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Arts & Entertainment

Richmond Symphony announces celebrated Italian conductor as first female Music Director

Peleggi’s engagement comes after a two year search to replace former Music Director Steven Smith, who stepped down at the end of the 2018-19 season after a distinguished decade of service.

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Even amidst these turbulent times, the Richmond Symphony is looking to the future and the return to a sense of normalcy when the music will once again play. The symphony has announced the appointment of award-winning Italian conductor Valentina Peleggi as the organization’s next Music Director. Peleggi will begin her role on July 1, 2020, for an initial four-year period conducting at least ten weeks a season, making Peleggi the sixth Music Director, and first woman in that leadership role.

Peleggi’s engagement comes after a two year search to replace former Music Director Steven Smith, who stepped down at the end of the 2018-19 season after a distinguished decade of service. The Search Committee, comprised of symphony musicians and board members, unanimously selected Peleggi after she spent two weeks with the Symphony in early March, garnering overwhelming support from the orchestra.

Peleggi’s repertoire for the masterworks concert included Rossini’s Overture to La gazza ladra (The Thieving Magpie), Tchaikovsky’s  Francesca da Rimini, Opus 32, Joan Tower’s Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman, No. 2, C. Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A Minor, Opus 7 and Respighi’s Pines of Rome with guest artist Angela Cheng, pianist.

Peleggi will conduct eight weeks of concerts in the 2020/21 Season, including opening the Symphony’s season with a ‘Big Tent’ open-air community festival, four Masterworks concert weeks, and chamber orchestra concerts in the Symphony’s Rush Hour and Metro Series.

“The passion, enthusiasm and profound musical sensitivity of the musicians of the Richmond Symphony impressed me enormously from our very first rehearsal,  said Peleggi. “Making music with these wonderful artists is truly a privilege. I look forward to creating exciting new projects, sharing inspiring music with our community, and working with the Symphony’s staff and the orchestra’s innovative educational and choral programs. We will get through these challenging times as we focus on shaping and imagining the future together. I believe we will be a great team and I can’t wait to call Richmond my new home.”

Described by the BBC Music Magazine as “rising star”, Peleggi has led orchestras from around the world, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Orchestra of Wales, Norrkoping Symphony (Sweden), Orchestra della Toscana and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and will shortly release her first CD on Naxos.

Originally from Florence, Peleggi was the first Italian woman to enter the conducting program at the Royal Academy of Music in London, and was recently honoured with the title of Associate. Currently a Mackerras Fellow with the English National Opera and Guest Music Director with the Theatro São Pedro in São Paulo, Brazil, Peleggi previously served as Resident Conductor of the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the São Paulo Symphony Chorus and as Music Director for ten years of the University Choir of Florence, where she now holds the position of Honorary Conductor after receiving a special award from the Italian Government in recognition of her work. She won the 2014 Conducting Prize at the Festival International de Inverno Campos do Jordão, the Bruno Walter Memorial Foundation Conducting Prize at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in California, and the 2015-2017 Taki Concordia Conducting Fellowship under Marin Alsop.

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Arts & Entertainment

Burning Man artist Kate Raudenbush to premiere exhibit at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in 2023

A collaborative effort born out of the legendary Burning Man community, the exhibit will offer a quest for self-inquiry inside the Garden’s peaceful oasis.

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Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden has announced Burning Man artist Kate Raudenbush will premiere her enchanting and evocative new exhibit Incanto: An Oasis of Lyrical Sculpture at the Garden in 2023. In collaboration with poet Sha Michele, the show will feature five monumental sculptures and runs from April 28 through October 29, 2023.

A collaborative effort born out of the legendary Burning Man community, the exhibit will offer a quest for self-inquiry inside the Garden’s peaceful oasis. The artists are designing the experience with Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in mind in this first showing of their art in a botanical garden setting.

Intricately and beautifully designed from a range of laser-cut, mixed metals such as weathered steel; mirror-polished, hammered stainless steel; and patinated bronze, most sculptures will invite visitors to step inside. With heights reaching up to seventeen feet, they will serve as portals to other worlds of thought, meaning, and healing.

Each piece is being created in dialogue with the landscape to embrace companion plantings and water features developed in collaboration with the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden Horticulture team. Dramatically lit from within and paired with poetry, the art will create multi-sensory experiences inviting further exploration at night. As a result, the Garden will offer many related events, classes, and even extended hours on select evenings.

The Garden will share the work in progress with exclusive content in the months before the show’s debut. Everyone is invited to follow the journey as these two artists create an experience specially designed for the community. Learn more here.

Currently living and working in New York City, Kate Raudenbush and Sha Michele’s friendship began in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada at Burning Man in 2000. The idea for Incanto was born in the silent spaces of solitary self-inquiry during the global pandemic of 2020. @KateRaudenbush @ShaMicheleArts.

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Arts & Entertainment

VMFA, Starr Hill Brewery team up on limited edition beer to celebrate upcoming ‘Storied Strings’ guitar exhibition

The exclusive brew will debut at an evening launch party being held from 4:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 1, 2022, at Starr Hill Beer Hall & Rooftop in Richmond.

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Starr Hill Brewery and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) recently announced the launch of a limited-edition beer, Storied Strings Lager, developed to celebrate the museum’s upcoming exhibition, Storied Strings: The Guitar in American Art.

The exclusive brew will debut at an evening launch party being held from 4:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 1, 2022, at Starr Hill Beer Hall & Rooftop in Richmond. Storied Strings Lager will be available for purchase by guests ages 21 and older with IDs. For more information about the Storied Strings Lager release party, visit www.VMFA.museum.

