A Letter from Ellen

After more than five years at the helm, Founder and Executive Director Ellen Cockerham Riccio makes an announcement. 

Dear Friends,


When I first moved to Richmond in 2009 to join the Richmond Symphony, I was determined to keep my schedule light. I turned down gigs and referred inquiring students elsewhere. I wanted to leave space in my life for a big passion project, a labor of love, something into which I could pour my heart and soul. I had no idea what this project might be, but I wanted to be available when it presented itself, so I spent my spare time cooking, gardening, writing, and exploring this beautiful city.


Then, in the fall of 2012, it suddenly became clear: my work was to bring classical music out of the concert hall and into bars, making it approachable, ubiquitous, and hip. My gut told me that Richmond was ripe for this kind of thing, but I couldn’t have predicted that Classical Revolution RVA would be such a slam dunk. A few months in, our venues were packed and audiences were clamouring for more. The number of musicians involved seemed to grow exponentially. Soon, we became one of the most active chapters of Classical Revolution in the world, producing 20-30 distinct events every year.


Due in no small part to these efforts, classical music has found its way into everyday life in Richmond. Festivals are beginning to include classical music in their lineups. Musicians are self-organizing performances in bars and galleries. Bands are collaborating with classical musicians. The Richmond Symphony performs at Hardywood several times a year. Hundreds of people flock to an annual festival celebrating Mozart. I am so proud of the role Classical Revolution RVA has played in this cultural shift. In a sense, I feel like my work is done.


At the same time, Classical Revolution RVA has the potential to make classical music even more visible, celebrated, and valued than it is now. In order to make a bigger impact, however, the organization will need to grow in terms of operational and financial support. Taking the organization to that level will require an amount time and energy that I do not currently possess. Once again, it is clear to me what I need to do. At the end of this month, I will be stepping down from my position as Executive Director.


Effective May 1st, my shoes will be filled by Andrew McEvoy. Andrew has been a part of Classical Revolution RVA from the beginning, and he is passionate about the mission of the organization. I have no doubt that he will do a fantastic job, supported by the board of directors.


Many people have told me that their lives have been enriched by the the work of Classical Revolution RVA, but I am quite sure that no one’s life has been more positively impacted than my own. My eyes have been opened to the level of talent and generosity that exists in this town. I have met some of my best friends and forged some of the most meaningful collaborations through this organization. I’ve been floored by the goodwill that seems to permeate all of our events. Founding Classical Revolution RVA has made Richmond my home, and all of you, my family. Thank you for being so darn cool.



unnamed (3).jpg