HAMPTON ROADS, VA [May 14, 2018] – The Virginia Symphony Orchestra will perform Lemony Snicket’s The Composer is Dead in the final concert in the 2017-18 Peanut Butter & Jam Family Concert Series.

Inspired by Prokofiev’s Peter and the World and bearing similarities to Benjamin Britten’s The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, the composition for narrator and orchestra is a whodunnit murder mystery about the killing of a composer within an orchestra.

With text by Lemony Snicket and music by Nathaniel Stookey, the work is designed to introduce children to the instruments of an orchestra. The work was commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony and premiered on July 8, 2006.

Jeff Phelps, Music Director of the Governor’s School for the Arts Orchestra, will lead the VSO in this concert.

Jeffrey Phelps is a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music, earning degrees in both cello performance and orchestral conducting. Jeff has performed this season with the Norfolk Chamber Consort, the Virginia Symphony, Virginia Musical Theater, and chamber music recitals throughout the region.

Alexander Simpson, a junior at the Governor’s School for the Arts and Princess Anne High School in Virginia Beach, will narrate the program. Simpson has strong interest in both acting and music composition. Recent credits include GSA’s She Loves Me (Head Waiter) and Crazy for You (Wyatt), Virginia Musical Theatre’s A Christmas Carol (Peter Cratchit/Lewis Carroll), STPCS’s Godspell (Jude), and Theatrix Productions’Ragtime (Tateh). Original works: Pencil the Date (Music Supervisor).

The performance will begin at 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 20 at Sandler Center for the Performing Arts in Virginia Beach.

Pre-concert activities begin at 2 p.m. for the young and young at heart and are free to all ticket holders. Tickets are $16 for adults and $11 for children.

Tickets can be purchased by calling 757.892.6366, visiting www.virginiasymphony.org or visiting the Virginia Symphony Box Office at 150 Boush Street, Suite 201, Norfolk, VA 23510 from 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday – Friday.

The PB&J Family Concert Series is presented by Capitol Group. Partial support for this concert has been provided by the Business Consortium for Arts Support, the City of Virginia Beach, the Virginia Beach Arts and Humanities Commission, and the Virginia Commission for the Arts.


Under the leadership of GRAMMY-winning music director JoAnn Falletta, the Virginia Symphony Orchestra is Virginia’s preeminent professional symphony orchestra with a mission of inspiring, educating and connecting audiences of all ages.

Founded in 1921, it is ranked in the top ten percent of professional orchestras nationwide and serves the entire Southeastern Virginia region with Classics, Pops and Family concert series in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Newport News and Williamsburg as well as performances in outlying Virginia and North Carolina communities, reaching nearly 150,000 concert-goers every year. Additionally, the orchestra annually reaches 45,000 children, students and lifelong learners with its education and community programs. The Virginia Symphony has performed at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center and is the cornerstone of the performing arts in Hampton Roads.


May 14, 2018

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