Robert Murray (1936-2020)

Robert Murray, the violinist and longtime teacher at Virginia Commonwealth University, has died at 83.

A native of South Bend, IN, who grew up in Janesville, WI, Murray was a US Navy veteran and a graduate of the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago and Indiana University. Among his teachers were Rudolf Kolisch and Tadeusz Wronski.

He played in the Orlando and Nashville symphonies – during the latter stint, doubling as a recording studio musician – as well as the Chicago Chamber Orchestra and Amici della Musica Chamber Orchestra and Bach Festival Orchestra in California, before joining the VCU music faculty in 1978. He also had taught at the University of Northern Colorado, Baylor University and the Red Lodge Music Festival in Montana.

Murray made his New York debut at Town Hall in 1975. At VCU, he was a member of the Smetana Trio, one of modern Richmond’s pioneering chamber-music ensembles, with pianist Landon Bilyeu and cellist Frantisek Smetana, and performed with Ardyth Lohuis in a violin-and-organ duo, one of the few of its kind. He was an occasional substitute player in the Richmond Symphony.

He was a recording engineer and producer, and made a number of recordings for Raven, Musical Heritage Society and other labels. Among them were Telemann’s 12 fantasias for solo violin, the violin sonatas of Saint-Saëns, the first recordings of Anton Rubinstein’s four violin sonatas, the Fifth Violin Sonata of Leo Sowerby (which Murray had premiered) and a series of discs of violin-and-organ works with Lohuis.

Symphony announces revised fall schedule, adding online concert streams

The Richmond Symphony has announced revised programming and ticketing for its fall 2020 Masterworks concerts, and added online live streams of the performances.

Programs lasting about 80 minutes without intermissions will be staged on Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons at the Carpenter Theatre of Dominion Energy Center, Sixth and Grace streets.

George Manahan, the former symphony music director who has been serving as its music advisor, will conduct the September season-opener, “A Century of American Sound.” Valentina Peleggi, the symphony’s newly appointed music director, will conduct the next two programs, “Hymn to New Beginning” in October and “Metamorphosen” in November.

Admission to the concerts will be limited to fewer than 400 patrons, with distanced seating and what the orchestra describes as “stringent health and safety protocols,” including temperature checks and a requirement to wear masks. Tickets will go on sale on Sept. 1, with ticket prices to be announced.

Saturday concerts will be live-streamed, and will be available for viewing for 30 days after the performances. Access to streams cost $55 for all three programs, or $21.50 for each concert. Only one ticket per household is required.

Here’s the schedule:

Sept. 18 (7p.m.)
Sept. 19 (8 p.m.)
Sept. 20 (3 p.m.)
George Manahan conducting
Adolphus Hailstork: “American Fanfare”
Joseph Turrin: “Jazzalogue” No. 1
Jessie Montgomery: “Banner”
Gershwin: “Rhapsody in Blue” (chamber-orchestra arrangement by Iain Farrington)
Aaron Diehl, piano
Copland: “Appalachian Spring” (complete ballet score for 13 instruments)

Oct. 16 (7 p.m.)
Oct. 17 (8 p.m.)
Oct. 18 (3 p.m.)
Valentina Peleggi conducting
Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 5 in A major, K. 219 (“Turkish”)
Melissa White, violin
Vaughan Williams: “Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis”

Nov. 13 (7 p.m.)
Nov. 14 (8 p.m.)
Nov. 15 (3 p.m.)
Valentina Peleggi conducting
works TBA by Schubert, Wagner, Richard Strauss