Virginia’s Petersburg Symphony taps Naima Burrs as music director

Posted on: February 24, 2022

“Petersburg Symphony Orchestra musicians are gearing up for a new season without the presence of a familiar face—Ulysses Kirksey, their former music director for more than 30 years,” who died in August 2021, writes Kesha Williams in last Thursday’s (2/17) Richmond Free Press (VA). “The orchestra has been working hard to regain its rhythm, according to Brian C. Little Sr., the PSO executive director. The new season, which begins in March, will feature a new face on the conductor’s podium—Naima Burrs, a 31-year-old violinist and music instructor at Virginia State University. In late January, she was announced as PSO’s new music director. Ms. Burrs, who was an assistant conductor for the PSO’s holiday concert last December … has served as assistant conductor of the Hopkins Symphony Orchestra at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and, most recently, as conductor of the Hopkins Concert Orchestra…. Ms. Burrs said … from virtual concerts to concerts at various public venues, the PSO wants to give the community access to the music that inspires them…. ‘While it’s important to do standard repertoire, … we also can make sure [to perform] music that showcases contributions of everyone—women, African-American, Hispanic composers and more,’ [Burrs said].”