Richmond Symphony 2020-21

In the debut season of a yet to be selected music director, the Richmond Symphony will mark the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth with three of his signature symphonies and the 50th anniversary of the Richmond Symphony Chorus with several major choral works.

The season also will feature an exceptionally diverse array of repertory by women and composers of color, most of whom are at work today.

The symphony’s Metro Collection chamber-orchestra series will expand to a second venue, staging three concerts in 2021 at the 352-seat Jimmy Dean Theater in the new Baxter Perkinson Center for the Arts in Chester. The series will continue at Blackwell Auditorium of Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, where four concerts are scheduled.

Guest soloists for 2020-21 include violinist Rachel Barton Pine, playing Barber’s Violin Concerto; pianist Aaron Diehl, in Gershwin’s Piano Concerto; violinist Melissa White, in Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5; pianist Gabriela Martinez, in Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1; and JIJI, a Korean classical guitarist who won the 2016 Concert Artists Guild International Competition, playing Hilary Purrington’s “Harp of Nerves,” a guitar concerto premiered by JIJI in 2017.

Featured symphony principals are concertmaster Daisuke Yamamoto, performing as soloist and leader in a program centered on two of Bach’s “Brandenburg” concertos, and principal bassoonist Thomas Schneider, playing a concerto attributed to Rossini.

The Symphony Chorus, directed by Erin Freeman, will perform in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Haydn’s oratorio “The Creation,” Dvořák’s Te Deum and Fauré’s Pavane, as well as Handel’s “Messiah” and the “Let It Snow!” holiday pops program.

In addition to pieces by nine prominent contemporary composers – Purrington, Caroline Shaw, Anna Clyne, Jessie Montgomery, Andy Akiho, Valerie Coleman, Guillaume Connesson, Melinda Wagner and Richmond-born Zachary Wadsworth – the symphony’s 2020-21 classical concerts will feature works by two icons of African-American music, William Grant Still and Duke Ellington, and infrequently programmed music by Luigi Boccherini, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Francis Poulenc and the 19th-century French composer Louise Farrenc.

Repertory staples scheduled for the season, in addition to the Beethoven Ninth and the Bach “Brandenburgs,” are Beethoven’s Fifth and Seventh symphonies, Mendelssohn’s “Italian” Symphony (No. 4), Saint-Saëns’ “Organ” Symphony (No. 3), Sibelius’ Third Symphony, Prokofiev’s “Classical Symphony” (No. 1) and selections from his “Romeo and Juliet” ballet music, Ravel’s “Bolero,” Grieg’s “Peer Gynt” suites, Wagner’s “Siegfried Idyll” and Stravinsky’s “Dumbarton Oaks” Concerto.

On the Symphony Pops schedule are a 30th-anniversary reprise of “Bugs Bunny at the Symphony;” a jazz program with Virginia Commonwealth University-based trumpeter Rex Richardson marking the centenaries of Charlie Parker and Dave Brubeck along with a new work by Richmond native Trey Pollard; singers Capathia Jenkins and Tony DeSare in a salute to two of the great American voices, Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra; and “Let It Snow!”

The Lollipops family series will feature the Latin Ballet of Virginia in a program celebrating Día de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead), the Mexican holiday tribute to departed family and friends; the Really Inventive Stuff troupe’s “The Life and Times of Beethoven;” Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf;” and the return of the popular seasonal film-with-music “The Snowman.”

Conductors of the concerts will be announced after the new music director is named.

Season ticket subscriptions are now on sale. (Adult prices are listed below.) For details, call the symphony’s ticket services office at (804) 788-1212 or visit

Single tickets will go on sale on Aug. 1.

Dates, venues and programs for the symphony’s 2020-21 season:

full-orchestra mainstage programs
Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons at Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center, Sixth and Grace streets
8-concert subscriptions: $185-$553
4-concert subscriptions: $93-$284

Sept. 19 (8 p.m.)
Sept. 20 (3 p.m.)
William Grant Still: “Festive Overture”
Gershwin: Piano Concerto in F major
Aaron Diehl, piano
Jessie Montgomery: “Coincident Dances”
Duke Ellington: “Black, Brown and Beige” Suite

Oct. 17 (8 p.m.)
Andy Akiho: “Oscillate”
Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 5 in A major, K. 219 (“Turkish”)
Melissa White, violin
Sibelius: Symphony No. 3 in C major

Nov. 14 (8 p.m.)
Nov. 15 (3 p.m.)
Louise Farrenc: Overture No. 1 in E minor
Fauré: Pavane in F sharp minor, Op. 50
Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 in D minor (“Choral”)
soloists TBA
Richmond Symphony Chorus