“To expand the awareness of our institution and to reach new audiences, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts thoughtfully engages local community businesses in smart and unique collaborations,” said Jan Hatchette, VMFA’s Deputy Director for Communications and Marketing. “Working with Starr Hill’s talented brewers to develop Storied Strings Lager has been an exciting creative experience. This carefully crafted beer in its distinctive can will help to introduce VMFA and our upcoming exhibition, Storied Strings: The Guitar in American Art, to a new generation of visitors.”

Storied Strings Lager, available starting October 1, 2022, is a harmonious fusion of Starr Hill and VMFA’s shared passion for music and art. The special brew is a light-bodied beer prominently featuring German malts, which provide its pale amber color and notes of biscuit and toffee on the palate. This subtle malt sweetness is balanced by German Hallertau hops and a crisp, clean finish. It is perfect for a concert or backyard jam.

Available in 4-packs of 16-ounce cans and draft, Storied Strings Lager will be sold across Virginia at Starr Hill’s six breweries and at VMFA’s Best Café and Amuse Restaurant for a limited time — until March 19, 2023, or supplies sell out.

Storied Strings Lager’s eye-catching can features Jessie with Guitar (1957), a work by eminent American artist Thomas Hart Benton (1889–1975). The iconic painting is one of more than 150 works of art and instruments that will be included in the exhibition Storied Strings: The Guitar in American Art on view at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts from October 8, 2022 to March 19, 2023.

“Since its inception, Starr Hill has strived to create a connection between high-quality beer and great music. The brewery has supported and will continue to support local artists and musicians across the Commonwealth,” said Allie Hochman, General Manager at Starr Hill Richmond. “Starr Hill is thrilled to partner with VMFA on this collaboration, and we look forward to sharing Storied Strings Lager with art and beer fans everywhere!”

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Arts & Entertainment

Richmond Folk Festival Poster Revealed

The 18th official Richmond Folk Festival poster artist is Cassandra Kim.

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About the artist from Richmond Folk Festival.

We’re excited to introduce you to the 18th official Richmond Folk Festival poster artist, Cassandra Kim. She joins a storied group of artists that includes Mickael Broth, Chris Milk, Hamilton Glass and more! (See all past 17 posters).

Cassandra’s poster art will also grace the official Richmond Folk Festival beer can brewed by Hardywood Park Brewing Company. Hardywood Folk Festbier (5.4% ABV) pays homage to the modern-day German-style Oktoberfest celebration beer. Brewed with Munich and Vienna malts, this lager beer promotes a full body and malt roundness that is balanced with moderate bitterness from traditional German Tettnang and Spalt hops. Folk Festbier will be available on draft all festival weekend, and in cans with Cassandra’s artwork at Richmond-area Krogers.

Tell us a little bit about you and your background. Are you from Richmond?

I’m a Virginia native and I’ve been a professional artist for almost twenty years, and I transitioned to working with galleries about four years ago. I like to work in acrylic and oil and my pieces are animal-based paintings with a surrealistic twist, typically inspired by art of the past. I like to work with vintage/antique frames and reclaimed wood, and repair and restore them myself. I am married with twin five-year-old girls and am constantly trying to balance painting with parenthood. My studio is in my dining room so it’s a bit of a funny place to create in the midst of the happy chaos of small children, but it surprisingly works great for me. I grew up in Leesburg, Virginia and first came to Richmond as an art student at VCU in 1999. After I graduated I moved back to northern Virginia for a bit and then after I got married I came back in 2013. I lived up to the old local saying, “You never really leave Richmond forever.”

Have you attended the Festival before, if so any good memories or thoughts about it?

I’m a huge fan of the Folk Festival. It always feels like it’s officially Fall here when the festival kicks off. I, unfortunately, haven’t been able to attend the last couple of years due to covid, but I have so many fond memories of meeting up with friends and family, eating yummy food, and listening to fantastic music. I can’t wait for my husband and I to bring our kids this year.

What was your inspiration/thought process for the Folk Fest design?

I seriously geeked out at the chance to create the poster because I love going to the festival as well as I have so much respect for the previous artists that worked on the poster in past years. I wanted my poster to be my pop-surrealistic ode to some of my favorite illustrators of the past. The back circle has a Maxfield Parrish style gradient, and the James River Railway Bridge under the circle is playing on similar design elements I saw in Leyendecker and Rockwell illustrations on their covers of Saturday Evening Posts. I wanted to push a vintage vibe with this, so I hand lettered all of the big type. I also love animals and enjoy the challenge of painting them jamming out as a musical trio in some classy clothes (the paws playing the instruments were the most challenging part). Overall, I hope the feeling you get from this is fun, because that’s what the festival is, fun and welcome to all.

 

What are some of your favorite things to do in Richmond?

This is such a wonderful city! I adore taking my kids to all the parks and museums like: Lewis Ginter, Maymont, Pony Pasture, VMFA, Science Museum, and the Poe Museum. I also love the food scene, we’re lucky here with so many brilliant chefs. The options to kick back with a quality drink and amazing food are endless here.

Artists Website

Original Poster Artwork on Auction!

We will also be auctioning the original art created by Cassandra to benefit the Festival! Start bidding now! The artwork is acrylic and oil on masonite (18in. x 24in.) framed in a gold wood frame 22″ x 28″. This is a rare opportunity to own the original artwork from one of our posters! The auction will close Wednesday, October 12, 2022.

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We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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