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Virginia Chamber Orchestra marks 50th anniversary with move to Capital One Hall for performances

Pianist Brian Ganz will perform at Capital One Hall on Oct. 23 (photo by Jay Mallin/Virginia Chamber Orchestra)

The Virginia Chamber Orchestra is on the move.

After decades at Northern Virginia Community College’s Ernest Center in Annandale, the professional nonprofit orchestra will shift its base for performances and dress rehearsals to Capital One Hall (7750 Capital One Tower Road) in Tysons.

While the group has played outdoors during the pandemic, VCO will kick off its tenure at the new performing arts venue with a 50th anniversary gala and a concert on Saturday (Oct. 23) — its first indoor event since March 2020.

“This move illuminates a trend to large, impressive, acoustically excellent arts venues outside of the city center,” a news release says.

The concert, titled “An Evening in Italy,” will be held at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $40 plus fees.

The gala will be held at 6 p.m., featuring cocktails and dinner as part of fundraising for the organization’s operations. The event will recognize donors as well as the Tysons McLean Orchestra, which announced in June it was ceasing operations after half a century.

“They thought it would be nice to recognize us,” said Ann Page, former TMO president and executive director. “This orchestra, 50 years ago, started out with volunteers.”

Joan Braitsch, former VCO board of trustees president and the gala’s chair, said that as part of event, sponsors and donors will each be given a plaque consisting of a signed copy of the music as a memento.

The VCO shared the following details on the event:

Marking the first appearance of Music Director David Grandis since receiving an International Conducting Prize, the concert will feature guest artist pianist Brian Ganz, one of the leading pianists of his generation, performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major, K. 488. Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4 (“Italian”) will be another program highlight. …

Ganz commented: ‘You sometimes hear talk that classical music is in decline. I’ve been thrilled to see how people are flocking to concerts as live performing returns, and the opening of this gem of a concert hall in northern Virginia is part of that testament to the vital importance of classical music in our lives. The exact opposite of decline!’ …

For the orchestra’s first concert following the shutdown, David Grandis selected a program ‘particularly soothing and uplifting. Rossini’s overture will bring joy, lightness and excitement, and Brian Ganz’s interpretation of the Mozart’s K.488 will be an absolute delight, not to be missed. The program will conclude with Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony, a joyful recollection of Mendelssohn’s travel in a sunny place and in better times.’

Braitsch says the move to Capital One Hall reflects a general push in the arts world to expand outside of city centers.

“More and more, there is this trend of trying to bring arts into the communities,” she said. “We wanted to move to Tysons because the population is anticipated to grow so much.”

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