Regent University Communications and Performing Arts Center

1000 Regent University Drive
Virginia Beach, VA 23464

Phone: (757) 226-4237
Capacity: 712
Parking: Free parking is available on the campus of Regent University directly adjacent to the performing arts center.

Click on a seating chart above to download a PDF.


Regent University Theatre offers accessible parking, entrances, restrooms and seating.

Listening assistive devices are available in both theatres. Headsets may be used with or without hearing aids and are distributed free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis.

Regent University Communications and Performing Arts Center

Upcoming Concerts at Regent University

Handel’s Messiah • 12/13

Thursday, December 13, 2018 | Regent University, Virginia Beach | 8PM

Join the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and VSO Chorus for the time-honored Christmas tradition of George Frideric Handel’s revered oratorio, Messiah. Get in the spirit of the season with this distinguished performance of Handel’s sacred masterpiece that presents the austere and dramatic narrative of the Messiah. From Isaiah’s prophecies to the Hallelujah Chorus, you will be brought to your feet in the Messiah performance of the season.

JoAnn Falletta , conductor
Virginia Symphony Orchestra Chorus
Robert Shoup , chorusmaster

Handel : Messiah

Concert Sponsor

Beethoven Symphony No. 8 • 2/1

Friday, February 1, 2019 | Regent University, Virginia Beach |  8PM

This program is centered around the concept of identity and the risks involved in being true to one’s own. Each composer in this program struggled with his own secrets. The concert opens with an overture to Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio, in which Leonore must disguise herself as a prison guard to rescue her husband. George Corbett then takes the spotlight, performing the Concertino for English Horn by Italian composer Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari. Then, Copland’s Quiet City, featuring VSO principal trumpet David Vonderheide and English horn George Corbett. This piece represents a character from the Shaw play of the same name, who abandons his heritage and dreams in exchange for his material wealth and success. The program concludes with Beethoven’s cheerful Symphony No. 8, full of joy despite his onset of deafness.

Gonzalo Farias , conductor
George Corbett, English horn
David Vonderheide, trumpet

Beethoven : Leonore Overture No. 3
Wolf-Ferrari : Concertino for English Horn
Copland : Quiet City
Beethoven : Symphony No. 8


Classics Reborn • 3/15

Friday, March 15, 2019 | Regent University, Virginia Beach | 8PM

This concert is a celebration of innovation, examining works in which each composer borrows classic forms and makes them new. The concert opens with Brahms’ Variations on a Theme of Haydn – often said to be the first independent set of variations for orchestra in the history of music. The concert then shifts to Mozart’s lovely Concerto for Flute, Harp, and Orchestra, featuring VSO principal musicians Debra Wendells Cross and Barbara Chapman. The second half opens with Puccini’s dark-hued, melodic Chrysanthemums. We close with Stravinsky’s neoclassical masterpiece, Pulcinella. This suite is from a one-act ballet with original costumes and sets designed by Pablo Picasso.

JoAnn Falletta , conductor
Debra Wendells Cross , flute
Barbara Chapman , harp

Brahms : Variations on a Theme of Haydn
Mozart : Concerto for Flute, Harp, and Orchestra K. 299
Puccini : Chrysanthemums
Stravinsky : Pulcinella Suite

Joanne Falletta, Music Director, Conductor - Virginia Symphony OrchestraJoAnn Falletta

Music Director

JoAnn Falletta is internationally celebrated as a vibrant ambassador for music, an inspiring artistic leader, and a champion of American symphonic music. An effervescent and exuberant figure on the podium, she has been praised by The Washington Post as having “Toscanini’s tight control over ensemble, Walter’s affectionate balancing of inner voices, Stokowski’s gutsy showmanship, and a controlled frenzy worthy of Bernstein.” Acclaimed by The New York Times as “one of the finest conductors of her generation”, she serves as the Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the Brevard Music Center and music advisor to the Hawaii Symphony.

Ms. Falletta is invited to guest conduct many of the world’s finest symphony orchestras. Recent guest conducting highlights include debuts in Belgrade, Gothenburg, Lima, Bogotá, Helsingborg, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, a European tour with the Stuttgart Orchestra, return engagements with the Warsaw, Detroit, Phoenix, and Krakow Symphony Orchestras and a 13 city US tour with the Irish Chamber Orchestra with James Galway.

