Virginia Arts Festival celebrates 25 seasons and includes performances by the Jerusalem Quartet

by | Jan 20, 2022 | What’s Happening

Since 1997, Virginia Arts Festival has brought world class performing artists each spring to venues and stages in Tidewater. The Festival plans to mark this milestone with a season suitably spectacular.

Anchoring the celebration are some grand performances: the return of one of the world’s great ballet companies, American Ballet Theatre, with the exuberant classic Don Quixote (March 25–27); a new, fully staged production of the beloved musical The Sound of Music (May 13–15), with the score performed live by the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, and a 25th Anniversary Celebration concert with the incomparable soprano Renée Fleming and Broadway and television star Kristen Chenoweth (May 21).

The 2022 season is filled with dozens more opportunities to celebrate live performances. On the classical music side, Van Cliburn Gold Medal awarded pianist Olga Kern will perform and has planned a marvelous season of chamber music throughout April, May, and June featuring world renowned artists including the Danish String Quartet, Acropolis Reed Quintet and Jerusalem Quartet. And, Virginia Arts Festival’s friend, the great cellist Yo-Yo Ma will return with pianist Kathryn Stott (April 24).

Music of all kinds abounds in the 25th Anniversary season. Banjo player extraordinaire Béla Fleck returns to his bluegrass roots (April 1); one of the great performers from Broadway’s smash hit Hamilton, Renée Elise Goldsberry (May 6), and a host of Americana/roots rock artists including Grammy-winning singer-songwriters Rosanne Cash (April 6) and Shawn Colvin (April 21).

The Festival’s dance series brings not only the fabled American Ballet Theatre, but also the Nashville Ballet with the original score performed live by Grammy-winner Rhiannon Giddens (April 23); and the electrifying Cuban dance company Malpaso (May 11).

Jazz fans can hear multi-Grammy winner Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra (May 20), and legendary sideman Buster Williams (May 18). Local jazz favorites will return as well, including the Jae Sinnett Trio (April 3) and the John Toomey Trio, joined by tenor saxophonist Gary Thomas (April 20).

Launched in 2021, the Perry Pavilion, formerly named Bank Street Stage, is Norfolk’s newest entertainment venue. This outdoor venue offers the perfect setting for performances of all kinds—featuring a lineup including groundbreaking performers like Aoife O’Donovan (May 22), The War & Treaty (May 26), Cowboy Junkies (May 12), Samantha Fish (May 19), and more.

Join world-class performers from across the US and beyond for a celebration of Caribbean music as the Virginia International PANFest returns May 6–7 at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront.

Part of the Festival’s mission is to present new works. A Symphonic Celebration of Water (June 4), joins the Festival with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, conducted by VSO Music Director Eric Jacobsen and featuring classical music favorites and readings that mark the figurative power of water in the life of Coastal Virginia. The innovative, interactive In(heir)itance Project turns community conversations into compelling theatre, addressing issues of race, economy, and justice (May 5–7).

The 2022 season will see the premieres of two one-act operas created through the Festival’s John Duffy Institute for New Opera. Briar Patch (from The Tales of the Briar Patch) will reboot the beloved folk tale while paying tribute to the African tradition of storytelling; and Companion sings the story of an obsessive baker on a quest for the perfect loaf.

A signature event of the Festival, the beloved Virginia International Tattoo will make a triumphant return April 28–May 1 to its home in Scope Arena with its own 25th Anniversary celebration featuring an all-new international cast, a musical tribute to “March King” by John Phillip Souza, and an emotional celebration of the resilience of the human spirit. Make it a weekend and enjoy the Norfolk NATO Festival, with the only parade in the United States to honor NATO (April 30), an international flag-raising ceremony, and a charming international village to sample the tastes, sights and sounds of 30 NATO member nations. There’s a free outdoor bagpipe band competition and the “Tattoo Hullabaloo” offers treats, a beer garden, and free entertainment and interaction with some of the Tattoo cast members.

Visit and plan to celebrate the 25th Anniversary season of the Virginia Arts Festival.