Virginia Symphony Orchestra

2020-2021 Full Concert Schedule

Songs for a Dreamer • January 2021

Stream Beginning January 18, 2021

As part of the City of Norfolk’s tribute to Martin Luther King Jr., presented in collaboration with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and HARMONY Project partner churches, the annual “Songs for a Dreamer” concert will be presented virtually this year, including welcoming remarks by Mayor Kenneth Cooper Alexander.  In addition to the traditional invocation, delivered by Pastor Robert Lee of Collinswood Agape Baptist Church, excerpts from inspiring speeches made by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will be recited by Pastor Jerome Barber of Sixth Mt. Zion Baptist Temple and Pastor Geoffrey Guns of Second Calvary Baptist Church.  A string quartet will perform “Lift Every Voice and Sing” with featured vocal soloist, Dr. Gregory Gardner of Norfolk State University; George Walker’s “Lyric for Strings;” the African American hymn, “He Looked Beyond My Faults,” and Adolphus Hailstork’s, “Adagio for Strings.”  

This year, the Dreamer Award will be presented to Beverly Kane Baker, former principal violist of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, based on her outstanding example of the King legacy relative to areas of diversity and inclusion and furthering their impact in the orchestral arena.

This shortened but powerful presentation, honoring Dr. King’s life and accomplishments, will be pre-recorded and available to the Hampton Roads community at large via the Virginia Symphony Orchestra’s YouTube Channel for 45 days beginning January 18, 2021.  The “Songs for a Dreamer” concert has been presented by the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, the HARMONY Project and the City of Norfolk since January 2012. Since its inception in the 2005-2006 season of the Orchestra, the HARMONY Project continues to serve as an example of how the power of music can bring all people together.

The HARMONY Project is one of the VSO’s longest-running education and community engagement program. It brings together the many diverse individuals and talents of our Hampton Roads community and is sustained through the generosity of our friends and partners throughout our region. You can join us in supporting the HARMONY Project by making a gift to the VSO today – click here and help advance the HARMONY Project!


Havana Nights with the Mambo Kings • 2/11/21 – 2/12/21

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

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!

Opening Celebration: The Centennial Season • 2/26/21 – 2/28/21

Friday, February 26, 2021 | Chrysler Hall | 7:30PM
Sunday, February 28, 2021 | Sandler Center for the Performing Arts | 2:30PM

From the much-loved “Pastoral” Symphony No. 6 by Beethoven to Robert Schumann’s one and only piano concerto, JoAnn Falletta has chosen a wide-ranging program of classics to show off the orchestra and soloists, including principal horn Jacob Wilder and French pianist Prisca Benoit – known for a refined pianistic touch with a wide range of colors. The Schumann concerto will be recorded for later release.

JoAnn Falletta, conductor
Jacob Wilder, horn
Prisca Benoit
, piano

Richard Strauss: Concerto No.1 in E-flat major for Horn & Orchestra, op.11
Piano Concerto
Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68 “Pastoral”

Eric Jacobsen & Elliott Brothers • 3/5/21 – 3/7/21

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

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.

Eric Jacobsen, conductor
Brendon Elliott, violin
Sterling Elliott, cello

Jessie Montgomery: Starburst
: Concerto for Violin and Cello
Jessie Montgomery: Records from a Dying City
Dvorak: Symphony No. 8

Hotel California: A Salute to the Eagles • 3/18/21 – 3/19/21

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

For decades, Hotel California has blown away fans all over the world reproducing the Grammy Award-winning sounds of the Eagles. This dynamic, highly acclaimed performance will show off the Eagles’ world-renowned vocal harmonies and authentic instrumentation in a stage spectacle that will have you dancing in the aisles!

Brandenburg Concertos • 3/25/21 – 3/30/21

Thursday, March 25, 2021 | Ferguson Center for the Arts | 7:30PM
Saturday, March 27, 2021 | Harrison Opera House | 7:30PM
Tuesday, March 30, 2021 | Sandler Center for the Performing Arts | 7:30PM

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.

