Faculty members Garret Westlake and Suzanne Makarem sitting amongst the symphony players

Tuning In: As the School of Business artist-in-residence, the Richmond Symphony is striking a creative chord

Jan. 23, 2019 - Leila Ugincius

Sitting on stage with the Richmond Symphony during a recent rehearsal, Carolyn Norman felt like she was running.

“It was invigorating,” Norman, Ph.D., a professor and chair of the Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Accounting, said of the rehearsal. “It felt like you were part of it. Have you ever run in a race? It felt kind of like that: Like you’re in the crowd and you’re running instead of watching. Instead of a spectator, you’re in there, you’re really getting into it, you’re doing it. It felt like the music was surrounding you.”

Norman was there for “An EPIC Afternoon with the Symphony,” just one way the Richmond Symphony is helping the VCU School of Business explore its creative side as the school’s artist-in-residence for the 2018-19 academic year. The event offered faculty and staff a unique opportunity to sit in on the orchestra’s first rehearsal of Beethoven’s fifth concerto with guest pianist Orion Weiss. In addition to having members deliver guest lectures in classes, in December, the symphony presented a pop-up singalong concert in the Snead Hall Atrium. This semester, David J.L. Fisk, executive director of the Richmond Symphony, will be the featured guest at the school’s Investors Circle reception. 

Now in its third year, the artist-in-residence program is part of the business school’s EPIC strategic plan that inspires students, faculty and staff to think about work in a different way. A common thread throughout the program has been changing perceptions. And just as inaugural artist-in-residence Noah Scalin showed how the world looks different from different points of view, the symphony revealed that performances sound different depending on your vantage point.

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