Virginia Symphony Orchestra

2019-2020 Full Concert Schedule

RESCHEDULED: Beethoven “Emperor” and Symphony No. 9 “Choral” • 8/28-8/30

Friday, August 28, 2020 | Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News | 8PM
Saturday, August 29, 2020 | Chrysler Hall, Norfolk | 8PM
Sunday, August 30, 2020 | Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, VA Beach | 2:30PM

A magnificent Beethoven birthday celebration…and a spectacular sendoff for a beloved Maestro!

Beethoven Symphony No. 9

Virginia Symphony Orchestra
Virginia Symphony Orchestra Chorus
JoAnn Falletta, conductor
Jennifer Check, soprano
Susan Platts, mezzo soprano
Gene Stenger, tenor
Darren Stokes, bass

“One of the finest conductors of her generation.”
     -The New York Times

“Falletta conducted with a controlled frenzy worthy of Bernstein. Falletta has won conducting awards named for Toscanini, Walter and Stokowski. That seems appropriate as her podium draws on the legacy of all three–Toscanini’s tight control over ensemble, Walter’s affectionate balancing of inner voices, and Stokowski’s gutsy showmanship.”
     -The Washington Post

The Virginia Symphony Orchestra and Virginia Arts Festival’s celebration of Beethoven’s 250th Birthday is also a grand farewell to a beloved member of the region’s music community–an emotional event you won’t want to miss. Music Director of the VSO, JoAnn Falletta will lead the orchestra, soloists, and the Virginia Symphony Chorus in Beethoven’s soaring Ninth Symphony, with its mighty anthem “Ode to Joy.” Order your tickets now!*

*This program replaces the Virginia Arts Festival Beethoven concerts originally scheduled for May 15, 16 and 17, 2020; if you already have tickets for one of those performances, your tickets will be valid for the new dates.


CommUNITY Play-In and Sing-Along • 9/13

Sunday, September 13, 2020 | Scope Arena, Norfolk | 4PM

Pick up your instrument, bring your voice and join the Virginia Symphony Orchestra in a celebration of peace, inclusion and unity. This inspiring annual event embraces our community’s cultural richness and diversity, uniting people of all ages, faiths and backgrounds through participation in music, dance and spoken word.

Music will be available for any instrument and voice at any level, so come play and sing with us! Or just come as you are and enjoy the musical talents of your neighbors. All are welcome!

Registration will open closer to the event – check here for updates!

From the New World • 9/18 – 9/20

Friday, September 18, 2020 | Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News | 7:30PM
Saturday, September 19, 2020 | Chrysler Hall, Norfolk | 7:30PM
Sunday, September 20, 2020 | Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia Beach | 7:30PM

Suffolk native and Metropolitan Opera star Ryan Speedo Green comes home to join the VSO in the opening of our 100th Anniversary Season! 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 display with a variety of operatic showstoppers, Broadway standards and African American spirituals.
Rossen Milanov is currently the Music Director of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, Princeton Symphony Orchestra and newly appointed Chief Conductor of the Slovenian RTV Orchestra in Ljubljana. 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 Native American melodies enrich this mix of European refinement and American earnestness.

Rossen Milanov, conductor
Ryan Speedo Green, bass-baritone

Adolphus Hailstork: An American Port of Call
Verdi: “O tu Palermo” from I Vespri Siciliani
Bizet: “Votre toast” from Carmen
Rodgers/Hammerstein: “This nearly was mine” from South Pacific
Wagner: “Abendlicht strahlt der sonne auge” from Das Rheingold
Traditional/ arr. Flody: Down by the river side
Dvorak: New World Symphony

Havana Nights with the Mambo Kings • 10/8 – 10/10

Thursday, October 8, 2020 | Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News | 7:30 PM
Saturday, October 10, 2020 | Chrysler Hall, Norfolk | 7:30 PM

Join us for this evening of hot Latin jazz and mambo with New York’s foremost Latin jazz ensemble, in concert with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra! The Mambo Kings will bring their “explosive blend of Afro-Cuban rhythms and improvisation” to classical favorites, pop hits, and jazz standards. Together, we’ll take you on a Latin jazz club tour that will have you up and dancing all night!

A Celebration of the 1920s • 10/23 – 10/25

Friday, October 23, 2020 | Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News | 7:30PM
Saturday, October 24, 2020 | Chrysler Hall, Norfolk | 7:30PM
Sunday, October 25, 2020 | Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia Beach | 2:30PM

It’s 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 founding in 1920. Leading the VSO will be Akiko Fujimoto, who is quickly establishing herself as one of today’s most dynamic and nuanced young conductors.

