Education and Community Engagement

School-based Programs

Elizabeth G. Schneider Discovery Concerts
Music Ambassadors Program
Open Rehearsals
Symphony at School (S@S)

Elizabeth G. Schneider Discovery Concerts

"Most of our K-2 students have never seen a live musical performance by anyone let alone the symphony. The joy experienced was palpable. Thank you so much for adding this type of performance to the Discovery series."

"You hit the nail on the head with this -- absolutely excellent!" — DISCOVERY TEACHER

Elizabeth G. Schneider Discovery Concerts, held during the school day, engage young minds through exciting full-orchestra performances. These morning performances by the Richmond Symphony correlate with Virginia Standards of Learning. Both Discovery programs presented in the 2014-15 season will be exploring the elements of music and improving students’ listening skills. Participating schools receive student listening guides, a teacher guide and concert repertoire in advance of the performance. Concerts serve city, county, private and home-schooled students. Tickets are $6 (general admission) One free chaperone ticket with 10 paid student tickets.

Reservation Form

Two Discovery Concerts New for 2014-15

The Richmond Symphony offers two age-appropriate Discovery Concerts:

Gregory Smith's The Orchestra Games
conducted by Erin R. Freeman
for grades Pre-K — 3
March 20, 2015, 9:45 & 11:30am
Carpenter Theatre

Not just a "get-to-know-the-instruments" piece, The Orchestra Games goes further by exploring the personalities of the various instruments while acquainting the listener with basic musical elements as it sprints through an Olympic array of events. The work begins with a ceremonial introduction of the players and then romps through various events such as the low note limbo, the fast note dash, the marathon and others. These events demonstrate the capabilities of orchestral instruments while keeping the audience happily engaged in the friendly competition. Visit the composer's website to hear an excerpt:

Music Worth Investigating
conducted by Keitaro Harada
for grades 4 – 8
October 22, 2014, 9:45 & 11:30 am
March 25*, 2015, 9:45 & 11:30 am

(*Inclement weather date: April 15, 2015)

Carpenter Theatre
Invite your students to tap into their inner scientist and dissect music with The Richmond Symphony. The focus of this concert will be on the elements of music — reinforcing and illustrating the musical concepts and vocabulary necessary for music study. To do this, we will employ the familiar strategies of scientific inquiry from science class. Students will be engaged in making observations, predictions, and drawing conclusions. We will be classifying instruments and playing with variables in theme and variation form. Students will identify patterns, and recognize qualitative and quantitative data. Concert repertoire to include works by Haydn, Britten, and more.
For High School students only: check out our new, interactive open rehearsal format.

Musical Ambassadors Program (MAP)

"The ensemble did an outstanding job at our school. They utilized effective student participation and were very personable and engaging." — MAP TEACHER

"Excellent commentary about the instruments. Loved the audience participation!"" — MAP TEACHER

Reservation Form

Four chamber ensembles of the Richmond Symphony perform over 100 concerts annually for more than 30,000 school children in Chesterfield, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, Powhatan, New Kent and Richmond Public Schools as well as private and home schools. Performances for students of all ages are upbeat and informal. Programs are age appropriate, last approximately 30 – 45 minutes, and relate to the theme of the Elizabeth G. Schneider Discovery Concert. Elementary school programs are most effective when presented to audiences of 300 students or less; same day, back-to-back ensemble performances at one location are available. MAP performances are offered to Chesterfield, Hanover, Henrico, and Richmond Public Schools at no charge and are available to other districts, private and home school groups at affordable rates.

Richmond Symphony Strings (RSS) + 1 percussionist

Instrumentation: Violin (10), viola (3), cello (2), bass (1) plus percussion

String Quartet

Instrumentation: violin (2), viola, cello

Woodwind Quintet (WW5)

Instrumentation: flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn

Brass Quintet (BQ) + 1 percussionist

Instrumentation: trumpet (2),French horn, trombone, tuba plus percussion

Open Rehearsals for High School and College Students

Reservations must be made in advance through the RSO Education Department using this online form.

This is your chance to see the Richmond Symphony (RSO) at work in rehearsal in the Carpenter Theatre. Open Rehearsals give high school and college students and their teachers the opportunity to learn from Richmond Symphony musicians, guest artists and conductors. Students are invited to observe a complete (2½ hour) rehearsal; there will be a 15-minute break approximately halfway through. Following the rehearsal, the conductor, guest artists and/or select members of the RSO may take questions from students.

**Select open rehearsals will have a new interactive format (see schedule). Hosted by a member of the RSO conducting staff, students will be invited to BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) for real-time updates during the rehearsal via social media.

Open Rehearsals are free of charge, but seating is limited.

Please note that rehearsal orders for each date are determined by the conductor and are subject to last-minute changes; Please note the rehearsal you will be attending may not include all of the repertoire and/or soloists listed.


Tchaikovsky 4
Thursday, November 6 @ 7:30pm

Steven Smith, conductor / Richard King, horn

Marta Ptaszyńska Lumen for Orchestra
R. Strauss Horn Concerto No. 1 in E-flat Major
Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4 in F minor

Rachmaninoff 2
Thursday, January 15 @ 7:30pm

Steven Smith, conductor / Adam Golka, piano

Jennifer Higdon Blue Cathedral
Brahms Symphony No. 3 in F Major
Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor

Elgar and Sibelius**
Interactive Format
Hosted by Keitaro Harada, Associate Conductor
Thursday, April 16 @ 7:30pm

Steven Smith, conductor / Daisuke Yamamoto, violin

Benjamin Broening World Premiére: RSO commission
Sibelius Violin Concerto in D minor
Elgar Enigma Variations

Bernstein: Chichester Psalms
Thursday, May 7 @ 3:30pm

Steven Smith, conductor / Richmond Symphony Chorus

Borodin Prince Igor: Polovtsian Dances
Bernstein Chichester Psalms
Prokofiev Symphony No. 5

Symphony @ School

Symphony@School (S@S) is an intensive, in-school residency program offered by The Richmond Symphony String Quintet to middle & high school orchestra programs. Residencies will include the following components: planning with orchestra directors and school administrators, in-school performances by the RSO String Quintet, sectional coaching with RSO musicians, and rehearsals with RSO conductors. Additionally, students, teachers, and their families will be invited to an upcoming concert as guests of the Richmond Symphony.

Each residency will occur over a time period of approximately one month. There will be no cost to the school for a residency, but there may be costs associated with student transportation that will be the responsibility of schools and/or students. Host schools should be prepared to support each residency by providing adequate space, logistical support, and by supporting students' attendance at a RSO concert (tickets provided by RSO).

For more information, or if you are interested in bringing the musicians of the Richmond Symphony to your school, please contact Aimee Halbruner at