January 18, 2018

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HAMPTON ROADS, VA [Jan. 18, 2018] – The Virginia Symphony Orchestra (VSO) announced today its programs for the 2018-2019 Classics season. In what will be its 98th season—and conductor JoAnn Falletta’s 28th season as Music Director—the VSO brings eight weeks of classical-subscription programs to venues in Norfolk, Newport News, and Virginia Beach.

“The 18-19 season presents a palette of extraordinary depth and color- featuring favorites and exciting discoveries that will delight every music lover,” stated Music Director JoAnn Falletta.  “From a new violin concerto by Danny Elfman (the composer of the music in many critically acclaimed movies) to the perennial favorite, Ravel's sensuous Boléro, the VSO has created a season to celebrate!”

The season opens with a stroll through Victor Hartmann’s memorial exhibition. Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, arguably his most famous and most popular work, takes us on a tour of his late friend’s work. The program opens with Brahms’ triumphant Academic Festival Overture before world-class violinist Sandy Cameron joins the VSO for film composer Danny Elfman’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, recently premiered in June 2017 with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra.

Building on the momentum of our opening night, JoAnn Falletta and the VSO return for Ravel’s most famous work, Boléro. This melodic, whimsical work - originally composed as a ballet - is a perfect example of Ravel’s preoccupation with restyling and reinventing dance movements. The program begins with the Fourth Piano Concerto by Canadian composer André Mathieu, played by guest artist Alain Lefèvre, who worked with conductor and composer Gilles Bellemare to reconstruct the composition that was lost for 70 years. At the height of the concert is Poulenc’s most celebrated work, Gloria.

With winter upon us, we usher in the season in a program featuring an homage to winter featuring Glazunov’s picturesque Winter from The Seasons. Acclaimed cellist Julian Schwarz returns with Tchaikovsky’s delightful Rococo Variations. The VSO then takes a trip north to Finland for Sibelius’s evocative Fifth Symphony. We close with a rare treat on the concert stage, the climactic Pas de Deux from Tchaikovsky’s beloved Nutcracker.

During the holiday season, we return with 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.

In January, we start of 2019 with one of Beethoven’s best works. Composed while catching up on his health in the Bohemian spa town of Teplice, Czech Republic, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 gained instant popularity for its second movement, Allegretto, which was encored at the premiere in which Beethoven conducted. To open the program, the VSO is joined by soloist Sirena Huang for Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, the largest orchestral work by the composer. 

In March, guest artist Jeffrey Biegel joins the VSO for one of the most loved concertos of all time, Grieg’s Piano Concerto. This concerto is among Grieg’s earliest important works and the only concerto the composer completed. Written in just a month in the summer of 1944, Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5 was intended to be “a hymn to free and happy Man, to his mighty powers, his pure and noble spirit.” This triumphant and electrifying composition has remained one of his most popular works.

Later in the month, guest conductor Scott Yoo, Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Mexico City Philharmonic, takes the helm of this magnificent Mozart program.  Symphony No. 49 is the first of a set of three symphonies, the last of the symphonies he composed. It’s opening is “so majestic that it so surprised even the coldest, most insensitive listener.” The program opens with the Overture to The Magic Flute before Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante, a work that blends symphony with concerto in this small-ensemble masterpiece. With its rich harmonies and incandescent themes, the work has inspired arrangers and composers for centuries. This beautiful concertante, the only surviving complete work of its kind, features principal musicians of the VSO.

In April, join the VSO for a Night at the Movies! From the composer of the score of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Tan Dun’s Pipa Concerto features a first for local audiences. The pipa is a traditional Chinese four-stringed instrument and soloist Wu Man is one of the world’s leading performers, having worked with Yo Yo Ma and the Silk Road ensemble. John Williams hauntingly beautiful music from Steven Spielberg's 1977 film Close Encounters of the Third Kind will be one of the many film scores to be featured.

Finally, the 2018-2018 Classics Season comes to a close with one of the greatest symphonies of all time. Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, among his most popular and successful works during his lifetime, demonstrates his ideas of beauty in the afterlife and in resurrection. Characteristic of Mahler, the symphony is written for large orchestra and runs the gamut of emotions in the contemplation of life and death. 

Subscriptions are available in packages for all eight concerts in Newport News, Norfolk and Virginia Beach and range in price from $176 to $765. Subscriptions and individual tickets are available by calling Patron Services at 757.892.6366 or visiting As always, subscribers receive the greatest savings and benefits.

