HAMPTON ROADS, VIRGINIA [November 28, 2022] – The Virginia Symphony Orchestra has named Dr. Andrea F. Warren as the organization’s president and chief executive officer following an executive search process guided by Arts Consulting Group. Dr. Warren succeeds Karen Philion, who served as president and CEO from 2014 through 2022. Dr. Warren will begin her tenure December 1, 2022.
“We are incredibly thrilled to welcome Dr. Warren’s leadership of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra,” said Mike McClellan, chair of the Board of Directors for the Virginia Symphony Orchestra. “She quickly impressed the search committee with her experience and commitment to our mission. Her record of leadership in the performing arts will be an invaluable asset to the Symphony Orchestra.”
Dr. Warren makes history as the first Black woman to serve as CEO of a leading symphony orchestra in the United States and Canada, and is one of few African Americans to have ever served in an executive leadership role for an orchestra. She earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in educational leadership from Virginia Tech and is longtime community leader, educator and advocate for the arts. Her career includes 13 years of service at the Governor’s School for the Arts, where she retired as executive director in 2021. During Dr. Warren’s tenure as executive director, she helped secure and plan for the school’s permanent home on Granby Street through the renovation of a century-old building into the Perry Family Arts Center. Under Dr. Warren’s leadership, the school created and expanded programs for middle and high school students across the state, including a Visual and Performing Arts College Fair and summer camps in the areas of visual arts, vocal music and musical theatre. Prior to her time at the Governor’s School, she was an educator for 20 years in various teaching and leadership roles for Virginia Beach City Public Schools.
“The performing arts are such an integral part of my family and my life’s work, and it’s an honor to lead the region’s most celebrated musical, educational and entrepreneurial arts organization,” Dr. Warren said. “I deeply appreciate the VSO’s commitment to challenging the expectations and pushing the boundaries of what an American orchestra can be, and I’m both passionate and mindful about the important role our work plays in educating, enriching and inspiring the community through music.”
Dr. Warren is married to the Rev. Samuel Warren Jr., pastor of Hood Chapel AME Zion Church in the Berkley section of Norfolk. Rev. Warren retired in 2022 from a career in an operations leadership role in Chesapeake City Public Schools. Dr. and Rev. Warren are the proud parents of Adrienne Warren, a 2005 graduate of the musical theatre department at the Governor’s School for the Arts. Adrienne Warren is a distinguished actress, singer and dancer. In 2021, Adrienne won both the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a musical and a Drama Desk Award for her performance as the title role in Tina, the Tina Turner Musical. She made her Broadway debut in 2012’s Bring it On! The Musical and has been nominated for her performances in several Broadway shows. She also received a Special Tony Award for her work as a co-founder of the Broadway Advocacy Coalition, a group dedicated to ensuring the arts industry plays an active role against racism.