Richmond Symphony
612 East Grace Street, #401
Richmond VA 23219
Mission Statement
Our Mission: The Richmond Symphony performs, teaches and champions music to inspire and unite our communities.
Our Vision: We change lives through the power of music.
Web and Social Media
Richmond Symphony Orchestra
CEO/Executive Director Mr. David J. L. Fisk
Board Chair Mr. Richard M. Smith
Board Chair Company Affiliation Retired (CarMax)
Contact Information
Address 612 East Grace Street, #401
Richmond, VA 23219
Telephone 804 788-4717
Fax 804 788-1541
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1957
Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expense Bar Graph - All Years
Expense Breakdown Bar Chart - All Years
Projected Revenue $6,568,518.00
Projected Expenses $6,567,518.00
Our Mission: The Richmond Symphony performs, teaches and champions music to inspire and unite our communities.
Our Vision: We change lives through the power of music.
1. Create great concerts that engage, challenge and delight our musicians and our patrons.
2. Build close and meaningful relationships between the Symphony and our patrons.
3. Raise our visibility to build public awareness to grow our audience.
4. Build an organizational culture with an emphasis on open communication, collaboration and shared ownership.
5. Ensure the Symphony's long-term sustainability and success. 
Financial Needs:
Annual Fund: Unrestricted gifts to support the Symphony are necessary for day-to-day operations. Annual fund gifts offset costs like sheet music purchase and rental, transportation for musicians to and from schools throughout the region for in-school education performances and teaching, musician salaries, guest artist fees, and many more activities that contribute our success as an organization.
Capitalization: We are committed to continuing to achieve a balanced budget, having posted a surplus for the last three fiscal years. We have been raising new funds to replenish the RSO Foundation’s Rainy Day Fund (cash reserve) to minimize our reliance on a line of credit for operations. A gift to Capitalization helps to ensure there are sufficient levels of operational funds and avoid relying on the credit line. 
Big Tent Initiative: The RSO's Big Tent is a mobile performance space that brings the full symphony into communities across the metro-Richmond region with the purpose to not only make live orchestral music accessible to everyone, but to engage the surrounding community in creating a Festival event that reflects its unique character. With the Big Tent as its anchor, Festivals help foster community cohesiveness and pride. Festivals are also utilized to raise proceeds to address specific community needs, with public school music and arts programs being the most frequent beneficiaries.



Founded in 1957, the Richmond Symphony is dedicated to excellence in both contemporary and traditional symphonic music. Through the incorporation of classical, gospel, jazz, contemporary and popular music in its repertoire, the Symphony makes good music interesting and accessible to everyone through multiple concert series, as well as ticketed and free events. The Symphony includes an orchestra of 70 professional musicians and the 150-voice volunteer Richmond Symphony Chorus. The Richmond Symphony is overseen by a 42-member Board of Directors and managed by a staff of 25 full-and-part-time members.

Each season the Richmond Symphony offers more than 200 public performances for approximately 200,000 patrons through concerts and educational programs, including more than 55,000 Richmond-area students and educators.

The Symphony has been recognized as a leader in the arts community at the local, regional, and national levels. Notable accomplishments and recognition during 2017 include:

· Executive Director David Fisk named a 2017 Richmond Times Dispatch Person of the Year honoree.

· Placement of a join bid with the City of Richmond, the University of Richmond, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Community Idea Stations to host the 2020 Menuhin Competition, The World’s Leading Competition for Young Violinists. Richmond, VA, was one of three cities to be selected to submit a bid; Melbourne, Australia, and London, England, are also known to be under consideration by the Competition.

· The Symphony’s Big Tent Project was selected by the Virginia Commission for the Arts for a “50 for 50 Arts Inspiration Award,” for programs “critical to the arts in Virginia” in the category “Exemplary Programs and Pinnacle Events.”

· The League of American Orchestras and the Ann & Gordon Getty Foundation recognized the Symphony as a leader of innovation in the orchestral field by selecting the Symphony as one of their 21 national Futures Fund orchestras, placing Richmond’s symphony alongside those in Boston, Houston, Los Angeles, and Seattle

The long-term benefits that the Richmond Symphony provides to the region and its residents are immeasurable, enriching the overall quality of life and Richmond. The presence of a symphony orchestra is a cornerstone of the City’s reputation as a vibrant cultural and economic center, helping attract new businesses, residents, and tourists to the area. The Symphony’s home, the Carpenter Theatre in the Dominion Energy Center, anchors the city’s Downtown Arts and Cultural District. The Richmond Symphony's economic contribution to the greater Richmond area is estimated to be $12.4 million annually.

