Virginia Symphony Orchestra

Williamsburg Classics Concert Series

Holiday Brass • 12/15

Friday, December 15, 2017 | 8PM |Saint Bede Catholic Church, Williamsburg

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. You’ll enjoy music from a variety of styles that make this concert one holiday delight you won’t want to miss!

Virginia Symphony Orchestra
Paul Bhasin, conductor

Mozart’s Haffner Symphony • 3/23

Friday, March 23, 2018 | 8PM | Crosswalk Community Church, Williamsburg

The final Williamsburg Classics program opens with György Ligeti’s Concert Romanesc, a modestly modern piece composed in four movements played without pause. Using elements from the Romanian folk tradition, Ligeti echoes childhood memories of Alpine horns heard in the Carpathian mountains. William Walton’s viola concerto, featuring Juilliard graduate and Chesapeake, VA native Andrew Gonzalez, is an emotionally gripping piece and is arguably the first great viola concerto of the 20th century. The performance concludes with Mozart’s Symphony No. 35. Also called the Haffner Symphony, the work has a spirited first movement that is, Mozart said, to be played with fire, followed by an unhurried, graceful second movement, a bright, atmospheric third, and ending in a fervid finale that Mozart advised be played “as fast as possible.”

  • Benjamin Rous, conductor
  • Virginia Symphony Orchestra
  • Andrew Gonzalez, viola

 

  • Mozart: Overture to Don Giovanni
  • Walton: Viola Concerto
  • Mozart: Symphony No. 35, Haffner

Benjamin Rous

Resident Conductor

Admired for his dynamism on the podium, Benjamin Rous was hired as Associate Conductor of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra in 2010 and quickly became a favorite among audiences throughout southeastern Virginia. Promoted to Resident Conductor in 2013, he took on an expanded role in the VSO’s calendar, where he performs annually on every series including Classics, Regional Classics, Pops, Young People’s Concerts, and state tours. In the summers, he pursues his love of education, serving as faculty conductor of Greenwood Music Camp in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts.

Recent guest appearances include debuts with the National Symphony, the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Hartford Symphony, and the Santa Fe Symphony. Highlights of past seasons include performances with the National Arts Centre Orchestra (Ottawa), Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, the Illinois Symphony, and on St. Louis’s Pulitzer Concerts with musicians of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. Rous was featured in the 2013 Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview with the Jacksonville Symphony, and in the summer of 2014 he was called upon by the Grant Park Festival to fill in for a delayed conductor on less than 24 hours’ notice.

An accomplished instrumentalist, Rous has concertized extensively on violin, viola, and keyboard instruments. He has served as guest principal 2nd violin with Mahler Chamber Orchestra, with whom he performed under the batons of Claudio Abbado and Daniel Harding, including European tours and a teaching residency with El Sistema students in Caracas. He was a regular member of the Boston-area Arcturus Chamber Ensemble for a decade, and has led the Virginia Symphony Orchestra from the harpsichord in baroque repertoire.

Benjamin Rous studied music at Harvard with an emphasis on composition, graduating with highest honors. His works have been performed by diverse ensembles including the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, the Greenwood Orchestra, and the Fromm Players. During his college years he served as Music Director of Harvard Bach Society Orchestra and of Lowell House Opera, studied performance practice with Robert Levin, and performed on baroque violin with the Harvard Baroque Chamber Orchestra as section leader and soloist. He went on to earn the Doctor of Musical Arts in orchestral conducting with Kenneth Kiesler at the University of Michigan, where he also studied harpsichord and pursued his interest in dance. He received further guidance in festivals and masterclasses from David Zinman, Kurt Masur, Gustav Meier, Marin Alsop, and Lorin Maazel.