She has guest conducted over a hundred orchestras in North America, and many of the most prominent orchestras in Europe, Asia, South America and Africa. Her North America guest conducting appearances have included the orchestras of Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Seattle, San Diego, Montreal, Toronto and the National Symphony and international appearances have included the London Symphony, Czech Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Korean Broadcast Symphony, Seoul Philharmonic, China National Symphony, Shanghai Symphony, Liverpool Philharmonic, Manchester BBC Philharmonic, Scottish BBC orchestra, Orchestra National de Lyon and Mannheim Orchestra among others. Ms. Falletta’s summer activities have taken her to numerous music festivals including Aspen, Tanglewood, the Hollywood Bowl, Wolf Trap, Mann Center, Meadow Brook, OK Mozart Festival, Grand Teton, Eastern, Peninsula and Brevard Festival.

Falletta is the recipient of many of the most prestigious conducting awards including the Seaver/National Endowment for the Arts Conductors Award, the coveted Stokowski Competition, and the Toscanini, Ditson and Bruno Walter Awards for conducting, as well as the American Symphony Orchestra League’s prestigious John S. Edwards Award. She is an ardent champion of music of our time, introducing over 500 works by American composers, including more than 110 world premieres. Hailing her as a “leading force for the music of our time”, she has been honored with twelve ASCAP awards. Ms. Falletta served as a Member of the National Council on the Arts during both the George W Bush and Obama administrations.

Under Falletta’s direction, the VSO has risen to celebrated artistic heights. The VSO, which made critically acclaimed debuts at the Kennedy Center and New York’s Carnegie Hall under Falletta and entered into their first multinational recording agreement with Naxos, performs classics, pops and family concert series in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Newport News and Williamsburg.

In addition to her current posts with the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Virginia Symphony, Brevard Music Center and Hawaii Symphony, Ms. Falletta has held the positions of principal conductor of the Ulster Orchestra, principal guest conductor of the Phoenix Symphony, music director of the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra, associate conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and music director of the Denver Chamber Orchestra.

Ms. Falletta received her undergraduate degree from the Mannes College of Music in New York and her master’s and doctorate degrees from The Juilliard School.

JoAnn Falletta on NPR | The Innovative Mosaic Of American Symphonies

Bob Shoup, Chorusmaster, Staff Conductor - Virginia Symphony OrchestraRobert Shoup

Chorusmaster/Staff Conductor

This is Robert Shoup’s 20th season as Chorus Master and Staff Conductor of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra. His national and international conducting credits include the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Breckenridge Music Festival Orchestra, ensembles from the Prague Radio Orchestra and Czech State Philharmonic, and numerous choral ensembles. He served as the Music Director of the all professional Virginia Chorale from 1997-2007.

Robert Shoup’s choruses have been described by critics as “totally enthralling” and “completely mesmerizing,” and he has spearheaded numerous collaborations that have included music, dance and visual arts. His ensembles have been featured on numerous recordings, including two discs with the VSO for the Naxos label (Hailstork and Stravinsky). He served as Assistant Music Director for the Virginia Symphony and Virginia Arts Festival’s highly acclaimed production of the Leonard Bernstein “Mass” and coordinated the collaborating choruses for 2012 performances and recording of Mahler’s Eighth symphony known as the “Symphony of a Thousand.”

His achievements include the creation and coordination of “American Voices”, a two-week-long festival of American choral music with the Virginia Chorale and the VSO. The project earned one of seven major National Endowment for the Arts “American Masterpieces: Choral Music” grants. Shoup also prepared a nationally recruited choir of over 1,800 singers for the 400th Anniversary celebration of Jamestown.

Mr. Shoup is also a singer whom the Pittsburgh Post Gazette called Shoup “an especially fine tenor.” His vocal performances have included the role of John Adams in the world premiere performance of Adolphus Hailstork’s Crispus Attucks, and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Fort Collins (CO) Symphony. Mr. Shoup is the founding Artistic Director of CREATOrS, Inc., for which he is composing the score for a major theatrical project related to a true story in sub-Saharan Africa.

Shoup holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education (voice) from Duquesne University, and a Master’s degree in Conducting in the studio of Grammy-winning conductor Robert Page at Carnegie Mellon University.


George Frideric Handel was born February 23, 1685, Halle, Brandenburg (Germany) as the son of a prolific barber-surgeon. Handel longed to study music, but his father objected, doubting that music would be a realistic source of income. In fact, his father would not even permit him to own a musical instrument. His mother, however, was supportive, and she encouraged him to develop his musical talent. With her cooperation, Handel took to practicing on the sly. When Handel was still a young boy, he had the opportunity to play the organ for the duke’s court in Weissenfels. It was there that Handel met composer and organist Frideric Wilhelm Zachow. Zachow was impressed with Handel’s potential and invited Handel to become his pupil. He showed a marked gift for music and became a pupil in Halle of the composer Friedrich W. Zachow, learning the principles of keyboard performance and composition from him.

