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Photo courtesy of Virginia Symphony Orchestra

The Virginia Symphony Orchestra is preparing for its 100th season.

Virginia Symphony Orchestra readies for 100th anniversary season.

Starting this fall, the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, one of the Commonwealth’s most celebrated musical, educational, and entrepreneurial arts organizations, will celebrate its 100th anniversary season, hoping to weather the many unknown factors caused by the COVID-19 crisis. 

The VSO currently plans a historic exhibit, a commemorative book, and special centennial celebrations and fundraisers, including a gala in Norfolk in February 2021 and a Symphony of Wines event in June 2021 in Virginia Beach. There will also be several special anniversary programs and concerts throughout June.

“Despite the challenges brought on by the 2020 pandemic, the 100th anniversary celebration of the Virginia Symphony will proceed―perhaps not exactly as we envisioned, but a celebration nonetheless,” says Karen Philion, the VSO’s president and CEO. 

The orchestra, organized in 1920 as the Norfolk Civic Symphony Orchestra, held its first concert in April 1921 before an audience of 2,000. At the time it was the only American orchestra between Baltimore and Atlanta. Twenty-nine years later, the Norfolk Civic Symphony merged with the Civic Chorus to become the Norfolk Symphony and Choral Association, merging again in 1979 with two other community orchestras, the Peninsula Symphony Orchestra and the Virginia Beach Pops Symphony Orchestra. The new organization performed under several names, including the Virginia Philharmonic, before adopting the Virginia Symphony Orchestra name in 1990. VirginiaSymphony.org

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