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About Us


The mission of the Arlington Philharmonic Association is to build a first-class symphony orchestra in Arlington, to make classical music accessible to every Arlington resident, to promote the value of classical music in our civic life, and to build strong, creative partnerships with schools, local government, businesses, and other organizations.


The Arlington Philharmonic is the new identity of symphonic music in Arlington, growing out of the 60-year history of the Arlington Symphony Orchestra, which was  forced to cease operations in 2005 because of financial difficulties. Subsequently, a group of concerned musicians and orchestra supporters created the Arlington Philharmonic Association, an IRS 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Philharmonic is managed by its Board of Directors, which ensures fiscal responsibility, and receives financial support from audience donations, grants, and corporate sponsorships.


The brand new Washington-Lee HS auditorium seats 795 and was constructed with arts performances in mind. Concerts have also taken place at the Kenmore MS auditorium and the Arlington Central Library, a smaller venue that encourages passersby to hear symphonic music. Other locations are always under consideration.

Music Director


A. Scott Wood was named Music Director of the Arlington Philharmonic in April 2010, after conducting the orchestra since June 2008 in an interim capacity. Mr. Wood is also the Artistic Director of Amadeus Concerts, where he conducts the Amadeus Orchestra, and Music Director of the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra, the Washington Conservatory Orchestra, and the National Cathedral School Orchestra. He has recently been a guest on the podium of the Washington Symphonic Brass, the Orchestra Society of Philadelphia, the Brevard (NC) Philharmonic and the Rutgers (NJ) Sinfonia.

In recent years, Mr. Wood conducted the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra at the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival, served as Conductor-in-Residence of the American University Orchestra and lectured and conducted at the Concurso Internacional de Canto Lirico in Peru. His interest in the theatre has led him to work with the Washington Savoyards, Eldbrooke Opera and Arlington's prestigious Signature Theatre.

Mr. Wood is committed to excellence in music education. He has worked with the American Youth Philharmonic, the Shenandoah Valley Youth Symphony, the Potomac Valley Youth Symphony, the Chesapeake Youth Orchestra, the Prince William Youth Orchestra and the D.C. Youth Orchestra. In 2006, the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra presented him with the Serage Award for Music Education. His innovative outreach work with Amadeus has garnered considerable acclaim.

Born in Paris, Mr. Wood received his early training in a German Musikverein. He attended Mount Vernon High School in Alexandria, Virginia, and the University of Illinois. He traveled to London as a finalist in the 1986 International Trumpet Guild Solo Competition. In 1989 Mr. Wood toured Europe as a member of the American Wind Symphony Orchestra, substituting as a conductor in Leningrad and Liverpool at the request of the musicians.

Mr. Wood was a Fellow of the International Workshop for Conductors in the Czech Republic and the South Carolina Conductors Institute, and conducted in workshops led by the American Symphony Orchestra League and the Conductors Guild. In 2001, He was awarded an unsolicited grant from the Geraldine C. & Emory Ford Foundation to the Keene Choral Festival in Connecticut, where he conducted choral and orchestral works. In 2002, he traveled to Italy under the auspices of a Great Cities Fellowship from the National Cathedral Foundation. He was invited to address issues facing young conductors for the 2003 Conductors Guild National Conference in New York.

Mr. Wood lives in Alexandria with his wife Mary McLaren-Wood and their daughters Emma (born in 2003) and Eileen (born in 2006).


In Memory of Maestro Reuben Vartanyan (1936-2008):

The story of Ruben Vartanyan's first concert with the Arlington Symphony tells everything about his mastery of the music and the respect he earned from the players.  At the end of the program - conducted from memory - he motioned for the orchestra to stand and take a bow.  The orchestra refused. This was not a sign of disrespect. On the contrary, the rarely-seen gesture is the players' equivalent of a standing ovation for the conductor, giving him an extra solo bow before taking their own acknowledgment.  Though the search for a new music director was supposed to take two years, there was no doubt that the search was over.

Many famous conductors are infamous among musicians as abusive, tyrannical prima donnas.  Ruben, in contrast, was unfailingly calm and friendly with the players.   "Dear friends," was how greeted the orchestra at the first rehearsal for a concert - and it was clear it was sincerely meant.   Even when a rehearsal had its rough spots, "We are losing time" was the harshest thing that came out of his mouth.  He did not have to browbeat the players into working harder, because he inspired them to do their best.  Nobody wanted to disappoint him; to be considered worthy of playing for him was an honor eagerly sought.  Though musicians often struggle to make a living, players would forgo other gigs to play a concert with the Maestro.

Ruben Vartanyan deserved to have led a much more prestigious orchestra.  And, if he had only been more egotistical and self-promoting, he probably could have had done so.  The musicians who played for him know that his time in Arlington was a priceless gift both to them as musicians and to the community at large.  He will be greatly missed. (Written by Mike Stein, cello)

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