Despite his dedication to his music, at his father’s insistence, Handel initially agreed to study law at the University of Halle. Not surprisingly, he did not remain enrolled for long. His passion for music would not be suppressed. In 1703, when Handel was 18 years old, he decided to commit himself completely to music, accepting a violinist’s position at the Hamburg Opera’s Goose Market Theater. He also took over some of the duties of harpsichordist, and early in 1705 he presided over the premiere in Hamburg of his first opera, Almira. Handel spent the years 1706–10 traveling in Italy, where he met many of the greatest Italian musicians of the day, including Arcangelo Corelli and Alessandro Scarlatti and his son Domenico. Handel’s years in Italy greatly influenced the development of his musical style. His fame had spread throughout Italy, and his mastery of the Italian opera style now made him an international figure.

This German-born English composer of the late Baroque era noted particularly for his operas, oratorios, and instrumental compositions. He wrote the most famous of all oratorios, Messiah (1741), and is also known for such occasional pieces as Water Music (1717) and Music for the Royal Fireworks (1749). He composed many works in Italy, including two operas, numerous Italian solo cantatas (vocal compositions), Il trionfo del tempo e del disinganno (1707) and another oratorio, the serenata Aci, Galatea e Polifemo (1708), and some Roman Catholic church music.

George Frideric Handel died April 14 1759 in London, England as one of the Baroque era's greatest composers, led a passionate, eventful and occasionally tragic life.

VSO Performances
The Virginia Symphony will perform Handel’s Messiah in the Classics season during a performance of the same name, and the Regent University Classics season during Hallelujah.

An engaging orchestral conductor, award-winning pianist and passionate educator, Gonzalo Farias, has been recently appointed Assistant Conductor of the Virginia Symphony. Under the guidance of JoAnn Falleta, Mr. Farias’ ambition is to establish music-making as a way of rethinking our place in society by cultivating respect, trust, and cooperation among all people in the community.

He is the Associate Conductor of the Occasional Symphony in Baltimore and was the recipient of the prestigious Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Conducting Fellowship in 2016 and 2017. Mentored by Marin Alsop, he assisted conductors Robert Spano, Bernard Labadie, Markus Stenz, Christoph König, Johannes Debus, Lahav Shani, among others; he has worked with instrumentalists like Hélène Grimaud, Vadim Gluzman, Johannes Moser, André Watts, and composers Christopher Theofinidis, Anna Clyne, Jonathan Leshnoff, Christopher Rouse, among many others.

As Music Director of the Joliet Symphony Orchestra Farias transformed the city of Joliet embracing the Hispanic residents of the greater Chicago area with pre-concert lectures, free tickets, Latin-based repertoire, and a unique side-by-side Spanish/English narration of Bizet’s Carmen.

During the summer, Mr. Farias has worked closely with Jaap Van Zweden and Johannes Schlaefli in the Gstaad Menuhin Festival in Switzerland as well as with Neeme and Paavo Järvi at the Pärnu Music Festival. In the United States, he was the recipient of the prestigious Bruno Walter Conducting Scholarship twice at the Cabrillo Music Festival and named “Emergent Conductor” by Victor Yampolsky at the Peninsula Music Festival. He attended also the Pierre Monteux Festival where he received the Bernard Osher Scholar Prize.

Out of 566 applicants and 78 countries, he was recently chosen one of 24 finalists in the prestigious 2018 Malko Conducting Competition with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra. Hailed by the Gramophone magazine critics, Mr. Farias offered one the “most fluent, honest, open hearted and pointed performances.”. He has conducting experience with orchestras including Charlotte Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Zagreb Philharmonic, National Symphony of Chile, among others.

Mr. Farias was born in Santiago de Chile, where he began his piano studies at age five. He earned his bachelor’s degree at the P.C. University of Chile, and then continued his graduate studies at the New England Conservatory as a full-scholarship student of Wha-Kyung Byun and Russell Sherman. He has won first prize at the Claudio Arrau International Piano Competition and prizes at the Maria Canals and Luis Sigall Piano Competitions. As a conductor, Mr. Farias attended the University of Illinois working with Donald Schleicher and the Peabody Conservatory with Marin Alsop.

Besides having a fond love for piano, chamber, and contemporary music, Mr. Farias is passionate reader of second-order cybernetics as a way to help understand how complex social systems organize, coordinate and interconnect with one another. This includes the interdependent and recursive nature of musical experiences, in which performers and audiences alike interact and respond to each other. In addition to that, he has a warm affection for Zen Buddhism, which he has practiced for many years.

George Corbett, English horn

George Corbett traverses the eastern United States and beyond to meet the demands for his services as oboist, English hornist and clinician. As English hornist and oboist, Mr. Corbett debuted with the Virginia Symphony, under the baton of JoAnn Falletta, in the fall of 1999 and currently maintains this position.

