Richmond Symphony Orchestra coming to Farmville in February

Published 1:28 am Sunday, January 21, 2024

The Richmond Symphony Orchestra will return to the Jarman Auditorium stage at Longwood University next month for a special performance featuring popular pieces from classical masters Mozart and Brahms, as well as Afro-British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. 

The concert will be held on Friday, Feb. 9, at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public; tickets are not required. Doors will open at 6:45 p.m. and seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. 

“We are so excited to be able to present the RSO at Longwood again this year,” said Dr. Charles Kinzer, professor of music at Longwood. “For us to be able to present the leading professional symphony in our region with free admission is truly remarkable and unique among universities in Virginia. It’s the result of a wonderful philanthropic gift from the late Dr. John Cook, who loved both Longwood and symphony, and simply underscores the importance of music in the DNA of Longwood.”

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The program will begin with a performance of Wolfgang Amadeuz Mozart’s Divertimento in D Major, K. 136, which is more commonly known as the Salzburg Symphony No. 1. That will be followed by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Petite Suite de Concert and Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No. 2 in D Major. There will be an intermission before the Brahms symphony. 

The guest conductor for the performance will be Chia-Hsuan Lin, who was appointed associate conductor of the Richmond Symphony in 2016.

Breaking down the Divertimento

The Divertimento has three movements and was composed in 1772 by a then-16-year-old Mozart. It is described as delightful and entertaining and has remained popular since Mozart composed it. Coleridge-Taylor’s light-hearted Petite Suite de Concert dates to 1911 and is a compilation of youthful music based on Hans Christian Anderson’s The Clown and Columbine. The composer, whose father was from Sierra Leone, was a master of creating memorable melodies and sought to blend African traditions with Western classical music. 

Finally, Brahms’ Symphony No. 2 in D Major, a masterwork composed in 1877, is described as sunny and cheery and often compared with Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony. 

The concert is underwritten by the Cook-Cole Symphony Fund of the Longwood University Foundation. For more than a decade, the RSO has performed at Longwood through a partnership established by Cook, a 1952 alumnus and benefactor of the Cook-Cole College of Arts and Sciences. The endowed partnership provides for one performance each academic year. The concert is hosted by Longwood’s Department of Music and supported in part by a grant from the Virginia Commission for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities. 

Longwood President W. Taylor Reveley IV called the Richmond Symphony Orchestra appearance “one of the cultural highlights of the academic year.”

“Bringing world-class musicians to campus and being able to experience the majesty of the orchestral experience with our students, friends and neighbors is a deeply enriching gift for which we are grateful,” Reveley said. 

Parking for the concert is available in the Wheeler Lot on Griffin Boulevard. For more information about this concert please call the Longwood Department of Music at 434-395-2504 or email music@longwood.edu.