Comprised of more than 70 professional musicians, the Richmond Symphony orchestra has put on stirring classical concerts since 1957, blending timeless classics with contemporary pieces for audiences of all aural preference. The Jefferson: In His Own Words performance will feature the masterwork of composer Judith Shatin, who's managed to string together an earful of crowd-moving tales through the inspiration of Thomas Jefferson's own writings, political passions, personal correspondences, and deep love for foosball. Narrated by former Governor of Virginia Gerald L. Baliles, the performance also includes works from Copland, Saint-Saëns, and Dvorák.
Pay enough attention to the career of JoAnn Falletta, and you could easily conclude she's actually twins or triplets. She's the music director of not only the Virginia Symphony Orchestra but the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, and serves as principal guest conductor of the?Phoenix Symphony, among other institutional?ties. (She's also conducted on Grammy-winning recordings for the Naxos label.) Under her baton, the VSO rotates among?Norfolk, Newport News, Williamsburg, and Virginia Beach?with traditional classical?programs, pops nights, and shorter?family concerts that open with craft activities and an instrument "petting zoo."?A "wear-what's-comfortable" dress code and pre-concert Behind the Notes talks ensure?a?decidedly inviting?atmosphere even for symphony newbies.
When visitors enter the two-story lobby of the Hylton Performing Arts Center, their eyes dart from the purple carpeting to the stately pillars—all accented by light streaming in from the windowed exterior. Inside the 85,000-square-foot events center, ballet performances unfold in the dramatically modern hall, toes tap along with cabaret shows in the intimate theater space, and exhibits by local artists and dexterous stagehands open windows to other worlds in the second-floor art gallery.
The Hershey Theatre, conceived in 1933 by noted philanthropist and chocolatier Milton S. Hershey, stands as an opulent tribute to the performing arts. Taking architectural cues from Saint Mark’s Basilica in Venice, the foyer’s towering arches gleam with golden paint and crystal chandeliers. The blue-and-gold mosaic that leads to the main seating area is the masterwork of two German artists who spent two years on its construction. Once inside the theater, audiences might think they’ve stepped onto the streets of Venice thanks to the atmospheric ceiling, stonework facades, and gondoliers paddling them to their seats. ####Bethel Woods Center for the Arts Music has permeated the 800 manicured acres where the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts has stood since 1969, when farmer Max Yasgur agreed to let love, peace, and harmony grow wild at the very first Woodstock festival. These days, the renowned outdoor venue and cultural center continues to attract the biggest acts in music to its pavilion stage. The open-air design ensures ample ventilation on the natural sloping lawn, and a roof protects up to 15,000 fans from inclement weather and the prying eyes of Cessna pilots.
When Kim Allen Kluge took over as music director of the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra in 1987, the outfit was made up of a small but enthusiastic group of community musicians. Sensing the potential of the orchestra, Kluge augmented the ensemble with freelancer virtuosos, quickly establishing the ASO as the premier professional symphony in northern Virginia. Today, the collective performs in the elegant Schlesinger Concert Hall on the Northern Virginia Community College campus, which makes for an acoustically friendly venue and a convenient base of operations for pranks on the Dean.
For almost three decades, the Lynchburg Symphony Orchestra has harnessed the melodious power of strings, horns, woodwinds, and percussion to re-create classical pieces and vivify modern works. Shows speckle the schedule throughout the year, welcoming duos for “Date Night!” performances, delighting the senses with songs by local choirs, and celebrating snowmen’s birthdays with classic holiday tunes.