Previously, he has held positions as principal oboist with Concerto Soloists Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia and Riverside Symphonia in addition to being English hornist with the Harrisburg Symphony. Mr. Corbett’s career has taken him abroad to Germany, Austria, Hungary, Poland, Japan and most recently the Dominican Republic, where he represented the Virginia Symphony in the international ensemble in residence at the Santo Domingo Music Festival under the baton of Phillippe Entremont. Included amongst the ensembles that he has recorded with are the Virginia Symphony, Santo Domingo Music Festival and Eastman Wind Ensemble.

In addition to being a symphonic musician, Mr. Corbett is also an active soloist, recitalist and chamber musician. In concert with keyboardist Tom Marshall, the Washington Post heralds their performance as a model of elegant restraint and level headed shaping. Solo performances with Concerto Soloists include Mozart’s Symphonia Concertante for Winds, J. S. Bach’s Double Concerto for Oboe and Violin, Vivaldi’s Concerto for Two Oboes in d minor, and the world premiere of Arthur Cunningham’s Adagio for Oboe and Strings. With Riverside Symphonia he was a featured soloist for Franciax’s L’horloge de flore and Marcello’s Oboe Concerto in c minor. The Virginia Symphony presented him to perform three selections: Debussy’s Rhapsodie and Donizetti’s Concertino for English Horn as well as the recent world premier of Kenneth Fuch’s Eventide for English Horn, Strings and Percussion. His playing has been highlighted by the Virginia Gazette as “marked (with) expression and feeling, superbly displaying his rich tone, musicianship, virtuoso skills and sensitivity.”

A graduate of Eastman School of Music New England Conservatory, Mr. Corbett has been on faculties of notable schools such as Lehigh University (Pennsylvania), Moravian College and Music Institute (Pennsylvania), and has appeared during the summers at Kinhaven Music School (Vermont), Summertrios (New York), Music at Gretna (Pennsylvania) and the American Institute of Musical Studies (Austria). He began playing oboe in the 8th grade under the instruction of Judith Famous, sitting next to her in the Susquehanna Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Sheldon. Amongst his instructors were James Ostryniec, Peggy Pearson, John Mack, Richard Kilmer, Al Genovese, Jonathan Blumenfeld and Keith Underwood, to name a few.

Intensive studies in yoga and breathwork have led Mr. Corbett to teach workshops for professional and amateur performers alike in developing a higher level of body awareness, especially of the breathing mechanism, for performance enhancement and injury prevention. During the summers he hosts OBOE HOLIDAY, a camp for young oboists in teaching all aspects of oboe performance. He currently resides in Norfolk, Virginia.


David Vonderheide, trumpet

A native of Madison, Indiana, David Vonderheide began trumpet studies at the age of twelve. After studying with John Rommel, former Principal Trumpet with the Louisville Orchestra and current Indiana University professor of trumpet in Louisville, KY, he was admitted to Northwestern University in the prestigious studio of Vincent Chicowicz, former Second Trumpet of the Chicago Symphony. It was there that he received his Bachelor of Music in 1996.

David joined the Virginia Symphony in 1998 as Second Trumpet, a position he held until 2009 when he stepped into the role of Principal Trumpet. As principal he can be heard in the VSO’s most recent recordings, The Music of Adolphus Hailstork, and on Mahler’s Eighth Symphony on the Naxos label. With the VSO, he has been featured several times as a soloist, including a performance of Haydn Trumpet Concerto during the 2012-2013 season.

As a teacher, he has been on the faculties of Christopher Newport University and The College of William and Mary. At W&M he has had occasion to appear as a faculty guest soloist with several ensembles. In 2012 he performed the world premier performance of Brian Hulse’s Margins, Afterwards, a piece for solo trumpet and chorus. This work was re-imagined as a piece for trumpet, organ and percussion which David recorded in 2013. Along with another Hulse composition to be recorded in the spring of 2014, these works will be featured on a cd for national release. He is also scheduled to be the featured soloist on the Wind Ensemble’s tour of China with a preceding performance in the Kennedy Center in the spring of 2015.

In 2012, he won the job of Interim Principal Trumpet of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra for the 2012-2013 season. While in the ASO, David had a prominent role in many concerts, and received consistently favorable reviews, including their performance in Carnegie Hall, October 2012, where David was mentioned by name in a positive review for his many solos in Copland’s Appalachian Spring and Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast. While in Atlanta, David took part in two exciting recording projects. He performed on the ASO’s latest CD featuring the music of Sibelius, and recorded commercial music for Coca-Cola.

Recently, David has been asked to contribute to a series of books about the teaching philosophy of his teacher Vincent Chicowicz. As one of his prominent former students, David has written segments for the books and recorded material for a companion CD recording.

