The Orchestra

The Charlottesville Symphony at the University of Virginia is one of Central Virginia’s leading musical ensembles. Exciting Masterworks, Holiday and Pops concerts regularly bring audiences to their feet.  Orchestra members also perform at a wide variety of community engagement events and take great music into K-12 classrooms throughout a seven-county region.

The Charlottesville Symphony is a unique blend of professional musicians – many of whom are also music faculty members at the University of Virginia – accomplished community members and talented university students from diverse academic fields.  Together, they create high-energy learning and listening experiences that led one concertgoer to write:

What a privilege to enjoy a performance worthy of a metropolis in a small city like Charlottesville!


Music Director

Benjamin Rous

2017 - present

Admired for his dynamism on the podium, Benjamin Rous was hired as Associate Conductor of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra in 2010 and quickly became a favorite among audiences throughout southeastern Virginia.  Promoted to Resident Conductor in 2013, he took on an expanded role on the VSO's calendar, where he performs annually on every series including Classics, Regional Classics, Pops and the VSO@Roper series.  In the summers he pursues his love of education, serving as faculty conductor at Greenwood Music Camp in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts.

Click here to read more about Ben.

Back to Top


Musicians

Violin
Daniel Sender, Concertmaster
Mary Dean Scott Chair

David Sariti, Principal
Robert D. Cross Memorial Chair

Viola
Ayn Balija, Principal
Elizabeth W. Gatewood Chair

Cello
Adam Carter, Principal
Genevieve B. Horween and Marion H. Chase Chair

Bass
Peter Spaar, Principal
Robert and Ruth Cross Chair

Back to Top

Flute
Kelly Sulick, Principal
Thomas C. and Margaret M. MacAvoy Chair

Oboe
Kelly Peral, Principal
Jason I. and Ellen U. Eckford Chair

Clarinet
To be announced, Interim Principal
Henry Jacob Javor Chair

Bassoon
Elizabeth Roberts, Principal
Ann Saunders Roberts Chair

Horn
Katy Ambrose, Principal
Johanna and Derwood Chase & Chase Investment Counsel Corporation Chair

Trumpet
Rachel Duncan, Principal
Dr. and Mrs. Kennerly H. Digges Chair

Trombone
Nathaniel Lee, Principal
Rawson-Jones Chair

Tuba
Jess Lightner, Interim Principal

Harp
Anastasia Jellison, Principal
The Jefferson Trust Chair

Timpani & Percussion
I-Jen Fang, Principal
James E. and Yolonda T. Roberts Chair

Keyboards
John Mayhood, Principal


Auditions

Membership in the Charlottesville Symphony at the University of Virginia is open to all UVA students, faculty and community musicians through audition. Auditions for the 2018 - 2019 season will take place on August 27 - 29, 2018. Sign-up sheets will be placed in the Old Cabell Hall lobby beginning at 10:00am on Saturday, August 25, 2018. Auditions consist of a brief prepared selection of your choice and orchestral excerpts.  Instructions and excerpts for individual instruments are available for download through the link below. (Additional audition times may be arranged in case of overflow or unavoidable conflicts.)

The orchestra rehearses Wednesday evenings, 7:30-10:00pm, during the UVA academic year. Additional participation in sectional rehearsals is required. String sectionals meet Monday evenings, 5:30-7:00pm. Wind and brass sectionals meet Wednesday evenings, 5:15-6:15pm. Percussion sectionals are scheduled as needed by the Principal Percussionist.

For audition excerpts and more information visit:
http://music.virginia.edu/auditions

Back to Top


History

Throughout its history the Charlottesville Symphony at the University of Virginia has been a source of tremendous civic pride and an emblem of the bond between University and Community. A 1974 Cavalier Daily article wrote of the newly formed orchestra as "the seed of new life for symphonic music in Charlottesville." Over the years the orchestra has made great strides in musicianship, by recruiting professional musicians to serve as the core for an orchestra of principal players, talented students and community musicians.

In 1974, the McIntire Department of Music hired Douglas Hargrave as Music Director to conduct both the orchestra and the wind ensemble. With fifty musicians and an abundance of perseverance and hope, he set the course that would lead to the accomplished group recognized today as an artistic gem in a city with a rich cultural scene. The advent of the subscription series in 1975 was met with such success that pairs of concerts were instituted in 1978.

Music Director Carl Roskott came to the University in 1991, bringing with him experience gained under such celebrated American conductors as Gunther Schuller, Sheldon Morgenstern and Murry Sidlin. Under Maestro Roskott's direction, the orchestra continued to evolve and its reputation flourished. Audiences from throughout Central Virginia came to concerts that frequently sold out.

By the early 1990s, six professional musicians served as principals. Today sixteen professional musicians act as an invaluable artistic resource to the orchestra and to the community as well. These musicians bring music to audiences far beyond the University by teaching classes in local schools, offering lessons to young musicians and performing for local civic and religious organizations. Without question, these distinguished performers are at the forefront of Charlottesville's vibrant artistic scene.

In 2006, celebrated conductor Kate Tamarkin became Music Director and brought new attention to music and the arts in Charlottesville. With her distinguished career, exceptional musicality and inspiring leadership, she brought the orchestra to new heights of artistic achievement. When Maestra Tamarkin announced her retirement in 2016, a year-long search for a new Music Director began. In May 2017, Benjamin Rous, Resident Conductor at the Virginia Symphony, was announced as the orchestra's fourth Music Director.

The unique blend of professional Principal musicians, talented students and community members lends a cultural vibrancy to Charlottesville unparalleled in most cities of this size. From its beginnings forty-four years ago, the orchestra looks forward to a long future of bringing an inspired musical message to the community.

Music Directors

Benjamin Rous: 2017 - present
Kate Tamarkin: 2006 - 2017
Carl Roskott: 1991 - 2006
Douglas Hargrave: 1974 - 1991

Past Seasons

Click here to view a complete listing of all programs performed since 1974.

Back to Top