From the NRO to … the Virginia Symphony Orchestra

By Shauna Farnell

At age 25, Amanda Frampton finds her career already soaring. This August, she became the Operations Manager at the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, but can’t imagine taking on such a role without learning the ropes during her two summers with the National Repertory Orchestra.

Ever since she began playing the violin at age 5, inspired by Elmo on Sesame Street, Frampton has maintained a singular focus: bringing people together with music.

Amanda Frampton by Elaine Collins

Amanda Frampton oversees the Porch Series at Breckenridge Associates Real Estate- Photo by Elaine Collins

However, growing up in rural Pennsylvania, there were not many outlets available for performing, at least not in the immediate vicinity.

“I went to a teeny tiny high school. We did not have a strings program. The only music we had was the marching band. I was so fortunate to have such loving and supportive parents. They were willing to drive me to Pittsburgh for lessons and youth symphony rehearsals. They knew it was something I fell in love with and something I wanted to pursue,” Frampton says.

An only child, Frampton’s parents drove her to Pittsburgh – about two hours each way – at least twice a week throughout her childhood.

During undergrad and graduate studies, the young violinist’s commitment to her art never wavered, but did expand. After achieving a Bachelor of Arts in Violin Performance with a minor in arts administration from West Virginia University, she ended up pursuing dual graduate degrees in both Violin Performance and Arts Administration at Florida State University. She graduated this May before embarking on her second summer with the National Repertory Orchestra. Having earned the role of Personnel Fellow in 2022, Frampton was invited back this year for the role of Community Engagement Manager.

“For Personnel, you’re really the liaison between the admin and the musicians. My best memories from that summer were the connections with the musicians and the sense of community among them, how thrilled they all were to be there and to come together to make music in the mountains,” she recalls. “This past summer as Community Engagement Manager, my favorite memories were my interactions with our patrons, specifically in the instrument petting zoos. Getting young audience members to come up and try instruments, I realized that we are out here making a difference, spreading our love for the arts and truly making an impact.”

Frampton describes her first few weeks with the Virginia Symphony as “a great experience,” but one she can’t fathom without the tools and knowledge gained in Breckenridge.

Amanda Frampton at Community Engagement by Elaine Collins

Amanda Frampton takes the microphone for Concerts on the Square at Main Street Station – Photo by Elaine Collins

“Serving in both of those roles at the NRO were important stepping stones for this position,” she says.

While Frampton has continued teaching violin online, she says her fingers are itching to play. She hopes to soon make time in her busy schedule to practice her art again, perhaps with her new colleagues, who are fellow string musicians. In the meantime, her off-stage role delivers a similar type of fulfillment.

“One of our first events was a side-by-side concert where community musicians could register and play with the orchestra. That was a very moving event. The final piece they played, I was tearing up. I was standing there, realizing that as a community musician, an orchestra musician or an administrator, we’re all in this room because of music,” she says. “Whether I’m performing or not on the stage, I’m working on one goal – to bring music to communities. As a performer, I’ve experienced first-hand the transformative power of music. Now, in either role, I have the ability to bring people together.”

Frampton says she will always view her time in Breckenridge as the launchpad for the inspiring path she’s on and all that lies ahead.

“I have so much gratitude and love for the NRO and all they’ve given me in these early stages of my career,” she says. “I’ll always be grateful for my experiences there.”

Hero Image: Amanda Frampton introduces a new musician to the strings by Nat Hickman