Blue Ridge Chamber Orchestra
Charlottesville's community string ensemble since 1988
The Blue Ridge Chamber Orchestra is a classical string ensemble of roughly two dozen musicians who love playing and performing, and who seek the camaraderie of others who share this vocation. For over two decades, the BRCO has provided this opportunity. Orchestra members include adult musicians of all ages from Charlottesville and surrounding central Virginia. Our membership includes local music teachers and semiprofessional performers, veterans of high school and college orchestras, and advanced/intermediate adult learners.
We try to increase local interest in chamber and orchestral music through our concerts, normally free to the public. Our two or three programs each year have featured local musicians as soloists, and music by local composers.
As a dynamic community organization, we
are always open to adding new members, subject to balance in the
sections. Please contact us if you are interested in joining. We
rehearse on most Monday evenings during the academic year at
Charlottesville Friends Meeting, 1104 Forest Street, in central
December 14, 2013. Trinity Episcopal Church,
Contact us: Email: BRCO. Phone: (434)-295-1617.
2014 reshearsals will start in early January. We welcome new musicians!
If you think you might enjoy playing with the BRCO, please email Hank or use the above
contact info. Rehearsals
are normally Monday evenings from 7:30-9:30, at Charlottesville Friends
1104 Forest Street, Charlottesville. (This is next to Murray High
The expenses of the orchestra are primarily met through member's dues
and the contributions of supporters. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit
organization, and contributions to the orchestra are tax
deductible. Please contact us
if you are interested
in supporting us financially,
Watch us on
The BRCO was founded in 1988 by local violinist and teacher Alexandra McCracken, with the purpose of providing a setting in which adult musicians of varying musical backgrounds might experience the joy of making music in a collegial, non-competitive setting.
When Ms. McCracken left the area in the early 1990's, the conductor's baton was passed to Richard Baritaud. In this period, the orchestra regularly played concerts at the new Senior Center. We still maintain a variant of this tradition by playing "dress rehearsal" concerts at various of the local area retirement communities.
Philip Clark conducted the orchestra in the late 1990's. A musical highlight was playing Concerto for Bassoon and Strings by Walter Ross, emeritus professor of music at U VA and bass player in the orchestra for many years. Paul Kim, a graduate student of conducting at U VA, directed the orchestra in 2002. When he was called up for army reserve duties the next year, local musician and conductor Eric Stassen ably guided us through our next concert.
Since fall of
2003, the BRCO has been reunited with Richard Baritaud. Our spring 2004
concert included the premiere of Paul Kim's Dave Matthews Band
Concerto, guest conducted by the composer. In
the past decade we have played as part of
both the Jefferson Thanksgiving Festival, and the Bach's Lunch
concert series. Various of our
concerts have continued to feature music by Walter Ross; in particular,
three Ross works were played at the December 2012 concert.
Hank Schutz has been concertmaster for most of the group's existence. His musical leadership and enthusiasm continues unabated. Elizabeth Wagner has ably shared concertmaster duties with Hank in recent concerts.
Our 2012 fall concert was held on Saturday, December 8 at Meade Hall. The program included the Overture and Dances of the Blessed Spirits from Orfeo and Euridice by C.W.Gluck, Concerto for two violins by J.S.Bach, and three pieces by University of Virginia professor emeritus of music Walter Ross: Fantastic Dances, Sinfonietta Concertante, and Shenandoah Rhapsody. The flute soloists for Dances of the Blessed Spirits were Kimberly Chafee and Matthew Heinrich and the solists for the Bach concerto were Elizabeth Wagner and Hank Schutz. The program was also played the Monday before, at the Westminster-Canterbury retirement community.
Our 2012 spring concert was held on Saturday, May 12 at Meade Hall. On the program was the Abdelazer Suite by Purcell, Adagietto for strings by Robert Kajanus, John Ireland's A Downland Suite, Vivaldi's Concerto in G Major "Alla Rustica", Peter Warlock's Capriol Suite, and Pleasant Memories by Scott Joplin. The program was also played the Monday before, at WC.
