The Petersburg Symphony Orchestra returns with a concert at Virginia State University

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The Petersburg Symphony Orchestra will perform its next concert Sunday at 4 p.m. in Virginia State University’s historic Anderson-Turner Auditorium.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for current students and seniors.

“The St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra is always looking to grow and expand its community work. We need many community partners to help us do this work. We are thrilled that Virginia State University has opened its doors for rehearsal space and performance space as needed. We have gone from a concert offer of 200 seats to now 900 seats to fill the Anderson-Turner Auditorium. It is a major undertaking. We have to shout from the top of the mountains that we are here so that everyone can participate. Music is what heals us from the great loss and devastation that afflicts our community,” said General Manager Brian C. Little Sr.

The spring concert presents Symphony No. 9 in E minor “From the New World” by Dvorak. It’s a celebration of American sound and contribution. As the theme of this concert reflects the current times we live in, PSO Maestra mentions that “resilience” can be linked to the 9th symphony, popularly known as the New World Symphony, composed by Antonín Dvořák in 1893 .

Audience members will hear elements characteristic of Native American music and the spirituals of enslaved Africans, including syncopated rhythms, pentatonic scales, and flat sevenths in this composition.

This concert is special in that it will be the first time that the Petersburg Symphony Orchestra will present a relatively new work entitled “Before Dawn” by Jasmine Arielle Barnes. She says “Before Dawn” is childish and is a somewhat playful take on the life of nocturnal animals. The piece illustrates the daily lives of animals at sunset and the rest they receive at sunrise.

Barnes is an up-and-coming songwriter/singer who has performed and had her music performed around the world. She is a multi-faceted composer who embraces all styles of musical writing using a variety of instruments and specializes in writing for voice.

As a full-time composer, Barnes is Composer-in-Residence for the American Lyric Theater and has held residencies as Composer Fellow through Chautauqua Opera‘s 2021 season, as well as a residency with All Classical Portland. She has had the privilege of being commissioned by many organizations such as the Washington National Opera (to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy Center), Bare Opera, Resonance Ensemble, Tapestry Choir, City Works Cleveland, LyricFest Philadelphia, Baltimore Choral Arts, Burleigh Music Festival, Symphony Number One, Baltimore Musicales, The Voic(ed) Project, among others. The St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra is delighted with this opportunity.

The Symphony Orchestra is now in its 45th season. Founded by VSU Professor Dr. F. Nathaniel Gatlin and having lost his beloved second PSO Maestro Ulysses Kirksey while dealing with the effects of COVID, it has been a difficult two years for the symphony. New Maestra Naima Burrs talks about continuing to play music during these times and extending the orchestra’s legacy into the future.

“To say it’s an absolute honor to serve in this capacity, as the next Music Director, would be an understatement,” Burrs said. “Petersburg’s history is incredible, and the work that Dr. Gatlin and Maestro Kirksey have done to ensure the PSO is an impactful cultural resource for the community has been invaluable. My goal is to continue to honor this incredible legacy, serve the community, and share the wonderful power of music with all. I want to expand our outreach efforts to create an important and lasting relationship with the public school system, ensuring that all students have access to the arts.

Tickets for the concert are $20 for adults and $10 for seniors and students and can be purchased on the website or on the Eventbrite website by searching for Petersburg Symphony. Get your tickets early to secure your spot.

To learn more about the St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, its upcoming concerts, and how you can get involved, please log on to www.petersburgsymphony.org.

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