Richmond Symphony and VCU School of the Arts Announce New Joint Position; Erin R. Freeman to Become First Incumbent

Richmond Symphony and VCU School of the Arts Announce New Joint Position; Erin R. Freeman to Become First Incumbent

RICHMOND, Va. (May 28, 2014) - The Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts and the Richmond Symphony have announced the creation of a new joint position of Director of Choral Activities at Virginia Commonwealth University and Director of the Richmond Symphony Chorus. The position is being piloted as a one-year, non-tenured faculty appointment for the 2014-2015 academic year.

Pending final approval, Erin R. Freeman, D.M.A., current director of the Richmond Symphony Chorus and holder of the James Erb Choral Chair at the Richmond Symphony, will be named initially to the new joint position, which carries a faculty rank of assistant professor in the VCU School of the Arts Department of Music.

"I'm thrilled to be joining the VCU music department," Freeman said. "Through my work with the Richmond Symphony, I have had the honor of getting to know and work with the faculty on several occasions. I am pleased to become their academic colleague in the fall."

The VCU School of the Arts is consistently ranked as one of the top graduate artsschools in the country by U.S. News & World Report. Darryl V. Harper, chair of the Department of Music in the VCU School of the Arts, said he's excited about the possibilities created by the new position.

"We are delighted that Dr. Freeman will be lending her formidable talents to the VCU community, and we are excited about the potential of this new collaboration with RSO," Harper said.

Following Freeman's tenure as associate conductor of the Richmond Symphony, the new position allows her to continue to contribute significantly to the musical life of the region and to play a major role in the education of young singers in the Commonwealth.

"I am thrilled that Erin will be continuing her exceptionally fine work with the RSO Chorus, as well as becoming a leader in this heightened collaboration with VCU," said RSO Music Director Steven Smith.

RSO Executive Director David Fisk said the partnership marks an important milestone in the long relationship between VCU School of the Arts and the Richmond Symphony and Freeman's participation offers both organizations an opportunity to do more together than either institution could accomplish alone.

"We are excited that Erin has agreed to accept this position and continue her commitment to building community and inspiring audiences in Richmond and beyond," Fisk said.

About the Richmond Symphony

Founded in 1957, the Richmond Symphony is an orchestra of more than 70 professional musicians, the 150-voice Richmond Symphony Chorus and more than 200 students in the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra Program. Each season, more than 250,000 members of the community enjoy concerts, radio broadcasts, and educational outreach programs. The Richmond Symphony is partially funded by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

About Erin Freeman

From 2007 - 2014, Erin R. Freeman served as the Associate Conductor of the Richmond Symphony, leading such programs as the family-focused Union First Market Bank LolliPops Series, the Genworth Financial Symphony Pops Series and the Symphony's wide-ranging education initiatives. She is the Director of the Richmond Symphony Chorus, having taken over from founder James Erb in 2007. An enthusiastic champion of music education for all ages, Dr. Freeman has served as Director of Orchestras at the critically acclaimed Baltimore School for the Arts and American University, lecturer for the National Philharmonic and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, conductor at Northwestern University's High School Music Institute, and Resident Conductor at Peabody Conservatory where she taught in the choral, orchestral, and opera departments. She has conducted the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus, the South Carolina Philharmonic, the Savannah Symphony, and All-State, County, and Regional orchestras in Virginia, Maryland, New York and Missouri. Dr. Freeman received her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Northwestern University, a Masters degree in Conducting from the Boston University School for the Arts, and a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Orchestral Conducting at the Peabody Conservatory.