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  • Writer's picturePress Release


Words and Images Courtesy of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra.

Natasha Paremski sits playing her piano, wearing a stunning deep red dress

The Virginia Symphony Orchestra opens its 2021/22 season with a weekend of exciting concerts across Hampton Roads on September 24th, 25th, and 26th. It’s the roaring ‘20s! Pianist Natasha Paremski returns to the VSO for her third time in a program that harkens back to the decade of the Norfolk Symphony Orchestra’s first performance in 1921. Two jazz-influenced blockbusters, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Ravel’s Concerto in G, will showcase Paremski’s virtuosity and dynamic style.

Akiko Fujimoto, Music Director of the Mid-Texas Symphony poses with her baton

Returning to the region to lead the orchestra will be Akiko Fujimoto, Music Director of the Mid-Texas Symphony. Quickly establishing herself as one of today’s most dynamic and nuanced young conductors, Fujimoto was previously Conducting Associate of the VSO and Director of Orchestra at the College of William & Mary, so she looks forward to her return to Hampton Roads. Fujimoto said, “This will be the first time I am returning to the area since I left, so it will be a highly emotional homecoming for me. I am most looking forward to seeing the VSO musicians and staff again, after 10 years. The VSO was the first professional orchestra where I had the privilege to be on the conducting staff, and without those years with the orchestra, I would not be the conductor that I am today. I am forever indebted to the VSO for taking a chance on me, welcoming me into the family and supporting me as I learned the ropes. And I can’t think of a better way to thank them than making great music with them once again!” The Friday, September 24th performance will be held at 7:30pm at the Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News. Saturday, September 25th will be held at Norfolk’s Chrysler Hall at 7:30pm, and the weekend will conclude with a 2:30pm performance at the Sandler Center in Virginia Beach on Sunday, September 26th. Tickets start at just $25 and can be purchased by visiting or by calling 757.892.6366. The Virginia Symphony is pleased to have Sentara returning as this year’s Regional Presenting Sponsor. The Ferguson opening night performance is sponsored in memory of Rona M. and Erwin B. Drucker. The Norfolk opening night performance is sponsored by Connie and Marc Jacobson.


As the region’s most celebrated musical, educational and entrepreneurial arts organization, the Virginia Symphony Orchestra continues to challenge expectations and push the boundaries of what an American orchestra can be. Innovation and excellence are at the heart of the VSO’s narrative.

The VSO has received national attention for its unique mission serving a home area of 1.7 million across the diverse communities of southeastern Virginia. Through appearances at the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall and commitment to adventurous programming, the VSO and its musicians have been highlighted in the media including The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Public Radio and BBC Worldwide News. As the largest performing arts organization in southeastern Virginia, the VSO and VSO Chorus present more than 150 concerts and events annually for more than 100,000 residents and visitors. Recent innovations include health and wellness programs, including interactive therapeutic experiences for people living with Alzheimer’s and dementia, and adopting welcoming concert environments for those who are neurodiverse. Since 2019, the VSO has been recognized nationally for striving to reflect the region’s ethnic and racial diversity in its members, its programming, and its leadership.

The selection of the young and dynamic conductor Eric Jacobsen as music director earlier this year was another bold step forward for the VSO, further expanding its vision to attract wider and larger audiences with engaging concert experiences and creative and relevant programming. Rounding out the artistic leadership team is Norfolk native Thomas Wilkins in the role of Principal Guest Conductor, reflecting the VSO’s commitment to tell its community’s stories and advance the important conversations that will promote understanding and belonging among all residents.

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