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Experience the Holiday Classic Handel’s Messiah

M E D I A  A D V I S O R Y

November 12, 2015 – Richmond Virginia Messiah will light up Richmond CenterStage’s Carpenter Theatre and lift the spirits of all during this holiday season. The Richmond Symphony, Richmond Symphony Chorus, and an exceptional cast of soloists join together again under the direction of Erin Freeman for the annual holiday favorite, Handel’s Messiah on Friday, December 4 at 7:30pm. Handel’s masterpiece portrays Christ’s birth, passion, and resurrection through passages of stunning beauty and timeless melodies including the popular “Hallelujah Chorus.” The quartet of soloists includes Laura Strickling (soprano), Jessica Renfro (mezzo-soprano), Theo Lebow (tenor), and Sumner Thompson (baritone).

Tickets start at $20 online at richmondsymphony.com or by calling 1.800.514 ETIX.

This concert is sponsored by The Wauford Group.

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About Erin Freeman

Hailed by the press as engaging, elegant, and entertaining, Erin Freeman holds a joint position with the Richmond Symphony, where she serves as Director of the Richmond Symphony Chorus, and Virginia Commonwealth University, where she is Director of Choral Activities. This unique appointment comes on the heels of seven successful years as the Richmond Symphony’s Associate Conductor, and includes overseeing all of the choral ensembles at VCU and preparing the 150-voice Richmond Symphony Chorus. Projects for this season include Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, a performance honoring the Richmond Symphony Chorus’s founder, James Erb, and a collaboration with VCU’s Global HIV-AIDS initiative.

In addition to her work in Richmond, Freeman just completed her first season as Artistic Director of Wintergreen Performing Arts. Her creative and vibrant programming resulted in record crowds, multiple sell-outs, increased donations, and an endorsement in the Washington Post. Under her leadership, the Festival boasted 20 world premieres; the Wintergreen Summer Music Academy expanded to include voice, conducting, and arts administration programs; and a new interactive program for the patrons, called Community Barn Week, proved wildly popular.

Freeman has been a frequent guest conductor with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and served as Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus. She has also Guest Conducted the South Carolina Philharmonic, the Savannah Symphony, the Richmond Ballet, and other ensembles in Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, Missouri, and Illinois. In summer 2015, she made her debut with Berkshire Choral International and the Springfield Symphony, and this upcoming season, Freeman will guest conduct two honors ensembles, will lead several performances by the Richmond Symphony, and will continue her association with the Richmond Ballet.

Passionate about making classical music accessible to all, Freeman served as Director of Orchestras at Baltimore School for the Arts and American University, Conductor at Northwestern University’s National High School Music Institute, Lecturer for the National Philharmonic and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the Richmond Philharmonic, and Resident Conductor at Peabody Conservatory. She has instructed national seminars for the Conductor’s Guild and serves on their board of directors as vice president.

Winner of numerous awards, including the Women’s Philharmonic Conducting Scholarship, Freeman was selected by Virginia Lawyer’s Weekly as one of Virginia’s 50 most influential women. She holds a Bachelor of Music from Northwestern University, a Master of Music from Boston University, and a Doctorate of Musical Arts from Peabody Conservatory.  Teachers and masterclass instructors include Gustav Meier, Victor Yampolsky, Helmuth Rilling, Murry Sidlin, and Robert Shaw.

About the Richmond Symphony

Founded in 1957, the Richmond Symphony is the largest performing arts organization in Central Virginia. The organization includes an orchestra of more than 70 professional musicians, the 150-voice Richmond Symphony Chorus and more than 260 students in the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra programs. Each season, more than 200,000 members of the community enjoy concerts, radio broadcasts, and educational outreach programs. The Richmond Symphony is partially funded by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

About the Richmond Symphony Chorus

James Erb organized the all-volunteer Richmond Symphony Chorus in 1971 for a December performance of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, under guest conductor Robert Shaw. For 36 years, Erb continued to direct and build the Chorus to reflect the Symphony’s high standards. Erin Freeman assumed leadership of the Chorus at the start of its 2007–08 season. The repertoire for its selected volunteer membership has included most of the standard repertoire for chorus and orchestra: Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, St. John Passion and Mass in B Minor, Haydn’s Creation, Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 and Choral Fantasy, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Requiem settings by Mozart, Brahms, Verdi and Faure, Mahler’s Symphony No.2, Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony and all of Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe. Over the years they have also sung shorter choral-orchestral works by Handel, Mozart, Schubert, Brahms, Bruckner, Delius, Debussy, Barber, Britten, Richard Strauss, Vaughan Williams, Stravinsky, Olivier Messiaen and Luigi Dallapiccola. Recent projects have included a performance and recording of Mahler Symphony No. 8 with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, under the direction of JoAnn Falletta, a performance with the Richmond Symphony in the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, and a recreation of the Chorus’s inaugural performance of Missa Solemnis.