CEO Statement
Over the last six decades, Richmond has transformed into a booming metropolis with a growing, diverse population, a food and craft beer scene that can rival anywhere, great universities, and of course, an extraordinarily vibrant arts and cultural community that has woven itself into the fabric of the City. The Symphony itself is a reflection of this change, growing from performing just three concerts a year to now over 200, encompassing six main concert series and a host of other performances, including educational presentations with our orchestral ensembles that engage over 50,000 students and teachers a year. Now, with the Big Tent, we can take our music to families in their own neighborhoods, providing the excitement of open-air festivals while delivering long-lasting benefits to the communities we are here to serve. We have devised a season reflective of our City's positive momentum which will delight, enrich and entertain you in our special anniversary year, to showcase the Richmond Symphony at its finest. 
Our Altria Masterworks Series will be one for Richmond to remember for many years to come. We open the season in September by bringing the extraordinary talents of violinists Joshua Bell and 13-year-old child prodigy Yesong Sophie Lee. Masterworks is filled with other works selected to appeal to everyone: Mozart's Mass in C Minor, a Viennese New Year's style concert, a program commemorating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and key Civil Rights milestones of 1968, Ravel's orchestration of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, and a final concert featuring the world premiere of a new work by Richmond's own Mason Bates, commissioned by the Richmond Symphony.
We are celebrating as exuberantly through our Symphony Pops Series. To kick things off, we partner with The Broadberry and some of Richmond's home-grown, internationally-recognized talent including Matthew E. White, Natalie Prass, Time Barry. Clair Morgan, Bio Ritmo and others. We'll celebrate the holidays with our annual tradition, Let It Snow!, once more under the baton of Erin Freeman. The series is rounded out with concerts featuring the former star of Broadway's Movin' Out, Michael Cavanaugh, singing the best of Billy Joel, and a concert showcasing The Magic of Motown.  
Casual Fridays will highlight the best orchestral works as part of a conversation with the audience, Rush Hour at Hardywood continues to entertain in the brewery's barrel room and Randolph-Macon College will again host the Metro Collection. Even with so much else going on, our Union Bank & Trust LolliPops series will amaze family audiences with concerts featuring superheroes, the annual showing of The Snowman, Gershwin's An American in Paris with the School of Richmond Ballet and Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf, featuring the incomparable Michael Boudewyns.  
As we honor those who built this orchestra over the past six decades, we look forward to a great future for Richmond with the music of the Symphony in its heart. Come celebrate with us!
Areas of Service
Areas Served
Metro Richmond
Richmond, City
Chesterfield County
Hanover County
Henrico County
Powhatan County
Goochland County
The majority of the Richmond Symphony's programs serve the City of Richmond and the Counties of Chesterfield, Hanover, and Henrico. However, the Symphony tours throughout the state in various locations each season. Touring locations have included Staunton, Fredericksburg, Lawrenceville, South Boston, Culpeper, and Goochland.
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Richard M. Smith
Company Affiliation Retired (CarMax)
Term July 2017 to June 2019
Board of Directors
Board Members
Philip H. Bennett KPMG LLP
Stuart Blain Union First Market Bank
John W. Braymer Virginia Society of the American Institute of Architects
Arthur S. Brinkley IIIMorgan Keegan
Priscilla Burbank Community Volunteer
Ann T Burks Retired
Elizabeth Cabell Jennings SunTrust Bank
Mark T. Cox IVRetired
Dr. Ronald Crutcher President, University of Richmond
Lisa Edwards-Burrs Longwood University
Ronald Ferguson US Trust
David J. L. Fisk Richmond Symphony
Steve Girard Markel
Cheryl Goddard Community Volunteer
Rebecca J. Horner Community Volunteer
Gavin D. Jeffs Owens & Minor, Inc.
Brennen Keene McGuire Woods
Anne B. Kenny-Urban Agecroft Hall
