Category Archive: Events

  1. ASO’s Holiday Mixer Celebrates the Season with BalletNova

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    Alexandria, VA—The Alexandria Symphony Orchestra will present a holiday program Friday, December 17, 2021 (7:30 p.m.) at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center and Sunday, December 19, 2021 (3:00 p.m.) at the George Washington Masonic Memorial.

    Under the direction of Music Director James Ross, the program will include excerpts from Handel’s Messiah and familiar holiday carols and melodies. For Friday’s performance, dancers from BalletNova take the stage with selections from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker interspersed with music from Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite. All children attending will be provided with sleigh bells for a surprise audience participation activity.

    “We are so proud and glad to be ringing in the holiday season this year like a tasty fruitcake with lively Baroque chestnuts, carols to hum-along, some Duke Ellington to munch, sleigh bells to jingle, and a special appearance by BalletNova,” says Maestro Ross. “It all melts on your tongue. Rumor has it Twas the Night before Christmas may make an appearance as well in a version never-to-be-repeated but not-to-be missed!”

    BalletNova Center for Dance has long been recognized as one of the premier dance training centers in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. region. The organization, now with over 1,300 students, is based on elements from the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) and American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum syllabus across all levels of children’s pre-professional classical ballet curriculum.

    Out of an abundance of caution, audience members, musicians, staff, and volunteers are required to wear a mask during performances. ASO is also requiring all attendees, musicians, volunteers and staff be fully-vaccinated, including children. Alexandria Symphony Orchestra is committed to providing a safe concert environment for our patrons, musicians and staff. The concerts will be presented with no intermission. Schlesinger Concert Hall has been completely overhauled with a state-of-the-art ventilation system. ASO will communicate with ticket buyers well in advance of each performance to establish what specific safety measures will be required to attend.

    Both venues are currently operating at 100%. Seating is very limited at the George Washington Masonic Memorial, so book your tickets early.

  2. ASO Presents Homegrown: American Stories in Music and Film

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    Alexandria, VA—In partnership with the Alexandria Film Festival, the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra (ASO) will present music of American composers on Saturday, November 6, 2021 (6:00 p.m.) at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center and Sunday, November 7, 2021 (3:00 p.m.) at the George Washington Masonic Memorial.

    Saturday’s performance at Schlesinger will feature six original short films screened in tandem with the music. (Sunday’s performance at the George Washington Masonic Memorial will include the music only with no film projection.) The project, entitled Homegrown: American Stories in Music and Film, commissioned original film footage to be screened “live-to-picture” for each of the compositions on the program. The concert will conclude with Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, based on ten paintings by Viktor Hartmann depicted in the suite, inviting the listener to experience the emotion conveyed by the artist.

    “This Homegrown collaboration with the Alexandria Film Festival started by a desire to perform American orchestral pieces live in concert that serve as soundtracks for newly commissioned films by American filmmakers,” says Maestro James Ross. “Usually the music is made to fit the film, but instead our six filmmakers let their creative fantasies run wild, inspired by each given composer. The variety and organic quality of the storytelling is breathtaking!”

    Jennifer Higdon’s reflective Blue Cathedral is set with Michael Fallavollita’s retelling of Tale of the Kite, which garnered 25 film festival awards, including the Special Jury Award at the 2017 Alexandria Film Festival. William Grant Still’s “Manhattan Skyline” from The American Scene will come alive by film artists Jane Pittman and Annette Brieger with Black Lives Matter, which marries the vibrant history of Washington, D.C. and its U-Street corridor. Charles Tomlinson Griffes’ “Clouds” is brought to life with filmmaker Alexi Scheiber’s stop-motion animation (utilizing more than 1500 original watercolors and drawings) entitled Among the Clouds.

    Aaron Copland’s 1940 rendition of John Henry will be accompanied by Shannon Washington’s epic documentary of Beat Ya Feet, a D.C.-based Go-Go derived dance. Charles Ives’ “The Housatonic at Stockbridge” from Three Places in New England will be screened in painterly fashion with found video footage compiled by artist Tim McLoraine. Building upon themes of unfolding history and community, filmmaker Andrea Kalin set Copland’s Our Town suite to scenes of our own in Our Town: Alexandria.

    “We are delighted this historic partnership is finally reaching fruition,” said Alexandria Film Festival Executive Director Patti North. “What began as a unique collaboration uniting the power of live music with visual storytelling as an integrated whole, we add the celebration of an audience being able once again to enjoy these art forms in person and in the moment.”

    Attendees for Saturday’s performance are welcome to stay for an interactive talk on the stage with the filmmakers, immediately following the concert.

    Alexandria Symphony Orchestra is committed to providing a safe concert environment for our patrons, musicians and staff. The concerts will be presented with no intermission. Schlesinger Concert Hall has been completely overhauled with a state-of-the-art ventilation system. Audience members, musicians, staff, and volunteers will be required to wear a mask during performances. ASO is also requiring all attendees, musicians, volunteers and staff be fully-vaccinated. ASO will communicate with ticket buyers well in advance of each performance to establish what specific safety measures will be required to attend.

  3. Alexandria Symphony changes October 2-3 Choral Program due to COVID Concerns

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    Alexandria, VA— Due to concerns about the rising Delta COVID-19 variant, the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra announces changes for the upcoming ASO concerts on October 2 and 3, 2021.

    The Alexandria Symphony Orchestra will present Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 on Saturday, October 2, 2021 (7:30 p.m.) and Sunday, October 3, 2021 (3:00 p.m.) at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center. This program is a repertoire change from the originally scheduled Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Alexandria Choral Society.

    “Choral singing has been found to create a particularly challenging environment for COVID safety,” said ASO Executive Director George Hanson.  “With recent infection rates increasing in Alexandria, we had to make the difficult choice to postpone our performances with the Alexandria Choral Society of Beethoven’s great Choral Symphony, the Ninth.”

    ASO is replacing the enormously popular choral symphony with another work of Beethoven, his iconic Fifth Symphony. Also on the program are George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with pianist Michelle Cann, Copland’s inspiring Fanfare for the Common Man, and Valerie Coleman’s work Umoja: Anthem of Unity.

    “We are delivering on our promise to ticket buyers by presenting three all-time orchestral favorites to replace the popular Ninth,” said Hanson.

    Renowned pianist Michelle Cann has performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra and others. The Philadelphia Inquirer described her February 2021 performance with Philadelphia Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin as “exquisite.” A champion of the music of Florence Price, Ms. Cann is recognized as a leading African-American performer dedicated to artistic excellence and community engagement.

    “The clarion call for transformation, diversity, unity and joy embodied by Beethoven’s Ninth is being honored in our choice to combine his Fifth Symphony with Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Valerie Coleman’s anthem of unity, Umoja,” says ASO Music Director James Ross. “With Copland’s Fanfare kicking things off and Michelle Cann’s pianistic prowess, we’ve created a big musical tent to celebrate our return to the stage.”

    Note: the concerts will be presented with no intermission. Alexandria Symphony Orchestra is committed to providing a safe concert environment for our patrons, musicians and staff. Schlesinger Concert Hall has been completely overhauled with a state-of-the-art ventilation system. At this time, audience members, musicians, staff, and volunteers will be required to wear a mask during performances. ASO is also requiring all attendees, musicians, volunteers and staff be fully-vaccinated. ASO will communicate with ticket buyers well in advance of each performance to establish what specific safety measures will be required to attend.