Symphony revises winter, spring schedule

As the coronavirus pandemic continues with no near-term prospect of widespread vaccinations, the Richmond Symphony has revised its schedule and programming for Masterworks concerts in winter and spring 2021, and will continue to offer an at-home online viewing-and-listening option.

The symphony has canceled concerts in other series, including Pops and LolliPops, for the rest of the current season.

The new Masterworks programs – two conducted by Music Director Valentina Peleggi, one by Associate Conductor Chia-Hsuan Lin and another by Joseph Young, music director of the Berkeley (CA) Symphony and artistic director of ensembles at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore – will feature violinist Rachel Barton Pine, pianists Orion Weiss and Gabriela Martinez, and two symphony principals, harpist Lynette Wardle and trumpeter Samuel Huss, in solo and concertante roles.

Repertory ranges from familiar works by Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Ravel and Shostakovich to rarely heard pieces by the French early modernist Germaine Tailleferre and Joseph Boulogne, the Chevalier de Saint-Georges, the Guadeloupe-born violinist and composer, a contemporary of Mozart and one of the first prominent classical musicians of African descent.

Continuing the schedule set in the fall, the concerts will be staged without intermissions on Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons at the Carpenter Theatre of Dominion Energy Center, Sixth and Grace streets in downtown Richmond.

Those attending will be required to adhere to safety protocols, including temperature checks on entering, mask-wearing and physical distancing. For more information, visit:

Subscription and single tickets purchased for non-Masterworks concerts may be exchanged for live or online Masterworks tickets or for future concerts. The cost of non-Masterworks tickets also may be converted to tax-deductible donations to the symphony or refunded.

Live-attendance ticket prices will be announced shortly; seating capacity will be limited in line with state and local restrictions on indoor gatherings.

Saturday concerts will be live-streamed and archived for 30 days online. Access is $30 per concert, $100 for a four-concert subscription.

For more information, call the symphony’s patron services desk at (804) 788-1212 or visit

The revised Masterworks schedule:

Jan. 15 (7 p.m.)
Jan. 16 (8 p.m.)
Jan. 17 (3 p.m.)
Valentina Peleggi conducting

“Le danses françaises”
Germaine Tailleferre: Concertino for harp
Debussy: “Danses sacrée et profane”

Lynette Wardle, harp
Ravel: “Pavane pour une infante défunte”
Ravel: “Le Tombeau de Couperin”

Feb. 5 (7 p.m.)
Feb. 6 (8 p.m.)
Feb. 7 (3 p.m.)
Joseph Young conducting

“Russian Treasures”
Balakirev-Farrington: “Islamey”
Shostakovich: Piano Concerto No. 1 in C minor

Orion Weiss, piano
Samuel Huss, trumpet

Tchaikovsky: Serenade in C major for strings

March 5 (7 p.m.)
March 6 (8 p.m.)
March 7 (3 p.m.)
Valentina Peleggi conducting

“Beethoven in Vienna”
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major

Gabriela Martinez, piano
Beethoven: Symphony No. 4 in B flat major

April 16 (7 p.m.)
April 17 (8 p.m.)
April 18 (3 p.m.)
Chia-Hsuan Lin conducting

“From Salzburg and Guadeloupe”
Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges: Violin Concerto in A major, Op. 5, No. 2

Rachel Barton Pine, violin
Mozart: Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K. 550

Review: Richmond Symphony

George Manahan conducting
with Daisuke Yamamoto, violin
& Daniel Stipe, harpsichord
Dec. 12, Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center

With “Messiah” and other choral music out of bounds during the pandemic, the Richmond Symphony turned to “A Baroque Holiday,” a sampler of instrumental works roughly contemporaneous with Handel’s oratorio.

This was the first all-baroque program staged by the orchestra in years. Its conductor, George Manahan, music director of the symphony from 1987 to 1998, currently its music advisor, was the last conductor to feature baroque works other than “Messiah” as a regular part of the orchestra’s musical diet.

The program mixed Christmas or seasonally themed works – Arcangelo Corelli’s Concerto grosso in G minor, Op. 6, No. 8 (popularly known as the “Christmas Concerto”), an instrumental suite from “Messiah” assembled by Manahan, the “Winter” Concerto from Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” – with pieces that had no special link to the holidays: Giovanni Gabrieli’s Canzona No. 2 for brass quintet; J.S. Bach’s “Air on a G String” from the Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV 1068, and the first movement of his Harpsichord Concerto in D minor, BWV 1052; and the Overture from Handel’s “Royal Fireworks Music.”

The overall effect, though, was an enticing blend of festivity, chaste lyricism and instrumental virtuosity – the essences of baroque musical style.

The symphony’s musicians proved remarkably conversant in a musical idiom that they’ve rarely had the chance to essay. Manahan eased the ensemble into the baroque by adopting fairly relaxed tempos and not calling for too much in the way of “historically informed” performance practice such as vibrato-free string playing.

Several of the orchestra’s principal players and one guest took leading roles. Concertmaster Daisuke Yamamoto was the featured soloist in the Vivaldi concerto, playing up the solo violin’s expressive contrast of ice and fire. Violinists Adrian Pintea and Meredith Riley and cellist Neal Cary formed a pure-toned, atmospheric concertino trio in the Corelli. And Daniel Stipe, Richmond’s keyboardist for all seasons – organist, pianist, harpsichordist – was a forceful and virtuosic soloist in the Bach concerto.

VPM, which has been producing the symphony’s online streams since July, showed in this production that its technical crew is hitting its stride. A good thing, too: Given the tragic course of the pandemic, and the likelihood that normal concert life won’t resume any time soon, its contributions will be essential to the orchestra and its audience for months to come.

The online stream of the Richmond Symphony’s “A Baroque Holiday” may be accessed through Jan. 8. Tickets: $20. Details: (800) 514-3849 (ETIX);