Grammy-winner Marsalis headlines new Virginia Symphony Orchestra music director's debut

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Posted at 5:20 AM, Dec 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-02 08:03:15-05

The Virginia Symphony Orchestra has a new man up front and he'll be joined by a world-famous musician as he makes his debut in a series of performances this week.

Eric Jacobsen, 39, won the role as the 70-piece orchestra's Music Director earlier this year following a socially-distanced performance conducting the group in the spring. He also worked with them in 2018.

Thursday night will mark the New York native's first performance conducting the orchestra in his current role.

The orchestra will be joined by Grammy-winning saxophonist Branford Marsalis for a setlist featuring selections from Mozart, Brahms, Mahler and British composer Sally Beamish.

News 3 spoke with Jacobsen shortly after sitting in on a Wednesday orchestra rehearsal with Marsalis.

"He is able to create something that is unique just to him. And I am so inspired by him," he said.

Jacobsen, who's also a cellist, says this is just his second time working with Marsalis, but he's no stranger to leading an orchestra — having co-founded the New York-based The Knights. He also currently serves as Music Director for the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra.

But this is just the beginning of Jacobsen's time in Virginia and he's excited about what's to come.

"The orchestra is clearly so excited about playing music and growing and I feel like the entire organization is kind of saying we are going to be a part of this community in a very deep way," he told News 3.

The Virginia Symphony Orchestra is scheduled to play at the Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News on Thursday, December 2. The group will then perform at Norfolk's Chrysler Hall on Friday, December 3 before wrapping up it performances at The Sandler Center in Virginia Beach on Sunday, December 5.

All performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available HERE.