Richmond Symphony Orchestra
The Richmond Symphony is based in Richmond, Virginia. One of the nation's leading regional orchestras, it employs 72–85 musicians who give over 200 performances each season to over 200,000 audience members. Its music director (since 2010) is Steven Smith; its associate conductor (since 2016) is Chia-Hsuan Lin. Previous music directors were Edgar Schenkman (1957–71), Jacques Houtmann (1971-86), George Manahan (1987–98), and Mark Russel Smith (1999-2009). Previous associate conductors include William Henry Curry (the first), Peter Bay, Marin Alsop, Thomas Wilkins, Eckart Preu, Clark Etienne Suttle, Sarah Hatsuko Hicks, Erin Freeman (who continues as the Director of the Richmond Symphony Chorus), and Keitaro Harada (the most recent). The Executive Director is David Fisk.
The Symphony has performed alongside internationally renowned musicians such as Aaron Copland, William Grant Still, Isaac Stern, Leonard Rose, Pierre Fournier, Aldo Ciccolini, Yefim Bronfman, Claudio Arrau, Yo-Yo Ma, Julian Lloyd Webber, Jessye Norman, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Joshua Bell, Elmar Olivera, Itzhak Perlman, Joseph Silverstein, Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Jubilant Sykes, André Watts, Ani Kavafian, Joanne Kong, the Shanghai String Quartet, the Emerson String Quartet, Ray Charles, Tony Bennett, Cleo Laine, the Dave Matthews Band, Aretha Franklin, Bruce Hornsby, and Marvin Hamlisch.
The Richmond Symphony was founded in 1957. The Symphony performed only three concerts in its inaugural season. The Richmond Symphony Chorus, founded in 1971, gave its first performance under the direction of Robert Shaw; its directors have been Dr. James Erb (1971-2007) and Dr. Erin R. Freeman (since 2007). The Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra Program includes four ensembles of elementary to secondary school students.
As a nonprofit corporation, the Richmond Symphony is partially supported by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.
The orchestra performs six series of Concerts: The Masterworks Series of traditional symphonic repertoire; The Metro Collection Series (chamber orchestra); The Symphony Pops Series - lighter popular and classical music; the Richmond Symphony LolliPops Series - less formal, family-oriented events; one-hour full orchestra Casual Friday Series and Rush-Hour Concerts - one-hour casual concerts at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery. The Richmond Symphony also gives special concerts and tours throughout central, western and southern Virginia.
In 2015 the Richmond Symphony launched its nationally recognized "Big Tent" initiative that brings concerts and festivals to communities throughout the Richmond Region. As of July of 2019 "Big Tent" community festivals have reached tens-of-thousands of audiences members, generated over 100 community partnerships and helped to raise over $300,000 for the purchase of instruments and in support of arts programming in Richmond Public Schools. This program was a major factor in the Richmond Symphony being named a leader in orchestra innovation by the League of American Orchestras through its Futures Fund Initiative.
- "David Fisk - Richmond Symphony". Richmond Symphony. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
- "The Big Tent Community Festivals". Richmond Symphony. Retrieved 2019-07-11.
- "League of American Orchestras". League of American Orchestras. Retrieved 2019-07-11.