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

Bach: Brandenburg Concertos (Complete)

Cheek to Cheek: A Broadway Romance • 4/2/21 – 4/3/21

Friday, April 2, 2021 | Ferguson Center for the Arts | 7:30PM
Saturday, April 3, 2021 | Chrysler Hall | 7:30PM

Broadway’s Michael McCorry Rose and Tiffany Haas present 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. Michael and Tiffany present new arrangements of classics and exciting new songs by some of New York’s talented musical theater writers.

100th Anniversary Tribute • 4/9/21 – 4/11/21

Friday, April 9, 2021 | Ferguson Center for the Arts | 7:30PM
Sunday, April 11, 2021 | Sandler Center for the Performing Arts | 7:30PM

Former VSO Assistant Conductor Matt Kraemer, known for his versatility and musical sensitivity, returns 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 by Schumann that was composed in just a short two week period.

Matthew Kraemer, conductor
Nicholas Canellakis, cello

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

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

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

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 addition to our celebratory season! Former VSO Assistant Conductor “Z” Kuwahara returns from his post at Russia’s famed Marinsky Theatre to lead the orchestra.

Shizuo “Z” Kuwahara, conductor

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

Mozart and Brahms • 4/30/21 – 5/2/21

Friday, April 30, 2021 | Ferguson Center for the Arts | 7:30PM
Sunday, May 2, 2021 | Sandler Center for the Performing Arts | 7:30PM

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 includes Brahms’ majestically beautiful Symphony No. 3. Also on the program is Mozart’s Symphony No. 36 which Mozart wrote in the score that the fourth (and final) movement should be played “as fast as possible,” and thus is a breathtaking finish to an accomplished work.

Benjamin Rous, conductor

Mozart: Symphony No. 36 in C major, K. 425 “Linz”
Kareem Roustom: Ramal
Brahms: Symphony No. 3

The Music of John Williams • 5/1/21

Saturday, May 1, 2021 | Chrysler Hall | 7:30PM

As film fans know, Williams’ music has the ability to transport audiences to new worlds through heart-pounding, awe-inspiring musical adventures. He has composed some of the most popular and recognizable film scores in the history of cinema, including Indiana Jones, Schindler’s List, Jurassic Park, and most notably Star Wars, which was selected by the American Film Institute as the greatest American film score of all time.

The Streisand Songbook • 6/2/21-6/3/21

Wed., June 2, 2021 | Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News | 8PM
Thurs., June 3, 2021 | Chrysler Hall, Norfolk | 8PM

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 of 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!

Classical Mystery Tour • 6/15/21 – 6/16/21

Tuesday, June 15, 2021 | Chrysler Hall | 7:30PM
Wednesday, June 16, 2021 | Ferguson Center for the Arts | 7:30PM

Imagine the energy and sheer thrill of hearing The Beatles performing in concert with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra. 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.”

Mozart and Beethoven • 6/23/21 – 6/25/21

Wednesday, June 23, 2021 | Sandler Center for the Performing Arts | 7:30PM
Thursday, June 24, 2021 | Chrysler Hall | 7:30 PM
Friday, June 25, 2021 | Ferguson Center for the Arts | 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. Experience the multi-talented Daniel Matsukawa, former member of the VSO and current principal bassoon of the Philadelphia Orchestra, whose 2016 appearance with the VSO received rave reviews. Matsukawa returns to conduct a program which continues the VSO’s celebration of Beethoven’s greatest symphonies.

Daniel Matsukawa, conductor
Michael Byerly, clarinet

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

Beethoven “Emporer” and Symphony No. 9 “Choral” • June 2021

Dates TBD

JoAnn Falletta brings a history-making performance celebrating Beethoven’s 250th Year, in performances presented by the Virginia Arts Festival. For these concerts, Falletta will be joined by renowned pianist Olga Kern, who will perform Beethoven’s well-known “Emperor” Concerto. Kern is the recently appointed Connie and Marc Jacobson Director of Chamber Music for the Virginia Arts Festival. Following intermission, Falletta will be joined by four soloists and full VSO Chorus for Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, the “Choral” Symphony.

JoAnn Falletta, conductor
Olga Kern, piano

Beethoven: Emperor Concerto
Beethoven: Symphony No. 9