Arts leader, manager, and educator Andrea F. Warren will assume the role, effective immediately
Andrea F. Warren succeeds Karen M. Philion as CEO and president of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra (VSO), who has held the position since 2014.
Selected after an executive search process led by the Arts Consulting Group (ACG), Warren is the first Black woman to be CEO at a leading symphony orchestra in the U.S. and Canada, and is one of the few African Americans to serve in an executive leadership role with an orchestra.
With experience as a community leader and arts advocate, Warren’s other roles have included a 13-year tenure as executive director of The Governor’s School for the Arts in Norfolk, Virginia, where she retired from her position in 2021.
Additionally, she served as an educator for 20 years in various teaching and leadership roles for Virginia Beach City Public Schools and has been on the Hurrah Player’s Board of Directors, the Governor’s School for the Arts Foundation Board, and the Virginia Musical Theatre Board of Directors, among others.
A graduate of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Old Dominion University, and Norfolk State University, Warren holds bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.
Her many achievements have been recognized across the business and arts field — she was awarded the 2018 “50 for 50” Arts Inspiration Award by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and in 2013, was one of 10 Leading Ladies in Hampton Roads Magazine.
“We are incredibly thrilled to welcome Dr. Warren’s leadership of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra,” said VSO Board of Directors Chair Mike McClellan. “She quickly impressed the search committee with her experience and commitment to our mission. Her record of leadership in the performing arts will be an invaluable asset to the VSO.”
“The performing arts are such an integral part of my family and my life’s work, and it’s an honor to lead the region’s most celebrated musical, educational and entrepreneurial arts organization,” Warren said. “I deeply appreciate the VSO’s commitment to challenging the expectations and pushing the boundaries of what an American orchestra can be, and I’m both passionate and mindful about the important role our work plays in educating, enriching and inspiring the community through music.”
“The ACG team and I are very grateful for the wonderful collaboration with the board, staff, musicians, and music director at the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, and we extend my warmest congratulations to Dr. Warren on her new role,” added ACG President Bruce D. Thibodeau. “We look forward to the dynamic artistic and managerial leadership team who will play a pivotal role in guiding thoughtful and proactive change to the Virginia Symphony Orchestra.”
Created in 1920 as the Norfolk Civic Symphony Orchestra, the VSO and Chorus serves a metropolitan area of nine cities and seven counties in southeastern Virginia and is the only full-time professional symphony orchestra in the region, comprising 76 musicians.