Category Archive: Events

  1. Alexandria Symphony Presents Barber & Brahms and a World Premiere

    Comments Off on Alexandria Symphony Presents Barber & Brahms and a World Premiere

    Alexandria, VA—The Alexandria Symphony Orchestra , under the direction of Music Director James Ross, presents Barber & Brahms with violinist Dylana Jenson on Saturday, April 23, 2022 (7:30 p.m.) at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center and Sunday, April 24, 2022 (3:00 p.m.) at the George Washington Masonic Memorial.

    Dylana Jenson, hailed for her lyrical playing and sizzling virtuosity, has performed with major orchestra throughout the United States, Europe, Australia, Japan and Latin America. She was the youngest and first American woman to win the Silver Medal in the Tchaikovsky Competition and made her debut at Carnegie Hall with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto, an iconic American work, provides the ideal vehicle for Jenson’s radiant sound as it moves from lyricism to pyrotechnics.

    Johannes Brahms’ monumental Symphony No. 1 stands among the most popular and important works of music’s Romantic era. From the symphony’s dramatic opening chords to the stirring and triumphant finale, Brahms draws the listener into his world of melody and romance.

    Saturday’s performance features students from ASO’s award-winning education program, Sympatico, in the world premiere of a work commissioned by Classical Movements’ Eric Daniel Helms New Music Program. Titled Tribute, the work places students alongside ASO’s professional musicians for an extraordinary musical experience. Composer Brian Prechtl, principal percussionist of the Baltimore Symphony, was inspired by Beethoven with motives of fate, beauty and triumph as he worked with students to create the work.

    Audience members, musicians, staff, and volunteers are required to wear a mask while inside the hall and during performances. Vaccinations for COVID-19 are not longer required but strongly recommended. Alexandria Symphony Orchestra is committed to providing a safe concert environment for our patrons, musicians and staff. Schlesinger Concert Hall recently installed 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. SOLA Music Scholarship Competition Returns

    Comments Off on SOLA Music Scholarship Competition Returns

    Classical music students will compete for college scholarships sponsored by the Symphony Orchestra League of Alexandria (SOLA) on Sunday morning, March 20 at 10 am. 

    “The judged performances will be free and open to the public at the Fine Arts Center on the campus of Northern Virginia Community College,” says Sharon Walker, the chair of the Mary Graham Lasley scholarship.

    The competition will begin at 10 am and feature performances in piano and cello by students from three colleges. SOLA has sponsored the MGL contest for more than 40 years, except for 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid pandemic.

    Graduate and undergraduate students under the age of 25 will perform 15-minute solos or concertos for cash prizes of $2,500, $2,000, and $1,500 from a trust fund established in the 1970’s in memory of Mary Graham Lasley, an active supporter of the Alexandria Symphony.

    Prizes will be presented in a short ceremony following the completion of the judging.

    The Northern Virginia Community College Fine Arts Center is located at 3301 Netherton Dr., Alexandria, VA 22311.  Access by turning off Seminary Road on Dawes Avenue.

    “The MGL competition for young musicians proves that classical music is alive and well for the future,” says Walker.

    SOLA is encouraging ASO patrons, SOLA members, parents, and music teachers to attend the competition with their students.

  3. ASO Musicians Perform Works of Bach, Vivaldi and Piazzolla

    Comments Off on ASO Musicians Perform Works of Bach, Vivaldi and Piazzolla

    Alexandria, VA— The Alexandria Symphony Orchestra will present a special chamber orchestra concert Brandenburg, Vivaldi & Tango on Saturday, March 19, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Alexandria. Under the direction of Music Director James Ross, members of the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra will present music by Bach, Vivaldi and Piazzolla.

    The ASO will perform Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 with principals from the orchestra as soloists. The concerto features two violas and several period instruments, including a harpsichord. Bach composed the six concertos as a pseudo-job application as a demonstration of his finest work, and they are still regarded as some of the foremost orchestral compositions from the Baroque era.