Proven to be an in-demand player, David has been a candidate for several Orchestral Principal chairs, He has also played as a substitute musician in some of the country’s best orchestras and has performed in festivals in the US, Asia and Europe.

He currently resides in Portsmouth, Va. with his wife, Virginia Symphony violinist Elizabeth Vonderheide.

Ludwig van Beethoven was born December 1770, as the eldest surviving child of Johann and Maria Magdalena van Beethoven. Both his father and grandfather were singers, and his brother had success with the piano. Having observed in his eldest son the signs of a child talent, Johann tried to make Ludwig a child prodigy like his brother, but did not succeed. It was not until his adolescence that Beethoven began to attract mild attention.

Other than his father, Ludwig Van Beethoven has several other teachers that included Gilles Van Den Eeden who worked at the court as an organist, Tobias Friedrich Pfeiffer who was a good friend to the family and taught Ludwig all about the keyboard, and Franz Rovantini who was a relative that instructed Ludwig on how to play the violin and the viola. All these teachers did well in giving his good ground to start his musical journey as a young talented kid. Other than them, he also had training by some of the best musicians in that time. He was a ground-breaker, in all senses. He oversaw the transition of music from the Classical style, full of poise and balance, to the Romantic style, characterised by emotion and impact.

Widely regarded as the greatest composer who ever lived, Ludwig van Beethoven dominates a period of musical history as no one else before or since. Rooted in the Classical traditions of Joseph Haydn and Mozart, his art reaches out to encompass the new spirit of humanism and incipient nationalism.

Beethoven died March 26, 1827 in Austria. This German composer, was the predominant musical figure in the transitional period between the Classical and Romantic eras who changed music forever. He reinvented the symphony, reshaped string quartets, and redefined piano sonatas.

VSO Performances
The Virginia Symphony will perform Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 in the Classics season during a performance of the same name, and Leonore Overture No. 3 and Symphony No. 8 in the Williamsburg and Regent University Classics season during Beethoven Symphony No. 8.

Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari was born January 12, 1876, as Hermann Friedrich Wolf an Italian-German, not easily categorized. He decided to emphasize this dichotomy with the double-barreled surname, adding to that of his father, the painter August Wolf, that of his mother, Emilia Ferrari, a Venetian noblewoman. He took music lessons as a young boy, and showed promise for composing. Deeply moved by the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, he breaks off his study of art and passes the entrance examination at the “Royal Academy of Music” in Munich. There he studies under the teacher of counterpoint Joseph Rheinberger. At the age of 18, under the stage name of Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari, he conducts the world premiere of his “Serenade for Strings” as part of a student concert.

Wolf-Ferrari is undoubtedly a composer who looks to the past, fondly and with elegance, in an age when innovation, progress, rebellion but also drama and crudeness are the currency in use, and tradition is seen as an enemy to root-out. Wolf-Ferrari is not Neoclassical, he does not echo the past through a filter of modernism or parody (Stravinsky, Hindemith or the Classic Symphony of Prokofiev) rather he immerses himself completely, to create a continuity with Mozart or Rossini, who for him embody universal, timeless values, whilst in Italy Mascagni’s Verismo or the psychological theatre of Puccini hold the stage. He was influenced by the realistic, or verismo, style of Pietro Mascagni. He also composed chamber, instrumental, and orchestral works and a violin concerto.

His humor, however, was Germanic rather than Italian, and most of his works were produced in Germany. His most successful comic operas, I quattro rusteghi (1906; The School for Fathers) and Il segreto di Susanna (1909; The Secret of Susanne), presented 18th-century styles orchestrated in the manner of the 20th century. Comic points in these operas are delicately underlined. In Sly (1927; based on the opening scenes of The Taming of the Shrew) and in his only tragic opera, I gioielli della Madonna (1911; The Jewels of the Madonna)

Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari died January 21, 1948. He was an important Italian composer of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries

VSO Performance
The Virginia Symphony will perform Wolf-Ferrari’s Concertino for English Horn in the Williamsburg and Regent University Classics season during performances of Beethoven Symphony No. 8.

Aaron Copland was born November 14, 1900 in Brooklyn, as the youngest of five children (his siblings Ralph, Leon, Laurine, and Josephine Copland). Copland and his siblings were the children of Russian-Jewish immigrants. He attended public schools in his hometown of Brooklyn. An older sister taught him to play the piano, and he started to make up songs on the piano at age nine. By the time he was fifteen, he had decided to become a composer. As a first step Copland tried to learn harmony through a correspondence course. Haltingly and in an environment not particularly conducive to art, he struggled toward his goal.