Akiko Fujimoto, conductor
Natasha Paremski, piano

Hindemith: Ragtime
Porter/Koechlin: Within the Quota
Ravel: Concerto in G
Ellington: Harlem
Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue

Mozart and Beethoven • 10/29 – 10/30

Thursday, October 29, 2020 | Regent University, Virginia Beach | 7:30PM
Friday, October 30, 2020 | CrossWalk Church, Williamsburg | 7:30PM

The VSO’s principal clarinet Michael Byerly takes center stage to play Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto – one of the most popular pieces of classical repertoire – to delight our audiences in this 100th anniversary season. Returning to the VSO stage is the multi-talented Daniel Matsukawa, former member of the VSO and current principal bassoon of the Philadelphia Orchestra, whose 2016 appearance with the VSO as soloist and conductor received rave reviews. Matsukawa returns once again to conduct in a program which continues the VSO’s celebration of Beethoven’s 250th anniversary with one of his greatest symphonies.

Daniel Matsukawa, conductor
Michael Byerly, clarinet

Respighi: Ancient Airs and Dances No. 3
Mozart: Clarinet Concerto
Beethoven: Symphony No. 7

Classic Marsalis! • 11/5 – 11/8

Thursday, November 5, 2020 | Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News | 7:30PM
Saturday, November 7, 2020 | Chrysler Hall, Norfolk | 7:30PM
Sunday, November 8, 2020 | Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia Beach | 2:30PM

Grammy-winning saxophonist Branford Marsalis makes his first appearance with the VSO! Joining his friend to conduct is Norfolk native and Hampton Roads’ favorite son Thomas Wilkins who returns to lead this exciting program featuring a recent saxophone concerto by American composer John Adams. The work is inspired by Adams’ early exposure to jazz greats John Coltrane and Wayne Shorter. Don’t miss this very special collaboration!

Thomas Wilkins, conductor
Branford Marsalis, saxophone

Beethoven: Overture to the Creature of Prometheus
Symphony No. 3
Berlioz: Roman Carnival Overture
John Adams
: Saxophone Concerto

Classical Mystery Tour • 11/12 – 11/14

Thursday, November 12, 2020 | Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News | 7:30 PM
Saturday, November 14, 2020 | Chrysler Hall, Norfolk | 7:30 PM

Can you imagine the energy and sheer thrill of hearing The Beatles performing in concert with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra? Now you can find out for yourself when Classical Mystery Tour, the premier Beatles tribute band, joins the VSO in a show The Los Angeles Times called “More than just an incredible simulation – a live performance with a high goose-bump quotient.” The four musicians in Classical Mystery Tour look and sound just like John, Paul, George and Ringo as they perform fifty years of timeless Beatles hits from “Meet the Beatles” all the way to “Abbey Road.” Many Beatles fans never had the opportunity to experience a live Beatles show. Now you can – with the full symphony orchestra!

RESCHEDULED: Video Games Live • 11/21

Saturday, November 21, 2020 | Ferguson Center for the Arts | 7:30PM

*This program replaces the Virginia Symphony concert originally scheduled for April 3, 2020; if you already have tickets for that performance, your tickets will be valid for the new date.

Video Games Live™ is an immersive concert event featuring music from the most popular video games of all time. Picture the energy and excitement of a rock concert mixed with the power and emotion of a symphony orchestra and brought together by the technology, interactivity, stunning visuals and fun that only video games can provide. Completely synchronized, cutting-edge videos, state-of-the-art lighting and special effects, stage show production and special on-stage interactive segments will dazzle crowds of all ages – gamers and non-gamers alike.

Are you the ultimate gamer and want special access to the most popular video game concert in the world? How about a tour of what goes on behind the scenes by VGL Creator/Executive Producer/Host and video game legend Tommy Tallarico? Are you interested in NO WAITING special front of line access to the post-show meet & greet with the performers and special guests? How about a laminated backstage pass and V.I.P. package of exclusive merchandise? Then here’s your chance! Choose the “Ticket Plus VIP Experience” option at checkout!

