The Virginia Symphony Orchestra

About the VSO

The Virginia Symphony Orchestra was formed when the Norfolk Symphony merged with the Peninsula Symphony Orchestra and the Virginia Beach Pops Symphony in 1979. The Norfolk Symphony was founded in 1920 and, 98 years later, the Virginia Symphony Orchestra is Southeastern Virginia’s preeminent professional symphony orchestra. VSO performances and musicians have been highlighted in state and regional print, online media, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Lifetime network, National Public Radio, and BBC Worldwide News. In 2010, the VSO won an ASCAP award (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) for adventurous programming in recognition of its performance of new works and world premieres by contemporary composers.

Each year, the VSO strives to engage and educate a broad audience by performing for over 100,000 people throughout Hampton Roads and serving more than 45,000 people with our education and community engagement programs. Led by Grammy Award-winning conductor JoAnn Falletta, the VSO performs more than 150 concerts and 100 educational and community engagement activities per year. Now in its 98th season, the VSO has become a cultural cornerstone of Hampton Roads, committed to fostering a dynamic, accessible, and creative community.

JoAnn Falletta

Music Director

Ms. Falletta is internationally celebrated as an inspiring, vibrant, and artistic musical leader. A dynamo on the podium, she also serves as Principal Guest Conductor of the Brevard Music Center, music advisor to the Hawaii Symphony, and as Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.

Ms. Falletta has enchanted audiences across the globe as a guest conductor for some of the  finest symphony orchestras in the world – including over 100 orchestras across North America, as well as  prominent orchestras in Europe, South America, Africa, and Asia.

“One of the finest conductors of her generation.”

– The New York Times

Gonzalo Farias

Assistant Conductor

An engaging orchestral conductor, award-winning pianist and passionate educator, Gonzalo Farias, has been recently appointed Assistant Conductor of the Virginia Symphony. Under the guidance of JoAnn Falletta, Farias’ ambition is to establish music-making as a way of rethinking our place in society by cultivating respect, trust, and cooperation among all people in our community.

He was the Associate Conductor of the Occasional Symphony in Baltimore and the recipient of the prestigious Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Conducting Fellowship for the past two seasons. Out of 566 applicants and 78 countries, he was recently chosen as one of 24 finalists in the prestigious 2018 Malko Conducting Competition with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra.

Farias was born in Santiago de Chile, where he began his piano studies at age five. He earned his bachelor’s degree at the P.C. University of Chile, and then continued his graduate studies at the New England Conservatory as a full-scholarship student of Wha-Kyung Byun and Russell Sherman.


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