The Harmony Project

Based on the belief that music is an excellent way to bring people together, during the 2006-2007 season, the VSO debuted the HARMONY Project. The HARMONY Project is a long-term initiative that creates reciprocal relationships between the VSO and historically Black churches in the Hampton Roads communities. The HARMONY Project is specifically designed to meet the interest of each church congregation and its worship context.

The Project encompasses three components:

  • As part of the church’s regular worship service, VSO ensembles will accompany the church’s musicians in playing the congregational hymns or other service music in addition to playing selected ensemble pieces as part of the service. Often these pieces tie into a church’s celebratory theme or liturgical calendar event.
  • VSO musicians and/or ensembles present a program to the church’s children’s/youth ministry or to its school. In these sessions young people are introduced to orchestral instruments, hear the musicians share about his/her career as a musician and experience live orchestral music in an “up close and personal” setting.
  • A Community Concert featuring VSO musicians playing in a concert setting at one of the HARMONY church venues. These concerts allow all the HARMONY Project church congregations to come together for a time of hearing beautiful music as a community.

Currently, 11 churches participate in the HARMONY Project:

Chesapeake

First Baptist South Hill

Hampton

Sixth Mt. Zion Baptist Church

Newport News

Carver Memorial Presbyterian Church
First Baptist Church Denbigh

Norfolk

Bank St. Memorial Baptist Church
Calvary Revival Church
First Baptist Church – Bute St.
Second Calvary Baptist Church

Portsmouth

St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church

Suffolk

East End Baptist Church

Virginia Beach

Union Baptist Church

VSO Guest Artist: Andrew von Oeyen

Hailed worldwide for his elegant and insightful interpretations, balanced artistry and brilliant technique, Andrew von Oeyen has established himself as one of the most captivating pianists of his generation.

Since his debut at age 16 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Esa-Pekka Salonen, Mr. von Oeyen has extended his interpretive voice to a broad spectrum of repertoire as both a soloist and recitalist. He has collaborated with such ensembles as the Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, National Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Saint Louis Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Mariinsky Orchestra, Berlin Symphony Orchestra, New Japan Philharmonic, Singapore Symphony, Grant Park Orchestra, Ravinia Festival Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony, Utah Symphony, Orchestre Symphonique de Marseille, Geneva Chamber Orchestra, Spoleto USA Orchestra, Slovenian Philharmonic and Slovak Philharmonic. As both soloist and conductor he has led concerti and orchestral works by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Ravel and Kurt Weill. On July 4, 2009, he performed at the U.S. Capitol with the National Symphony in “A Capitol Fourth,” reaching millions worldwide in the multi-award winning PBS live telecast.

‍Mr. von Oeyen has appeared in recital at Wigmore Hall and Barbican Hall in London, Lincoln Center in New York, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Boston’s Symphony Hall, Zürich’s Tonhalle, Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Hall, St. Petersburg’s Philharmonia, Dublin’s National Concert Hall, Royce Hall in Los Angeles, Herbst Theater in San Francisco, Spivey Hall in Atlanta, Sala São Paulo, Teatro Olimpico in Rome, in Mexico City, Hanoi, Macau, and in every major concert hall of Japan and South Korea. Festival appearances include Aspen, Ravinia, Grant Park, Mainly Mozart, Saratoga, Schubertiade, Spoleto, Brevard, Grand Teton, Chautauqua and the Mariinsky’s “Stars of the White Nights.”

Mr. von Oeyen has recorded for Warner Classics since 2017. His albums under that label, including works for piano and orchestra by Saint-Saëns, Ravel and Gershwin and a disc including Debussy’s Fantaisie pour Piano et Orchestre, have been met with critical acclaim. Mr. von Oeyen has also recorded award-winning recital albums of Liszt, Debussy, and Stravinsky under the Delos label.

Mr. von Oeyen, of German and Dutch origin, was born in the U.S. He began his piano studies at age 5 and made his solo orchestral debut at age 10. An alumnus of Columbia University and graduate of The Juilliard School, where his principal teachers were Herbert Stessin and Jerome Lowenthal, he also worked with Alfred Brendel and Leon Fleisher. He won the prestigious Gilmore Young Artist Award in 1999 and also took First Prize in the Léni Fé Bland Foundation National Piano Competition in 2001. Mr. von Oeyen lives in Paris and Los Angeles.