Our 2011 fall concert was held on Saturday, December 10 at Meade Hall. The program included Concerto Grosso op.6 no.8 by Corelli, Theme and variations for string orchestra in G minor by Glazunov, Villa-Lobos' lovely Aria Cantilena, as well as Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis by Vaughan Williams, Fiddler's Fury by Stafford, and Song to the Moon by Dvorak. The program was also played the Monday before, at the OLOP.
Our 2011 spring concert was held on Saturday, May 7 at Meade Hall. On the program was Concerto Grosso op.6 no.7 by Handel, Violin Concerto in B flat major by Vivaldi, Holberg Suite by Edvard Grieg, the waltz movement of Seranade for Strings by Tchaikovsky, and the Pizzicato Polka by Johann Stauss. Annie Kim was the violin concerto soloist. The program was also played the Monday before, at WC.
Our 2010 fall concert was held on Saturday, December 11 at Meade Hall. The program included Concerto Grosso op.6 no.10 by Corelli, Bach's Violin Concerto in A minor with concertmaster Hank Schutz as soloist, Mozart's Divertimento no. 3 in F, and A Moorside Suite by Holst. The program was also played the Monday before, at OLOP.
Our 2010 spring concert was held on Saturday, May 15 at Meade Hall. The program included St. Paul Suite by Gustav Holst, Concerto in C major for mandolin and string orchestra by Vivaldi, Serenade in C major by Ernst Dohnanyi, Spider Dreams by David Balkrishnan, and Suite for Strings by John Rutter. Charles Winkler was our mandolin soloist. The program was also played the Monday before, at WC.
Our 2009 fall concert was held on Saturday, December 12 at Meade Hall, Christ Episcopal Church in downtown Charlottesville. The program included Sonata III A 5, Op. 2 by Albinoni, Idyll for String Orchestra by Janecek, Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 by Bach, and the aptly titled 12th of December by Silverman. Our soloists for the Brandenburg Concerto were our own Elizabeth Wagner on violin, and high school students Chelsea Meynig and Jessica Kaisoum on flutes. The program was also played the Monday before, at the Our Lady of Peace retirement community.
Our 2009 spring concert was held on Saturday, April 25, at St. Pauls Memorial Church, located across from the Rotunda at U VA. The program included Sinfonie a cinque, Op.2, no.3 by Albinoni, Sonata no. 4 in D major, Op1, no.13 by Handel, music from Bizet's Carmen, the early 20th century work Meditation on Svaty Vaclave by Josef Suk, and Skylife by David Balakrishnan, founder of the Turtle Island Quartet. The program was also played a week later, at the Westminster-Canterbury retirement community.
Our 2008 fall concert "Britten, Barber, and the Blues" was held on Saturday, November 22 at Meade Hall, Christ Episcopal Church in downtown Charlottesville. The program included Sonata a cinque, Op. 2 No. 1 by Albinoni, Music for String Orchestra by Walter Leigh, Adagio for Strings by Barber, Simple Symphony by Britten, and Blues for Oaktown by Darol Anger. The program was also played the Monday before, at WC.
Our 2008 spring concert "Odds and Ends: three hundred years of string music" was held on Sunday, May 4 at St. Paul's Memorial Church. The program included Suite #2 from the Fairy Queen by Purcell, Andante Cantabile by Tchaikovsky, Notturno in B by Dvorak, two piano preludes by Shostakovich arranged for string orchestra, Crisantemi by Puccini, and Sinfonia in F by Wilhelm Friedmann Bach, the eldest of J.S.Bach’s sons. The program was also played the Monday before, at WC.
Our 2007 fall concert was held on Saturday, December 8 at St. Paul's Memorial Church. The program included Coronation Music by Handel, Ancient Airs and Dances by Respighi, Serenade for String Orchestra by Elgar, and Sinfonietta Concertante by our own Walter Ross. The program was also played the Monday evening before, at OLP.
A very successful Mothers Day spring concert was held on May 13, 2007, at Temple Beth Israel in downtown Charlottesville. The program included Albinoni’s Concerto for Strings, Op. 7 No. 4, Arditi’s Il Bacio, Corelli’s Concerto Grosso No. 2, Svendsen’s Zwei Schwedische Volksmelodien, and Vivaldi’s Concerto in G minor, F XI no. 13. The program was also played the Monday evening before, at OLP.
Maintained by Nick Kuhn