Virginia Symphony Orchestra
Classics Concert Series
Friday, May 8, 2020 | Chrysler Hall, Norfolk | 8PM
Saturday, May 09, 2020 | Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News | 8PM
Sunday, May 10, 2020 | Sandler Center for the Arts, Virginia Beach | 2:30PM
Hailed by The New York Times as “an interpretive dynamo,” conductor Eric Jacobsen returns to the VSO in the new season to lead one of the 20th Century’s tour de force masterpieces – Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5. Jacobsen has built a reputation for engaging audiences with his innovative and collaborative programming, and in addition to the Shostakovich, Jacobsen will conduct the beautiful Prokofiev Violin Concerto No. 2, with violinist Alexi Kenney, a recipient of a 2016 Avery Fisher Career Grant. Kenney has been named “a talent to watch” by The New York Times, which also noted his “architect’s eye for structure and space and a tone that ranges from the achingly fragile to full-bodied robustness.”
Meet the artists and discover the orchestra experience from a new perspective during Behind the Notes, a pre-concert talk hosted by guest conductor Eric Jacobsen. These casual presentations give you a special look at the music of the day as well as the music-makers themselves. They offer an informative way to learn about the music before your orchestra experience. One hour before each Classics concert (7pm or 1:30pm). Behind the Notes is FREE to ticket holders at all venues.
Eric Jacobsen, conductor
Alexi Kenney, violin
Anna Clyne: Masquerade
Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 2
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5
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
JoAnn Falletta finishes her final season as Music Director with 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
*Please note this concert is not available for exchanges or Flex Package purchases.*
Meet the artists and discover the orchestra experience from a new perspective during Behind the Notes, a pre-concert talk hosted by Music Director JoAnn Falletta. These casual presentations give you a special look at the music of the day as well as the music-makers themselves. They offer an informative way to learn about the music before your orchestra experience. One hour before each Classics concert (7pm or 1:30pm). Behind the Notes is FREE to ticket holders at all venues.
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 VESRPI 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
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
Porter/Koechlin: Within the Quota
Ravel: Concerto in G
Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue
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
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
Brahms: Symphony No. 3
Berlioz: Roman Carnival Overture
John Adams: Saxophone Concerto
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!
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)
Handel: Messiah Excerpts (Part I with Hallelujah Chorus)
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
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”
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
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.
Mattew Kramer, 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
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)
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”
Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4
Mr. Gavrylyuk’s performance is being underwritten by Mrs. Oriana McKinnon.