RESCHEDULED: The Streisand Songbook • 11/27 -11/28

Friday, November 27, 2020 | Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News | 7:30PM
Saturday, November 28, 2020 | Harrison Opera House, Norfolk | 7:30PM

Join the Virginia Symphony as we celebrate the music of one of America’s most powerful and enduring musical artists. Singing timeless classics from five decades of Barbra Streisand’s multi-faceted career, Platinum Award Winning singer-songwriter Ann Hampton Callaway will show off her gorgeous voice with iconic hits like “The Way We Were,” “Don’t Rain on My Parade”, and “Cry Me a River.” Callaway, who was named Performer of the Year, is a master of Streisand’s style and of the American songbook. Don’t miss her stellar first performance with the VSO!

Ann Hampton Calloway, vocalist
Erin Freeman, conductor

*This program replaces the Virginia Symphony concerts originally scheduled for March 20 and 21, 2020. If you already have tickets for one of those performances, your tickets will be valid for the new dates. Patrons who have tickets for the concert originally scheduled for March 21, 2020 at Chrysler Hall will be receive new tickets in the mail.

Series Sponsors

Holiday POPS! • 12/11 – 12/13

Friday, December 11, 2020 | Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News | 7:30 PM
Saturday, December 12, 2020 | Harrison Opera House, Norfolk | 7:30 PM
Sunday, December 13, 2020 | Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia Beach | 7:00 PM

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, the inspirational voices of Virginia Symphony Orchestra Chorus, 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 2020 Holiday season together!

Holiday Brass • 12/16

Wednesday, December 16, 2020 | St. Bede Catholic Church, Williamsburg | 7:30PM

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!

Hallelujah! • 12/17 – 12/19

Thursday, December 17, 2020 | Regent University, Virginia Beach | 7:30PM
Friday, December 18, 2020 | First Baptist Church, Warwick Blvd, Newport News | 7:30PM
Saturday, December 19, 2020 | Harrison Opera House, Norfolk | 7:30PM

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. Known worldwide for its “Hallelujah Chorus,” the oratorio will be accompanied by Antonio Vivaldi’s Gloria. From its bright opening to its meditative melodies, the Gloria will bring inspiration to your holiday season!

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

Vivaldi: Gloria
Handel: Messiah Excerpts (Part I with Hallelujah Chorus)

Elliott Brothers Play Brahms • 1/22/21 – 1/24/21

Friday, January 22, 2021 | Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News | 7:30PM
Saturday, January 23, 2021 | Chrysler Hall, Norfolk | 7:30PM
Sunday, January 24, 2021 | Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia Beach | 2:30PM

Newport News natives Brendon and Sterling Elliott, each embarking on their own impressive solo careers, will make a rare joint appearance with full symphony orchestra in Brahms’ Concerto for Violin and Cello. Popular former VSO Resident Conductor Benjamin Rous, now Music Director of the Charlottesville Symphony and on faculty at the University of Virginia, returns to conduct this performance which concludes with Rachmaninoff’s final major composition, Symphonic Dances, popular for its colorful rhythms, gorgeous melodies and beautiful alto saxophone solo.

Benjamin Rous, conductor
Brendon Elliott, violin
Sterling Elliott, cello

Strauss, Jr.: Csardas from “Ritter Pasman”
Brahms: Concerto for Violin and Cello
Rachmaninoff: Symphonic Dances

Cheek to Cheek: A Broadway Romance • 2/11/2021 – 2/12/2021

Thursday, February 11, 2021 | Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News | 7:30 PM
Friday, February 12, 2021 | Chrysler Hall, Norfolk | 7:30 PM

Broadway’s Michael McCorry Rose and Tiffany Haas present their show Cheek to Cheek: A Broadway Romance, a fun and flirty musical exploration of love in the American Songbook. Soaring ballads and swinging up-tempos come to life through rarely before heard stories about what was happening in the romantic lives of composers like George and Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin and Lorenz Hart when they were writing their most famous love songs. Michael and Tiffany present brand-new arrangements of cherished classics from landmark composers and exciting new songs by some of New York’s most talented up and coming musical theater writers. Come get Cheek to Cheek with one of Broadway’s most talented duos in this exciting new show featuring popular works by Rodgers & Hammerstein, Lerner & Lowe, George and Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, Stephen Schwartz, and more.

Mendelssohn’s Hymn of Praise • 2/18/21-2/20/21, 2/28/21

Thursday, February 18, 2021 | Regent University, Virginia Beach | 7:30PM
Saturday, February 20, 2021 | CrossWalk Church, Williamsburg | 7:30PM
Sunday, February 28, 2021 | Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia Beach | 2:30PM

Rarely performed in its entirety, Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang was composed in 1840 to mark Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of printing by movable type. This inspiring work contains the popular standard hymn “Now Thank We All Our God.”

