The Virginia Symphony at 100

Posted on: July 14, 2020

“As the VSO enters its 100th season, the symphony is looking toward a post-COVID future, while facing some ever-present challenges,” writes Yana Ginburg in Monday’s (7/13) Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, VA). “For Music Director JoAnn Falletta, who relinquishes her baton this year, the success of the VSO lies in continuing to serve both audiences and musicians. Whether it’s about performing … the music of ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Harry Potter’ … or an ambitious staging of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, which involved some 700 performers, Falletta is proud of VSO’s achievements…. The VSO must figure out the best way to carry off its centennial season in the country’s new normal…. But she believes music, as an artistic and therapeutic experience, is a must, especially during hard times. VSO President and CEO Karen Philion shares Falletta’s hopeful vision of VSO’s future…. In 1920, Walter Edward Howe, Marian Carpenter and Dr. Robert C. Whitehead organized the VSO as the Norfolk Civic Symphony Orchestra. [The orchestra] assumed its present form in 1979, with the merger of the Norfolk Symphony, Peninsula Symphony Orchestra, and the Virginia Beach Pops Symphony. In May 1991, Falletta was appointed the orchestra’s eleventh music director, and the first female conductor, a position she held until 2020.”