At 20 years old Copland opted to continue his studies in Fontainebleau, France, where he received tutelage from the famed Nadia Boulanger. Having been asked by Boulanger to write an organ concerto, Copland eventually debuted Symphony for Organ and Orchestra on January 11, 1925 with the New York Symphony Society under Walter Damrosch. The decade that followed saw the production of the scores that would spread Copland's fame throughout the world. He was concerned with crafting sounds that would be seen as “American” in its scope, incorporating a range of styles in his work that included jazz and folk and connections to Latin America.

Some of his most well-known pieces include Piano Variations (1930), The Dance Symphony (1930), El Salon Mexico (1935), A Lincoln Portrait (1942) and Fanfare for the Common Man (1942). Copland later composed the music to Martha Graham’s 1944 dance Appalachian Spring. The following year Copland won the Pulitzer Prize for the piece. Having received an array of accolades in his later years, the iconic composer had also worked with Vivian Perlis on a two-volume autobiography, Copland: 1900 Through 1942 (1984) and Copland Since 1943 (1989). A well-received, lengthy biography on his life was published in 1999—Aaron Copland: The Life & Work of an Uncommon Man, by Howard Pollack.

Copland died December 2, 1990, in North Tarrytown [now Sleepy Hollow], New York, as an American composer who achieved a distinctive musical characterization of American themes in an expressive modern style.

VSO Performances
The Virginia Symphony will perform Copland’s Quiet City in the Williamsburg and Regent University Classics season during performances of Beethoven Symphony No. 8.

Debra Wendells Cross, Principal Flute

Debra Wendells Cross has held the position of Principal Flute in the Virginia Symphony and Virginia Opera, and made Norfolk her home since 1980.  The Seattle native graduated with honors from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where she studied with Boston Symphony member James Pappoutsakis.  From there she went on to study with Michel Debost in Paris, France under the auspices of the Harriet Hale Woolly Scholarship.

Ms. Cross serves on the faculty of Old Dominion University, and for many summers was Principal Flutist of the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, North Carolina. She spent the 2004-2005 season as interim Principal Flutist of the Buffalo Philharmonic. She has participated in many other festivals including Tanglewood, the Colorado Philharmonic, the Music Academy of the West, the Skaneateles Festival, and the Virginia Arts Festival. She is a founding member of The Virginia Chamber Players, a chamber music group that has released several recordings of the works of American composers, and has been broadcast on NPR's Performance Today.

With the Virginia Symphony's Principal Harpist, Barbara Chapman, she recorded American Mosaics for Flute and Harp, a Christmas CD entitled Love’s Pure Light, and a lullaby CD called Dream Sweet Dreams.  She can also be heard with JoAnn Falletta and Robert Allemany on a two recordings of chamber music entitled Schubert’s Guitar and Borrowed Treasures, and with the Miami String Quartet on a Musical Heritage Society recording of two Mozart Quartets. Her solo appearances with the Virginia Symphony include Mozart's Concerto in G, Mozart's Flute and Harp Concerto, the Faure Fantasy, Halil by Leonard Bernstein, and the Flute Concertos of Carl Nielsen, and Lowell Lieberman.

Ms. Cross is interested in musical research and has prepared several concerts of historical significance including a program called American Flute Music of the 1920's for the National Flute Association, and a chamber concert of American composers for the Jamestown 2007 Celebration. Debbie's other interests include yoga, and her Labrador Retrievers, Rusty and Charlie whom she enters in dog sports trials, and takes on pet therapy visits to nursing homes and schools. She is married to Virginia Symphony Principal Percussionist and Virginia Arts Festival Director, Robert W. Cross.

Barbara Chapman, Principal Harp

Barbara Chapman has held the position of Principal Harp for the Virginia Symphony since 1988. She has performed with the Virginia Opera since 1986 and performs regularly on the Chamber Music and Organ Swell series of the Virginia Arts Festival.  An active recitalist, she has performed on the Virginia Wesleyan and Old Dominion University Recital series, the Vocal Arts and Music Festival of Virginia Tech and as guest artist with the Virginia Chorale and the Virginia Children’s Chorus. Barbara has held the position of Principal Harp with the Glimmerglass Opera of NY, New York Grand Opera and toured the United States with the American Harp Society’s Concert Artist Program. She has performed with numerous musical theatre productions in the New York City metropolitan area and was harpist for the long-running original New York production of “The Fantasticks”.

A founding member of the Virginia Chamber Players, Ms. Chapman has performed with Catherine Cho, Paul Neubauer, Richard Stoltzman, as well as commissioned, premiered and recorded chamber music by composer, Adolphus Hailstork.  With flutist Debra Wendells Cross, she has concertized extensively, recorded 4 compact discs and has been broadcast nationally on NPR’s Performance Today.  