Christopher Lindbloom Janney Montgomery Scott
J. Theodore Linhart Dominion Auto Group
George Mahoney Retired
Patrick McNulty Harris Williams
Patrick Murtaugh Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
Roger Neathawk ndp
Walter J. O'Brien Jr.Retired
Debra Pollock SunTrust Bank
Kamran Raika Raika Financial Consulting Group of Wells Fargo Advisors
Leon E. Roday Genworth
Rick Sample Rainbow Station International LLC.
William H. Schwarzschild IIIWilliams Mullen
Maura L. Scott Altria
Steven Smith Richmond Symphony
Richard Smith CarMax
Dr. Richard Szucs Commonwealth Radiology
Brandon Taylor Taylor Hoffman Wealth Management
Marcia H. Thalhimer Community Volunteer
Chet G. Wade Dominion Energy
Ludi Webber Richmond Symphony Orchestra League
Mark P. Wickersham Hunton & Willams LLP
Elisabeth Muhlenfeld Wollan Community Volunteer
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 2
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 37
Hispanic/Latino 1
Native American/American Indian 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 28
Female 12
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 0
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 11
Standing Committees
Communications / Promotion / Publicity / Public Relations
Donor Services
Community Outreach / Community Relations
Special Events (Golf Tournament, Walk / Run, Silent Auction, Dinner / Gala)
Program / Program Planning
Other Boards
The tables below contain information about other groups that advise this nonprofit on operations and projects.
Executive Director
Executive Director Mr. David J. L. Fisk
Experience Mr. Fisk joined the Richmond Symphony as its new executive director in June 2002. A native of Great Britain, Mr. Fisk had previously served as chief executive of the Ulster Orchestra Society, the national symphony of Northern Ireland. During his tenure, he developed strategies to expand educational and outreach programming, strengthen the orchestra's funding base, and raise its international profile through an increase in concert touring, recordings, and broadcasts. Among his accomplishments were the negotiation of a new three-year broadcasting contract with the BBC; new recording agreements with Naxos and Hyperion; a new contract with the Symphony's musicians incorporating updated working practices; the successful completion of tours to England, the Irish Republic, Hong Kong, New York, Eastern Europe, and the Netherlands; and the significant strengthening of the orchestra's relationships with Northern Ireland's 26 local governmental authorities. Prior to his service in Northern Ireland, Mr. Fisk served as general manager of the Orchestra of St. John's, Smith Square (London), one of the United Kingdom's principal chamber orchestras. He has also held the positions of development director for the Yorkshire Sculpture Park - the UK's leading open-air art gallery complex - and executive director of the award-winning Manchester International Festival of Expressionism 1992, which he instigated. Mr. Fisk holds an undergraduate degree in Music from Manchester University and a postgraduate diploma in Piano Accompaniment from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, where he also studied harpsichord, composition, and conducting. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2001.
Senior Staff
Mrs. Laura Bordner Adams Director of Orchestral Operations
Mr. R. Scott Dodson Director of Advancement & Patron Communications
Mrs. Aimee Halbruner Director of Education and Community Engagement
Ms. Gail Richmond Robinson Director of Finance and Administration
Full Time Staff 23
Part Time Staff 0
Contractors 3
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 5
Date Strategic Plan Adopted May 2016
The core of the Symphony's activities are its concert season performances which include four main series:
  • Altria Masterworks - Beloved masterpieces in the traditional European art music repertory, presented in the Symphony's home, the Carpenter Theatre at the Dominion Energy Center. Pre-concert talks begin one hour before all Masterworks concerts.
  • Casual Fridays - One- hour concerts starting at 6:30 that showcase great works from the classical repertoire including a deeper look into that evening’s work, with a post concert happy hour across the street to round out the evening.

