Walter Bitner

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Meet the Artist, A Workshop with Tracy Silverman

130 students from 22 Richmond Public Schools Elementary Schools participated in Meet the Artist: A Workshop with Tracy Silverman on March 10, 2020, Dominion Energy Center, Richmond (click images to enlarge)

 

On Tuesday, March 10, internationally renowned electric violinist Tracy Silverman visited Richmond for workshops and performances with Richmond Public Schools students and with the students of Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra Program.

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Richmond Symphony Musical Ambassadors Program (MAP) 2020

Richmond Symphony Principal Flute Mary Boodell demonstrates her instrument during a performance by the Principal Woodwind Quintet at Rural Point Elementary School, Mechanicsville, Virginia, February 27, 2020 (click images to enlarge)

 

Many of my students will never make it to see a group of musicians perform, so I think the most valuable thing they learned was what instruments sound like in real life, as opposed to just a recording. I can play videos of musicians all day, but it’s still just a video.

~ local school teacher after a MAP performance

 

One of the most wide-reaching and robust programs we produce, the Richmond Symphony Musical Ambassadors Program (MAP) curates, develops, rehearses, and performs over 125 concerts each season in metropolitan Richmond area schools. Although many in our community may be unaware even of the existence of this program, it nonetheless fulfills a vital aspect of our music education mission, introducing more than 45,000 children to classical music and the instruments of the orchestra every year.

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Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra Program

 

Meet the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra Program through this three minute video we made over the last couple of months! Turn your sound up!

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Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra Side-By-Side with the Richmond Symphony, February 9

Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra, Daniel Myssyk, conductor after a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, November 17, 2019, Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center, Richmond (click images to enlarge)

 

Next weekend, the young musicians of Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra in collaboration with the Richmond Symphony present our annual Side-By-Side concert: the culmination of months of work on the part of the students, and a highlight of the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra Program (YOP) season. This year’s Side-By-Side promises to be a memorable occasion for all, as 125 musicians gather together on stage to perform Hector Berlioz’s monumental Symphonie Fantastique.

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Menuhin Competition Richmond 2020 Announces Competitors, TwoSet Violin, and More

 

Its been my privilege to work next door to the U.S. team planning this year’s Menuhin Competition Richmond 2020 since I began working at the Richmond Symphony in August (our offices share a wall). So I’ve been inspired on a regular basis as hints were dropped about details for this major international musical event, as hints became hopes became plans, applications were made, contracts were drawn up, and all of a sudden here it is: January 22, the day of days, the red letter day!

Today is the day when much of what has been kept secret is finally revealed. (more…)

It’s a Symphony Sing-A-Long! January 25

 

Next Saturday, the Richmond Symphony presents our third LolliPops concert of the 2019-20 season:

It’s a Symphony Sing-A-Long
Richmond Symphony
Chia-Hsuan Lin, conductor
Sarah Kate Walston, soloist

Saturday, January 25, 2020
10 am: Pre-concert Festival
11 am: Concert
Carpenter Theatre
Dominion Energy Center, Richmond

Purchase tickets here on the Richmond Symphony website.

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2019: What Kind of Blog Is This?

Posing with the Boticelli ~ this painting was the star of the exhibit “Life, Love & Marriage Chests in Renaissance Italy” at the Frist Art Museum, Nashville, where I was invited to perform a recital of Italian Renaissance lute masterworks on February 14, 2019. (click images to enlarge)

Off The Podium Reflections, with a few Statistics

My annual review of Off The Podium, in which I share some thoughts, highlights, and statistics from the past year. Sometimes this blog is a little all over the place, hence the title.

This is the fifth year in a row that I have written this summary, and this year’s report will be a little different from the format of previous years. There are fewer lists this year and fewer statistics. This year’s review is more reflective and anecdotal.

2019 brought tremendous change for me and my family. Both of our children graduated (one from high school, one from graduate school), I accepted a new job in a new city, and my wife and I packed everything up, sold our house in Nashville and moved. After nearly sixteen years in Music City, we now reside in Richmond, Virginia, where I serve as Director of Education and Community Engagement for the Richmond Symphony.

Off The Podium continues to provide a great means to share the activities of my work in music education with the world (now at the Richmond Symphony), and to continue to develop my writing on the topics of Music and Education. Off The Podium reaches thousands of readers all over the world. Thank you everyone for your continued encouragement and support!

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Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra Program Winter Concert, December 8

Richmond Symphony YOP Camerata Strings, Rebecca Jilcott, conductor, rehearses in Carpenter Theatre, December 3, 2019 (click images to enlarge)

 

This Sunday, Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra Program (RSYOP) ensembles String Sinfonietta, Wind Ensemble, Camerata Strings, and Youth Concert Orchestra will perform their first concert of the season in Carpenter Theatre at Dominion Energy Center. At Tuesday evening rehearsals over the last few weeks, anticipation among students, parents, and staff has been palpable as the concert approached.

“I am excited for the students to participate in this concert.” said Camerata Strings conductor Rebecca Jilcott. “They have worked hard and have the capability to perform very well.  It is out of my hands at this point and I graciously put the music into these young performers hands..”

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Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra Fall Concert, November 17

Conductor Daniel Myssyk leads Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra rehearsal, November 5, 2019, Dominion Energy Center, Richmond (click images to enlarge)

 

One of the many aspects of my new position at the Richmond Symphony that I love is the opportunity to interact with students and staff of the symphony’s wonderful Youth Orchestra Program. On Tuesday afternoons, more than two hundred young musicians from metropolitan Richmond and beyond gather downtown to make music in five ensembles. When I arrived in Richmond to begin my new position back in August, the most advanced of these ensembles – Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra (RSYO) had already begun rehearsals for the season, and the other four ensembles began their seasons within a few weeks of my arrival. Now as the weather turns colder and the holidays draw near, the anticipation and excitement among all involved are palpable as we prepare for the first performances of the season.

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Three Chopt Festival

(click images to enlarge)

 

The Richmond Symphony presents a FREE festival of music on Saturday, September 14, from 1 – 7:30 pm at Bandy Field Nature Park: an inclusive community celebration highlighting the diverse neighborhoods and unique quality of Richmond’s West End. Proceeds generated from the event will be used to support and enhance music and art education in Richmond Public Schools. Culminating in a performance by the Richmond Symphony, the Three Chopt Festival will feature a variety of musical performances throughout the day as well as a KIDS ZONE, food trucks, a beer garden, and more.

 

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