romantic symphony featuring the “king of instruments,” the organ. Its enduring melodies have made their way into pop songs and even the main theme of the film Babe. On the first half of the concert, VSO violinist Brendon Elliott will step into the spotlight as soloist in a concerto by the Chevalier de Saint-Georges, a French composer and contemporary of Mozart’s who is notable as the first composer of African descent to achieve acclaim in European classical music.

In fall 2024, Virginia will celebrate the 200th anniversary of Major General Marquis de Lafayette’s return to the United States. Lafayette, a French aristocrat and military officer, defied his king to command the Continental Army against the British in the American Revolution. In 1824, President James Monroe invited the last living American General from the Revolutionary War on a tour to the popular cities to celebrate the nation’s 50th anniversary. As the “Nation’s Guest”, Lafayette was welcomed by Americans in the 24 states with parades, balls, dinners and other celebratory events. What started as a three-month tour became a 13-month expedition across the nation he helped to gain independence.

JoAnn Falletta was named the Virginia Symphony Orchestra’s Connie and Marc Jacobson Music Director Laureate in 2021 after serving as VSO Music Director for 29 seasons. Winner of multiple Grammy awards, she also serves as Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the Brevard Music Center, and Conductor Laureate of the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra.

Brendon Elliott is a Virginia Native who studied at the Curtis Institute of Music and the Juilliard School. After completing a fellowship at the New World Symphony he joined the violin section of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra in 2021. Brendon is also currently touring as Joseph Bologne’s musical half in Bill Barclay’s play The Chevalier.The 24/25 season marks the 35th anniversary of the Virginia Symphony Chorus, and its twenty-eighth under the direction of Chorusmaster Robert Shoup.  In addition to regular appearances with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, the chorus has performed to sold-out houses as far afield as Prague, Vienna, Berlin, Leipzig, Munich, Salzburg and closer to home at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.