Jan. 16 (8 p.m.)
Valerie Coleman: “UMOJA, Anthem for Unity”
Villa-Lobos: “Bachianas brasileiras” No. 4
Grieg: “Peer Gynt” suites Nos. 1 & 2
Ravel: “Bolero”

Feb. 6 (8 p.m.)
Barber: “Toccata Festiva”
Dvořák: Te Deum
Richmond Symphony Chorus
Saint-Saëns: Symphony No. 3 in C minor (“Organ”)
organist TBA

March 6 (8 p.m.)
March 7 (3 p.m.)
Guillaume Connesson: “Maslenitsa”
Prokofiev: “Romeo and Juliet” (selections)
Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor
Gabriela Martinez, piano

April 17 (8 p.m.)
April 18 (3 p.m.)
Anna Clyne: “Abstractions”
Barber: Violin Concerto
Rachel Barton Pine, violin
Beethoven: Symphony No. 5 in C minor

May 15 (8 p.m.)
May 16 (3 p.m.)
Haydn: “The Creation”
soloists TBA
Richmond Symphony Chorus

* * *

chamber-orchestra programs
Saturday evenings at Jimmy Dean Theater, Baxter Perkinson Center for the Arts, 11801 Center St., Chester
Sunday afternoons at Blackwell Auditorium, Randolph-Macon College, 205 Henry St., Ashland
4-concert Sunday subscriptions: $70
3-concert Saturday subscriptions: $53

Oct. 25 (3 p.m.)
Rossini: “L’Italiana in Algeri” Overture
Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 4 in A major (“Italian”)
Rossini (attr.): Bassoon Concerto
Thomas Schneider, bassoon
Boccherini: Symphony in D minor, Op. 12, No. 4 (“La casa del diavolo”)

Jan. 23 (7:30 p.m.)
Jan. 24 (3 p.m.)
Prokofiev: Symphony No. 1 in D major (“Classical”)
Wagner: “Siegfried Idyll”
Caroline Shaw: “Entr’acte”
Poulenc: Sinfonietta

Feb. 20 (7:30 p.m.)
Feb. 21 (3 p.m.)
Daisuke Yamamoto, violin & direction
J.S. Bach: “Brandenburg” Concerto No. 1 in F major, BWV 1046
Melinda Wagner: “Little Moonhead”
J.S. Bach: “Brandenburg” Concerto No. 3 in G major, BWV 1048
Stravinsky: Concerto in E flat major (“Dumbarton Oaks”)

April 24 (7:30 p.m.)
April 25 (3 p.m.)
Zachary Wadsworth: “Variations on an Unheard Theme”
Hilary Purrington: Guitar Concerto (“Harp of Nerves”)
JIJI, guitar
Beethoven: Symphony No. 7 in A major

* * *

Friday evening at Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center
single tickets: $30-$60

Dec. 4 (7:30 p.m.)
Handel: “Messiah”
soloists TBA
Richmond Symphony Chorus

* * *

light classical, jazz and holiday programs
Saturday evenings (Sunday afternoon repeat for “Let It Snow!”) at venues listed
4-concert subscriptions: $92-$270

Oct. 3 (7 p.m.)
Altria Theater, Main and Laurel streets
George Daugherty conducting
“Warner Bros. Presents ‘Bugs Bunny at the Symphony,’ 30th Anniversary Edition”

Dec. 5 (8 p.m.)
Dec. 6 (3 p.m.)
Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center
“Let It Snow!” holiday program
Richmond Symphony Chorus

Feb. 27 (8 p.m.)
Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center
“Bird and Brubeck Turn 100”
Trey Pollard: new work for trumpet and orchestra
works TBA by Charlie Parker & Dave Brubeck
Rex Richardson, trumpet

April 10 (8 p.m.)
Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center
“Frank and Ella: a Night of Jazz”
Capathia Jenkins & Tony DeSare, vocalists

* * *

family programs
Saturday mornings at Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center
4-concert subscriptions: $48 (adult), $34 (ages 3-18)

Oct. 31 (11 a.m.)
Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Celebration (in English and Spanish)
Latin Ballet of Virginia

Nov. 28 (11 a.m.)
“The Snowman,” film with live orchestra accompaniment

Jan. 30 (11 a.m.)
“The Life and Times of Beethoven”
Really Inventive Stuff, featuring Professor Nigel Taproot

May 8 (11 a.m.)
Prokofiev: “Peter and the Wolf”
narrator TBA

* * *

casual concerts with selections from the following weekends’ Metro Collection programs
Thursday evenings at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, Overbrook Road at Ownby Lane
4-concert passes: $40 (seating limited)

Oct. 22 (6:30 p.m.)
Jan. 21 (6:30 p.m.)
Feb. 18 (6:30 p.m.)
April 22 (6:30 p.m.)

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