  • Symphony Pops - Lighter popular and classical favorites, featuring celebrated stage and screen performers at the Carpenter Theatre.

  • Metro Collection - Four intimate, engaging chamber orchestra concerts held at Randolph-Macon College that feature Richmond Symphony Musicians as soloists.
  • Union Bank & Trust LolliPops - A series designed just for children and families, the LolliPops Series is a fun introduction to the orchestra. Pre-concert festival with an instrument petting zoo and musical activities begins an hour before each kid-friendly concert.
  • Rush Hour at Hardywood - One-hour informal concerts featuring great music and discussion in the Hardywood tasting room.

  • Handel's Messiah is a holiday classic featuring the Richmond Symphony Chorus.

The RSO's Education Programs seek to "foster and develop diverse, informed audiences who value live symphonic music and music education in our community; to help nurture and develop young musicians; and to advocate for music education and orchestral music." Services include:
1) Musical Ambassadors Program (MAP) - Small ensembles of RSO musicians perform more than 100 concerts annually in elementary, middle, and high schools throughout Central Virginia. More than 30,000 children experience live classical music each year through MAP.
2) Discovery Concerts - Interactive youth concerts that focus on the emotional power of symphony music and curricular themes for grades 3-8
3)  Youth Orchestra Program - Consists of 4 youth orchestras that provide beginner to advanced musical training
4) Orchestra Project - in collaboration with VCU, we have a one week String Intensive camp each summer for advanced players in grades 8 – 12 and a one week String Odyssey camp for middle and high school students with a minimum of one year of experience but who are ready to advance their skills.
Since 2015, the Big Tent has enabled us to reach diverse, new audiences in parks and open spaces from inner-city Richmond to the metropolitan suburbs to the fields of Goochland, Powhatan, New Kent County and the state parks of Virginia. Through Big Tent Festivals, the Symphony enlists a broad coalition of community partners who work together to create lasting benefit in their local neighborhoods. These benefits range from an enhanced sense of community cohesion, to increased levels of community pride, and often to improving access to music education by generating proceeds that are invested back into public school music programs.
Upcoming Festivals:
  • Southside Community Festival, United By Music, May 18 - 19, 2018 
  • Festival of the River, June 8-10, 2018
Past Festivals 
  • Magnificent Midlothian Food Festival 
  • RVA East End Festival 2017: The Gift of Arts and Music
  • 2016 ChesterFest
  • RVA East End Festival 2016: The Gift of Music 
  • Celebrate Jackson Ward: Past, Present, and Future
  • Red, White, and Lights 
    Fiscal Year
    Projected Revenue $6,568,518.00
    Projected Expenses $6,567,518.00
    Endowment Value $12,711,267.00
    Spending Policy Percentage
    Percentage (if selected) 5
    Form 990s
    IRS Letter of Exemption
    Detailed Financials
    Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
    Fiscal Year201720162015
    Foundation and
    Corporation Contributions
    Government Contributions$59,076$71,840$73,460
    Individual Contributions$2,951,866$2,597,921$3,261,960
    Investment Income, Net of Losses--$6$42
    Membership Dues------
    Special Events$531,805$22,019$88,102
    Revenue In-Kind$254,968$222,194$301,718
    Expense Allocation
    Fiscal Year201720162015
    Program Expense$5,115,143$4,907,441$4,111,136
    Administration Expense$357,049$421,873$671,498
    Fundraising Expense$305,067$214,313$344,418
    Payments to Affiliates------
    Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.090.971.09
    Program Expense/Total Expenses89%89%80%
    Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue8%6%10%
    Assets and Liabilities
    Fiscal Year201720162015
    Total Assets$1,718,811$1,431,316$638,827
    Current Assets$1,278,303$942,232$460,732
    Long-Term Liabilities$845,000$950,000$330,000
    Current Liabilities$795,964$912,772$834,349
    Total Net Assets$77,847($431,456)($525,522)
    Short Term Solvency
    Fiscal Year201720162015
    Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities1.611.030.55
    Long Term Solvency
    Fiscal Year201720162015
    Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets49%66%52%
    Capital Campaign
    Currently in a Capital Campaign? Yes
    Campaign Purpose Campaign 20X20 is designed to enhance the Symphony's work and pave the way for future success by raising $12 million in endowment support, special programming funding and planned giving. 
    Goal $12,000,000.00
    Dates Sept 2015 to July 2018
    Amount Raised To Date $10,300,000.00
    Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes
    Foundation Comments
    • Audited financial statements represent the financial position of both the Richmond Symphony and the Richmond Symphony Foundation.
    • IRS Form 990s represent the financial position of only the Richmond Symphony.