    Also on the program, Bach’s Concerto for Violin and Oboe, where both instruments are featured and closely entangled. Both himself an accomplished violinist and the master of solo concerti, Vivaldi’s Concerto for Four Violins is worthy of its dedication to royalty, and attendees will discover why it bears the title of “Harmonic Inspiration.” (Bach was inspired by Vivaldi’s concerto and arranged the piece for harpsichord in a different key.) Likewise, Vivaldi’s beloved Four Seasons was the inspiration for Astor Piazzolla’s The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires. The audience will enjoy the tango-infused “Summer” and “Spring” movements from Piazzolla’s suite.

    “Bach wrote the best dance music of his time, and Astor Piazzolla, the tango king, is positively Baroque in his music’s adaptability and finely chiseled flourishes,” says Maestro Ross. “Every piece on this program features multiple soloists in an embodiment of democratic values and lively conversation. And with our performance of the sixth concerto, the ASO has now completed its first cycle through the Brandenburgs—these unlikely masterworks. I can’t wait to start the next pass!”

    Audience members, musicians, staff, and volunteers are required to wear a mask while inside the venue and during performances. ASO recommends N95-style masks for maximum protection; a limited supply will be available. ASO is also requiring all attendees, musicians, volunteers and staff be fully-vaccinated, including a booster, if applicable. ASO will communicate with ticket buyers well in advance of the performance to establish what specific safety measures will be required to attend.

  4. Pianist Sara Daneshpour Headlines with Rachmaninov’s Masterpiece

    Comments Off on Pianist Sara Daneshpour Headlines with Rachmaninov’s Masterpiece

    Alexandria, VA—Under the direction of Music Director James Ross, the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra will present Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with pianist Sara Daneshpour on Saturday, February 12, 2022 (7:30 p.m.) at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center and Sunday, February 13, 2022 (3:00 p.m.) at the George Washington Masonic Memorial.

    A native of Washington, D.C., Ms. Daneshpour has garnered awards internationally and received acclaim as a sought-after touring artist. New York Concert Review wrote of her artistry, “She lavished color on oft-neglected line, illuminated subtle beauties, and raged through the storms, always with stunning polish.” Sara Daneshpour joined the Astral Artists roster as a winner of its 2010 National Auditions.

    The program, titled Dark Glow, opens with Finnish composer Jean Sibelius’ well-known and beloved tone poem Finlandia. Strings take center stage with Beethoven’s Quartet for Strings in C-sharp minor, expanded for orchestra by Maestro Jim Ross. One of his last works composed when he was completely deaf, the piece explores a range of joy and heartbreak. The program also features George Walker’s Lyric for Strings, inspired by his grandmother, who was born into slavery. A trailblazer among composers throughout his life, Walker was the first African American awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 1996. The program culminates with Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, a set of 24 variations based on Paganini’s theme for violin.

    “Even in wintery times of darkness, a power of renewal lurks and glows beneath the surface of this music like fire in an igloo,” says Maestro Ross. “In all of these pieces, the greatest struggle seems also to give birth to some of the most cataclysmically warm melodies ever conceived—tunes that hurtle well beyond the innocence of the pieces that birthed them.”

    Audience members, musicians, staff, and volunteers are required to wear a mask while inside the hall and during performances. ASO is also requiring all attendees, musicians, volunteers and staff be fully-vaccinated, including a booster, if applicable. Alexandria Symphony Orchestra is committed to providing a safe concert environment for our patrons, musicians and staff. Schlesinger Concert Hall recently installed 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.

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

    Comments Off on ASO’s Holiday Mixer Celebrates the Season with BalletNova

    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.

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

    Comments Off on ASO Presents Homegrown: American Stories in Music and Film

    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.

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

    Comments Off on Alexandria Symphony changes October 2-3 Choral Program due to COVID Concerns

    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.