Sep 18, 2013

Ferguson Center and National Symphony Orchestra Announce Partnership

(Newport News, Va.) - Christopher Newport University’s Ferguson Center for the Arts and the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) have announced a five-year partnership to begin during the 2014-15 season. The agreement calls for an annual concert by the full National Symphony Orchestra, as well as other educational activities in the community as scheduling permits. NSO Music Director Christoph Eschenbach will lead the first performance in fall 2014.

“We are absolutely delighted to welcome the National Symphony Orchestra to Newport News under a five-year agreement,” said William Biddle, Executive Director of CNU’s Ferguson Center. “The NSO is renowned for its excellence and for its community engagement. We look forward to collaborating with the NSO to establish the concerts and education events that will best serve our community. The generosity of Ferguson Enterprises, along with new support from our friends from throughout the community and commonwealth, enables us to further this partnership.”

“The National Symphony Orchestra is delighted to expand our performances into the Newport News area,” responded Executive Director Rita Shapiro. “We very much look forward to performing in their wonderful facility. Every performing arts group in our country is seeking to broaden its audiences, and we are delighted by the enthusiasm the Ferguson Center has demonstrated in inviting us to have a presence at Christopher Newport University.”

About the National Symphony Orchestra: Founded in 1931, the Orchestra has throughout its history been committed to artistic excellence and music education. In 1986 the National Symphony became an artistic affiliate of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, where it has presented a concert season annually since the Center opened in 1971. The Orchestra itself numbers 96 musicians, presenting a 52-week season of approximately 150 concerts each year. These include classical subscription series, pops concerts, summer performances at Wolf Trap and on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol, chamber music performances in the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater and on the Millennium Stage, and one of the country’s most extensive educational programs. Additionally the NSO’s community engagement projects are nationally recognized, including NSO In Your Neighborhood (comprising a week of approximately 30 performances in schools, churches, community centers and other Washington, D.C. neighborhood venues) and NSO Sound Health, begun this year, with performances at the National Institutes of Health. The National Symphony Orchestra’s 83rd season is its fourth under the leadership of Music Director Christoph Eschenbach, who is also the music director of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The NSO regularly participates in events of national and international importance, including performances for state occasions, presidential inaugurations and official holiday celebrations.

About CNU’s Ferguson Center for the Arts: In just 10 years, the I.M. Pei-designed Ferguson Center has become an international force, presenting the finest cultural attractions in the world. More than 1.5 million people from around the world have experienced more than 500 performances in its acoustically superb theatres. Visit

A four-year public university in Newport News, Virginia, Christopher Newport University enrolls 5,000 students in rigorous academic programs in the liberal arts and sciences through the College of Arts and Humanities, the College of Natural and Behavioral Sciences, and the College of Social Sciences, including the Luter School of Business. CNU offers great teaching and small class sizes with an emphasis on leadership, civic engagement and honor.

Media Contact:
Lori Jacobs
Director of Public Relations

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