Steven Jarvi, conductor
Virginia Symphony Orchestra Chorus (Robert Shoup, chorusmaster)

Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 2 “Lobgesang”

Kishi Bashi Meets the Symphony • 3/5/21 – 3/7/21

Friday, March 5, 2021 | Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News | 7:30PM
Saturday, March 6, 2021 | Venue TBA, Norfolk | 7:30PM
Sunday, March 7, 2021 | Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia Beach | 2:30PM

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. Bairos will conduct the VSO in this full orchestra premier of the work. The program will conclude with Shostakovich’s stirring Symphony No. 10.

Jacomo Bairos, conductor
Kishi Bashi, violin

Kishi Bashi: EO 9066 (Japanese Internment)
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10

100th Anniversary Tribute • 3/11/2021 – 3/12/2021

Thursday, March 11, 2021 | Regent University, Virginia Beach | 7:30PM
Friday, March 12, 2021 | Kimball Theatre, Williamsburg | 7:30PM

Former VSO Assistant Conductor Matt Kraemer (2007-2010), known for his versatility and musical sensitivity, returns to Virginia to lead a program that includes three pieces from our inaugural concert in 1921! The superb young cellist Nick Canellakis makes his first appearance with our orchestra performing the virtuosic cello piece Dimitri Shostakovich wrote for his friend Mstislav Rostropovich.

Matthew Kraemer, conductor
Nicholas Canellakis, cello

German: Three Dances for Henry VIII
Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No. 1
Haydn: Symphony No. 100 “Military”
Grieg: Peer Gynt Suite No. 1

Hotel California: A Salute to the Eagles • 3/18/2021 – 3/19/2021

Thursday, March 18, 2021 | Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News | 7:30 PM
Friday, March 19, 2021 | Chrysler Hall, Norfolk | 7:30 PM

For more than three decades, Hotel California has blown away fans all over the world, by faithfully and accurately reproducing the Grammy Award-winning sounds of super-group The Eagles. Marvel at their spirited blend of originality and excellence – which has taken them to an unprecedented level of international recognition. This dynamic, highly acclaimed performance will show off the Eagles’ world renowned vocal harmonies, authentic instrumentation, and all their specialty instruments in a stage spectacle that will have you waving your arms and dancing in the aisles to “Hotel California,” “Take It Easy,” “Life In The Fast Lane” and more of your favorite megahits!

Brandenburg Concertos • 3/26/21 – 3/28/21

Friday, March 26, 2021 | Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News | 7:30PM
Saturday, March 27, 2021 | Harrison Opera House, Norfolk | 7:30PM
Sunday, March 28, 2021 | Sandler Center for the Performing Arts | 2:30PM

Rarely presented in a single evening, the complete Brandenburg Concertos – six baroque masterpieces – spotlight the superlative musicians of the VSO. These musical jewels showcase individual instruments in melodies immediately recognized and beloved by musicians and audiences everywhere. This extraordinary program will be led by one of America’s most revered conductor/ violinists, Cho-Liang “Jimmy” Lin, lauded all over the world and loved here in Virginia for his superb technique and leadership.

Cho-Liang Lin, conductor/violin
Members of the VSO

Bach: Brandenburg Concertos (Complete)

Tchaikovsky Spectacular • 4/23/21 – 4/24/21

Friday, April 23, 2021 | Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News | 7:30PM
Saturday, April 24, 2021 | Chrysler Hall, Norfolk | 7:30PM

After his first electrifying performances with the orchestra last fall, superstar pianist “Sasha” Gavrylyuk was immediately reengaged to perform the ultimate
Romantic piano blockbuster, Tchaikovsky’s luscious First Piano Concerto. The composer’s Symphony No. 4, a meticulously structured meditation on fate in four movements, follows with some of the most explosive brass and wind moments – a fitting finale to our celebratory season that will bring you to your feet! Former VSO Assistant Conductor “Z” Kuwahara returns from his current post at Russia’s famed Marinsky Theatre to lead the orchestra.

Shizuo “Z” Kuwahara, conductor
Alexander Gavrylyuk, piano

Tchaikovsky: Waltz from “Sleeping Beauty”
: Piano Concerto No. 1
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4

Mr. Gavrylyuk’s performance is being underwritten by Mrs. Oriana McKinnon.