The Crozet Community Orchestra (CCO) was founded by Denise Murray (president) and Philip Clark (music director) in order to provide live orchestral music to the growing town of Crozet in central Virginia. Its first public concert was in December 2013, and it was incorporated as a 501-c3 non-profit in February 2014.
All CCO performances are free to the public. It gives 3, and sometimes 4, classical music concerts each year. The audience averages 180 per concert, comes mainly from Crozet and Western Albemarle County, and includes people of all ages and walks of life. The venue only holds 220, so 180 is a fairly full audience. Crozet is a small town, with an estimated population of 6,854 (2016), not including surrounding rural areas. The closest other options for live orchestral music are a 25-45 minute drive away in Charlottesville, Waynesboro, or Staunton.
The CCO aims to be a central part of the local community. It has been privileged to perform with local and regional professional musicians as soloists in concertos. It has also performed jointly with other local musical groups, and small CCO ensembles have performed in local retirement villages and hospitals.
In the spirit of community-building, the orchestra offers an open-door performance opportunity for local musicians age 14 and up. The number of players has varied from an initial 15 up to 60, with an average of 100 individuals participating in a year.
Our primary funding is from musician’s participant fees and from individual donations. Our total 2019 budget is $17,000. The largest expense item is professional fees for our music director and soloists. We generally limit our repertoire to free or low-cost public-domain works, but recently have been spending more on music purchases in order to present more adventurous and educational works.
Philip Clark graduated from Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, and performed with many distinguished ensembles, including the London Symphony and the English Chamber Orchestra. He was professor of violin and viola at Ithaca College, and previously taught at universities in Edinburgh, Auckland, and Ohio. He has performed regionally with the Richmond Symphony and Opera on the James and has taught at various schools in Central Virginia, in addition to maintaining a private studio for violin and viola students. He also composes and arranges music, and leads orchestra and chamber music workshops. (https://pclarkmusic.com/)
As Music Director of the CCO, Philip Clark selects music, conducts all rehearsals and concerts, and often modifies pieces in order to fit the mix of (volunteer) musicians available.