Ms. Chapman maintains a small private teaching studio. She has served on the faculty of The College of William and Mary and has led workshops at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and the Eastman School of Music, New York. A graduate of St. Olaf College in her home state of Minnesota, Ms. Chapman studied with Anne Adams in San Francisco and Kathleen Bride in New York City. Ms. Chapman lives in Norfolk with her husband Jonathan Miller.

Johannes Brahms was born May 7, 1833 in Hamburg, Germany. His father, Johann Jakob Brahms, was an innkeeper and a double bass musician with moderate ability. He taught his son violin and piano at an early age, and later hired Otto Cossel to tutor his sons growing piano skills. At just six years old, created his own style and method of writing music to achieve the melodies he composed. He played his first private concert at age ten.

To help his family with tight finances, Brahms gave lessons and performed at local pubs, streets, and dance halls. The constant work strained his mental and physical health, so he took an opportunity for rest by conducting a small, male choir for whom he gave his first choral compositions. He enjoyed a steady success, but after failing to achieve the recognition for his works, he returned to his hometown to continue giving inexpensive lessons and performances. 

Brahms made his name as an accomplished musician, despite wanting to compose full time. He met violinist Reményi, and they went on several successful concert tours. During which, the two acquired several introductions through violinist Joachim. Franz Liszt was highly impressed with Brahms compositions, but Brahms declined the invitation to join Liszt’s group because he disliked Liszt’s music. Reményi sent a letter to composer Schumann, praising Johannes Brahms. Schumann and Brahms enjoyed a strong friendship with each other, and Brahms stayed with the Schumann’s during the middle part of his life and career. Brahms insisted on performing his own pieces, rather than the music of any other historical or modern composer of the day.

Stubborn and uncompromising, Brahms was wholly committed to his craft. Unfortunately, he would destroy pieces he deemed unworthy, including some 20 string quartets. Even though he was a perfectionist, he never gave up on composing. Brahms wrote four Symphonies, each massive in structure and the result of long periods of work and many revisions. In addition, Brahms completed two serenades, and several other orchestral works. Many of Brahms orchestral music contains its own unique charm and enjoy enormous popularity. Brahms composed a large number of other musical pieces during his lifetime. Some two dozen pieces of chamber music has captured the attentions of musicians around the world. The composer always showed particular talent for the piano and for the compositions of variations. One such Variations on a Theme by Handel, made his name in Vienna.
After doctors discovered Johannes Brahms had cancer of the liver, his health quickly began declining. His last performance was in March, 1896 in Vienna. He died a month later, on April 3, 1897.

VSO Performances
The Virginia Symphony will be performing Brahms’ Academic Festival Overture in the Classics season during Pictures at an Exhibition, and Variations on Theme of Haydn in the Williamsburg and Regent University Classics season during performances of Classics Reborn.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born January 27 1756. Mozart was born in Salzburg to a musical family. From an early age, the young Mozart showed all the signs of a prodigious musical talent. By the age of five he could read and write music, and he would entertain people with his talents on the keyboard. By the age of six he was writing his first compositions. During his childhood, he would frequently tour various palaces around Europe playing for distinguished guests. Aged 17, he accepted a post as a court musician in Salzburg; although this did not suit him very well, the next few years were a time of prolific composition. In Vienna, he became well known and was often in demand as a composer and performer.

Mozart was generally considered to be a rare musical genius, although he was also diligent in studying other great composers such as Haydn and Bach. He composed over 600 works, including some of the most famous and loved pieces of symphonic, chamber, operatic, and choral music. In London Mozart met, among others, Johann Christian Bach, Johann Sebastian Bach’s youngest son and a leading figure in the city’s musical life, and under his influence Mozart composed his first symphonies—three survive (K 16, K 19, and K 19a—K signifying the work’s place in the catalog of Ludwig von Köchel).

Two more followed during a stay in The Hague on the return journey (K 22 and K 45a). Perhaps his best-admired work is in opera, the piano concerto, sonata, the symphony, the string quartet, and string quintet. Mozart also wrote many pieces for solo piano, other forms of chamber music, masses and other religious music, and numerous dances, divertimentos, and other forms of light entertainment.

Mozart died December 5 1791, he was one of the most influential, popular and prolific composers of the classical period.

VSO Performance
The Virginia Symphony will perform Mozart’s Symphony No. 39, Sinfonia Concertante, and Overture to The Magic Flute in the Classics season during A Mozart Celebration, and Mozart’s Concerto for Flute, Harp, and Orchestra in the Williamsburg and Regent University Classics seasons during Classics Reborn.

