Classical music reigns at Mozart Festival

More than 100 area musicians will come together at various locations in Jackson Ward to present the chamber music, symphonies, and operas of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Classical music is, well, classical, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyed outside of a concert hall.

That’s what the people of Classical Revolution RVA, which is made up of local symphony musicians and classical music lovers, strives to do. The group’s goal is to integrate the music genre with Richmond’s already vibrant music scene by taking classical songs into local bars, restaurants, cafes, and galleries and to increase exposure for the beloved art form.

It was the pop music of its time, after all.

On April 16th, classical music will be taking over Richmond’s arts and culture district and historic Jackson Ward when Classical Revolution RVA presents the third annual Mozart Festival. More than 100 area musicians will come together at various locations to present the chamber music, symphonies and operas of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

“Mozart has inspired a festival here in Richmond because of his versatility,” says Ellen Cockerham, Executive Director of Classical Revolution RVA. “While many composers specialized in opera, or in great symphonic works, or in solo piano pieces, or in chamber music, Mozart did it all. And we’re going to do it all! His music is familiar to many, yet never gets old.”

“Not only did he write some the most hummable melodies, but he captured each character perfectly in music,” says Fran Coleman, Classical Revolution RVA’s Planning Committee and Deputy Director. Mozart was a renaissance man. He was the first true freelance composer, one of the first to tour, and he bucked authority every chance he get. If he were alive today, he would totally play Coachella.”

Activities and performances throughout the day include small intimate shows to full symphony concerts, workshops, speaking engagements, kid-friendly activities, food trucks, and more.

“Richmond dedicates festivals to everything from beer to bacon,” Coleman says. “I think Mozart is just as worthy of a festival as anything else. Mozart wrote so many different types of classical music, it would be impossible to not take an entire day to pay him homage.”

The Mozart Festival takes place on Saturday, April 16th from 11:00 AM – 11:00 PM. All of the events are free (except for the burlesque show) and are open to all ages (except for the burlesque show again, for obvious reasons). More information can be found here.

The schedule!

All events take place on Saturday, April 16th

Eine Kleine Food Truck Musik

Various small groups will perform chamber music and art songs. Food trucks will be at both locations. Black Iris will also be serving a special “Don Giovanni” blend by Black Hand Coffee.

  • 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
  • Gallery5, 200 W. Marshall Street & Black Iris, 321 W. Broad Street

Crafts at Atlas

Children and families are invited to make flutes out of carrots and other fun creations in preparation for the interactive performance of The Magic Flute!

  • 11:00 AM
  • Atlas Gallery, 114 W. Marshall Street

The Magic Flute

The story of The Magic Flute will be read aloud by Harry Kollatz while key arias are performed by professional vocalists, accompanied by keyboard and magic flute.

  • 1:00 PM
  • Atlas Gallery, 114 W. Marshall Street

Student Recital

Young violinists, violists, cellists, and pianists will perform the music of W.A. Mozart. A combined group of students from all over Richmond, including the entire 2nd grade class from St. Andrew’s school, will perform “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”

  • 2:00 PM
  • Atlas Gallery, 114 W. Marshall Street

The Richmond Cello Orchestra

A group of 20 cellists unite to perform their own arrangements of Mozart’s music.

  • 2:00 PM
  • Gallery5, 200 W. Marshall Street

The Impresario

Capitol Opera Richmond presents their own production of Mozart’s comic opera The Impresario. The opera is a spoof on the vanity of singers who argue over status and pay.

  • 3:00 PM
  • Coalition Theater, 8 W. Broad Street

Symphonies and Requiem

A full orchestra and members of the Richmond Symphony chorus, conducted by the RSO’s new Associate Conductor, Chia-Hsuan Lin, will perform selections from Mozart’s symphonies, the Requiem, and his concerto for flute and harp.

  • 4:00 PM
  • Candela Books + Gallery, 214 W. Broad Street

Wolfgang 101

Darryl Harper, chair of VCU’s music department, will give a brief, informative talk entitled, “How Mozart’s Music Means,” with musical examples.

  • 5:30 PM
  • Saison Market, 323 N. Adams Street

Mozart’s Greatest Hits

Vocalists will perform favorite arias from Mozart’s operas, accompanied by full orchestra and conducted by Christopher Swanson, conductor of the Lynchburg Symphony.

  • 7:00 PM
  • Atlas Gallery, 114 W. Marshall Street


Dancers in this Mozart-themed Burlesque show will draw inspiration from live performances of Mozart’s string quartets, quintets, and arias. Note: this will be a ticketed event.

  • 9:00 PM
  • Gallery5, 200 W. Marshall Street
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Andrew Cothern

Andrew Cothern is the founder and editor of RVA Playlist, a music site that showcases events, concerts, album, show reviews, and opinion pieces that focus on the vibrant local music scene in Richmond.

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