“A focus—above all a standard of performance—that make it
one of the most interesting orchestras in the metropolitan area.”
The Washington Post
The quality and vitality of the Virginia Chamber Orchestra’s performances attract enthusiastic concert attendees from all Virginia suburbs, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. Listeners appreciate the transparent, intimate sound of a chamber ensemble as well as its power, richness, and remarkable dynamic range. In the words of a Washington Post critic, the maestro evokes “energetic excitement” from his players. The repertoire spans the centuries, ranging from Bach to Bartók and beyond.
The VCO is unique among Northern Virginia-based orchestras in having engaged only fully professional players since it was founded, paying every player full union scale and benefits for each rehearsal and concert. Outreach initiatives include television broadcasts and streaming videos on the Internet, serving all area schools and very large numbers of schools nationwide. Video screening programs for the general public are presented in central libraries and area museums, now including the National Archives in Washington, DC. The award-winning Special Audience Outreach combines free concert tickets and free post-concert dinners for underserved persons, Wounded Warriors, and their families.
History of the Virginia Chamber Orchestra
The Virginia Chamber Orchestra (VCO) was founded in 1971 as a professional touring orchestra, traveling by bus to present performances in areas of Virginia where live orchestral concerts were not offered. In the early 1980s, the VCO was encouraged to establish its base in Northern Virginia, delighting critics and new audiences. Celebrating the fortieth anniversary season in 2010-2011 the orchestra expanded the reach of its live concerts into Washington, DC. In addition, the VCO occupies a unique niche among all arts organizations by serving a national audience of millions with educational television broadcasts since 1998 and most recently with free streaming videos on its website for students of all ages. The award-winning special audience outreach has benefited the community since the 1980s.
Emil de Cou, Wolf Trap Festival Conductor, served as VCO Music Director for four seasons. De Cou highly recommended David Grandis, a rising star in the musical world, to succeed him as Music Director. Maestro Grandis follows a distinguished line of VCO conductors. Their ability to attract highly gifted guest artists and skillfully lead the VCO’s forty outstanding professional musicians has captivated audiences with engaging performances. Laudatory reviews from Washington Post critics repeatedly affirm the orchestra’s consistently high musical standards: “A focus—above all a standard of performance—that makes it one of the most interesting orchestras in the metropolitan area.”
Serving residents across the national capital area’s entire socioeconomic spectrum is a major priority for the VCO. Concerts are made accessible to low and middle-income families through remarkably affordable ticket prices and free admission for all area school and college students. The Virginia Chamber Orchestra’s popular and intimate “Musicale” chamber music performances are held in the elegant homes of distinguished VCO supporters. For years, the prestigious VCO Annual Gala and dinner/dance have attracted leaders from government, business, and the arts.
The Virginia Chamber Orchestra is proud to have celebrated forty-eight years of fine performances and looks forward to many more years of memorable concerts. We hope you’ll be joining us for concerts and special events throughout this exciting season.