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Gladys Knight to headline start of Richmond Symphony's new season

Gladys Knight
Posted at 1:05 PM, Sep 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-05 10:07:00-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- The Richmond Symphony is kicking off its new season with its acclaimed musicians and 7-time Grammy award-winner Gladys Knight.

"Last year, we were so lucky to have Yo-Yo Ma here with us," Matt Wilshire, the Richmond Symphony's director of artistic planning and orchestra operations, said. "So we were really intentional this year that we wanted to bring a major pop artist to start the season with the symphony."

Wilshire said the "stars just kind of all aligned" to allow for the pop star to open the start of the season Saturday, Sept. 9 at 3 p.m. at the Altria Theater.

"I'm really excited because you're gonna get to hear a lot of her most well-known tunes like 'I Heard It Through the Grapevine,' 'Midnight Train to Georgia,'" Wilshire said. "And those tunes are going to be accompanied by the orchestra."

Gladys Knight
Gladys Knight

The performance will be led by the symphony's sixth music director, who is from Florence, Italy, and is the first woman in that leadership role since 2020.

"I'm especially excited to get to see Gladys working with Valentina Peleggi our music director, because they're just two incredible women," Wilshire said. "So getting to see them work together is just going to be a really special moment."

Other concerts for the season will be at various locations like the Dominion Energy Center, Pocahontas State Park, Hardywood. Performances will include the music of "Ghostbusters" and "Black Panther," a tribute to Gospel Music legend Richard Smallwood and an event called "Resurrection Mixtape."

"Which is a combination of the music of Tupac and Biggie Smalls with Mahler's Second Symphony," Wilshire explained. "People who love Mahler will love this concert, but everybody who grew up listening to Tupac and Biggie are going to walk away from this saying, 'Man, I wish I could have seen those guys play with an orchestra.'"

Matt Wilshire with Richmond Symphony
Matt Wilshire with Richmond Symphony

The Richmond Symphony is also focused on working with Virginian or Virginian-based artists and composers.

"Our biggest goals as a company right now are to elevate Virginia stories and Virginia voices at every opportunity that we can get," Wilshire said.

Richmond Symphony
Richmond Symphony

And sometimes that means taking the symphony to the community and appealing to a new generation.

"And so we head up to Randolph Macon about four times a year. We go to Ashland, we go south of the city, we go all around," Wilshire said. "We did a concert in Abner Clay Park this last year; we're going to always do things deepen in the community as well."

There is a lot in store for the new season, including a continued collaboration with the Richmond Ballet, and performances for everyone’s taste.

Click here for more information about the Richmond Symphony’s new season or to get tickets.

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