About JoAnn Falletta

JoAnn Fallettais internationally celebrated as a vibrant ambassador for music, an inspiring artistic leader, and a champion of American symphonic music. 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 Virginia Symphony Orchestra and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the Brevard Music Center. 

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.

Under her direction, the VSO has risen to celebrated artistic heights and is ranked in the top ten percent of professional orchestras nationwide. The VSO, which made critically acclaimed debuts at the Kennedy Center and New York’s Carnegie Hall under Falletta, entered into their first multinational recording agreement with Naxos. During the 2015-2016, the Orchestra recorded three discs for the Naxos label; Mahler (arr. Schoenberg) The Song of the Earth, The Songs of a Wayfarer, and two discs of music of Stravinsky, The Soldier's Tale (complete) and Suite from The Soldier's Tale, Les Noces and Octet.

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.

About the Virginia Symphony Orchestra

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.


2018-2019 Virginia Symphony Orchestra Classics Season at a Glance

Programs, artists, dates and venues are subject to change

Pictures at an Exhibition

Friday, September 21, 2018 | Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News | 8PM
Saturday, September 22, 2018 | Chrysler Hall, Norfolk | 8PM
Sunday, September 23, 2018 | Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia Beach | 2:30PM

JoAnn Falletta, conductor
Sandy Cameron, violin

Brahms: Academic Festival Overture
Elfman: Violin Concerto
Mussorgsky/arr. Ravel: Pictures at an Exhibition

Friday, October 19, 2018 | Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News | 8PM
Saturday, October 20, 2018 | Chrysler Hall, Norfolk | 8PM
Sunday, October 21, 2018 | Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia Beach | 2:30PM

JoAnn Falletta, conductor
Alain Lefèvre, piano
Anna Feucht, soprano
Virginia Symphony Orchestra Chorus
Robert Shoup, chorus master

Tailleferre: Overture
Matthieu: Piano Concerto No. 4
Poulenc: Gloria
Ravel: Boléro

Winter Dreams
Friday, November 30, 2018 | Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News | 8PM
Sunday, December 2, 2018 | Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia Beach | 2:30PM

JoAnn Falletta, conductor
Julian Schwarz, cello

Glazunov: Winter from The Seasons, Op. 67
Tchaikovsky: Rococo Variations for Cello and orchestra
Sibelius: Symphony No. 5
Tchaikovsky: Pas de deux from the Nutcracker

Handel’s Messiah
Friday, December 14, 2018 | First Baptist Church, Newport News
Saturday, December 15, 2018 | Harrison Opera House, Norfolk

Handel: Messiah

Beethoven Symphony No. 7
Friday, January 25, 2019 | Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News | 8PM
Saturday, January 26, 2019 | Chrysler Hall, Norfolk | 8PM
Sunday, January 27, 2019 | Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia Beach | 2:30PM

Thomas Wilkins, conductor
Sirena Huang, violin

Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto
Beethoven: Symphony No. 7

Grieg Piano Concerto
Saturday, March 9, 2019 | Chrysler Hall, Norfolk | 8PM
Sunday, March 10, 2019 | Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia Beach | 2:30PM

JoAnn Falletta, conductor
Jeffrey Biegel, piano

Bantock: Kishmul's Galley
Grieg: Piano Concerto
Prokofiev: Symphony No. 5

A Mozart Celebration
Thursday, March 21, 2019 | Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News | 8PM
Saturday, March 23, 2019 | Chrysler Hall, Norfolk | 8PM
Sunday, March 24, 2019 | Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia Beach | 2:30PM

Scott Yoo, conductor
Sherie Aguirre, oboe
Michael Byerly, clarinet
Laura Leisring, bassoon
Jacob Wilder, horn

Mozart: Overture to The Magic Flute
Mozart: Sinfonia Concertante
Mozart: Symphony No. 39

A Night at the Movies
Friday, April 5, 2019 | Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News | 8PM
Saturday, April 6, 2019 | Chrysler Hall, Norfolk | 8PM
Sunday, April 7, 2019 | Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia Beach | 2:30PM

Sarah Hicks, conductor
Wu Man, pipa

Tan Dun: Pipa Concerto
Rózsa: Hitchcock’s Spellbound
John Williams: Excerpts from Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Mahler Symphony No. 2
Friday, April 19, 2019 | Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News | 8PM

Saturday, April 20, 2019 | Chrysler Hall, Norfolk | 8PM

JoAnn Falletta, conductor
Virginia Symphony Orchestra Chorus
Robert Shoup, chorus master

Mahler: Symphony No. 2