Puccini was the last descendant of a family that for two centuries had provided the musical directors of the Cathedral of San Martino in Lucca. Puccini initially dedicated himself to music, therefore, not as a personal vocation but as a family profession. He first studied music with two of his father’s former pupils, and he played the organ in small local churches. A performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida, which he saw in Pisa in 1876, convinced him that his true vocation was opera. In the autumn of 1880 he went to study at the Milan Conservatory, where his principal teachers were Antonio Bazzini, a famous violinist and composer of chamber music, and Amilcare Ponchielli, the composer of the opera La gioconda.

Puccini’s conception of diatonic melody is rooted in the tradition of 19th-century Italian opera, but his harmonic and orchestral style indicate that he was also aware of contemporary developments, notably the work of the Impressionists and of Stravinsky. Though he allowed the orchestra a more active role, he upheld the traditional vocal style of Italian opera, in which the singers carry the burden of the music. After the death of both parents, Puccini fled his life with a married woman, Elvira. He spent many years secluded away until her husband died. During this time, a son was born. This home was to become Puccini’s refuge from life, and he remained there until three years before his death, when he moved to Viareggio. However, living with Elvira proved difficult. Tempestuous rather than compliant, she was justifiably jealous and was not an ideal companion. Puccini was always interested in contemporary operatic compositions, Puccini studied the works of Claude Debussy, Richard Strauss, Arnold Schoenberg, and Igor Stravinsky.

From this study emerged Il trittico (The Triptych; New York City, 1918), three stylistically individual one-act operas—the melodramatic Il tabarro (The Cloak), the sentimental Suor Angelica, and the comic Gianni Schicchi. His last opera, based on the fable of Turandot as told in the play Turandot by the 18th-century Italian dramatist Carlo Gozzi, is the only Italian opera in the Impressionistic style. Puccini did not complete Turandot, unable to write a final grand duet on the triumphant love between Turandot and Calaf. Suffering from cancer of the throat, he was ordered to Brussels for surgery, and a few days afterward he died with the incomplete score of Turandot in his hands.

Puccini died November 29, 1924, Brussels, Belgium. The Italian composer, was one of the greatest exponents of operatic realism, who virtually brought the history of Italian opera to an end. His mature operas include La Bohème (1896), Tosca (1900), Madama Butterfly (1904), and Turandot, left incomplete.

VSO Performance
The Virginia Symphony will perform Puccini’s Chrysanthemums in the Williamsburg and Regent University Classics seasons during Classics Reborn.

Igor Stravinsky was born on June 17, 1882, in Oranienbaum, Russia. He was raised in St. Petersburg by his father, a bass singer named Fyodor, and his mother, Anna, a talented pianist. Not wanting Stravinsky to follow in their footsteps, his parents persuaded him to study law after he graduated from secondary school. However, after enrolling at the University of Saint Petersburg, Stravinsky became friendly with a classmate named Vladimir Rimsky-Korsakov, whose father, Nikolai, was a celebrated composer. Stravinksy soon became Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's pupil, as he was granted the freedom to pursue his artistic career upon the death of his father in 1902.

In 1909, the founder of the Ballets Russes, Sergei Diaghilev, invited Stravinsky to orchestrate a couple of Chopin works for his ballet Les Sylphides. That, in turn, led to the commission of The Firebird; a collaboration with choreographer Michel Fokine, the ballet turned Stravinsky into a household name upon its premiere in Paris in June 1910. The outbreak of World War I forced Stravinsky to flee Russia with his family and settle in Switzerland. He dealt with his homesickness by using Russian folklore as inspiration for his work, while other compositions from this time exhibited a jazz influence.

He rose to fame in the early 1900s for his compositions for the Ballets Russes, including the controversial The Rite of Spring. Stravinsky brought his family to Switzerland and then France, continuing his output with such works as Renard and Persephone. In 1920 Stravinsky moved his family to France, where they lived for the next two decades. During that time, his notable works included a comic opera, Mavra (1922), an opera-oratorio Oedipus Rex (1927) and the "white" ballet Apollon Musagète (1928). He continued his prolific output into the 1930s, composing such works as Symphony of Psalms, Persephone, Jeu de Cartes and Concerto in E-flat. After moving to the United States in 1939, he completed his famed Symphony in C and became an American citizen. He delivered a series of lectures at Harvard University, and in 1940 he married artist and designer Vera de Bossett. Stravinsky was nearly arrested for his rearrangement of the national anthem during a performance in Boston in 1944, but otherwise he found a welcome reception in his new country.

Stravinsky died in New York City on April 6, 1971, with more than 100 works to his name. A Russian-born composer whose work had a revolutionary impact on musical thought and sensibility just before and after World War I, and whose compositions remained a touchstone of modernism for much of his long working life.

VSO Performance
The Virginia Symphony will perform Stravinsky’s Pulcinella Suite in the Williamsburg and Regent University Classics seasons during Classics Reborn.