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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Russell Stanger, Namesake of ODU String Quartet, Died Jan. 7

Russell Theodore Stanger, the founding conductor of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, and namesake of Old Dominion University's Russell Stanger String Quartet, died Jan. 7, in Norfolk.

Stanger was an internationally noted composer and conductor. His career accomplishments included: conducting the Boston Pops and serving as a guest conductor with some of the leading North American and European orchestras, such as the Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic and London Philharmonic. He conducted for Benny Goodman, Isaac Stern, Ella Fitzgerald and famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

Stanger came to Virginia in 1966 to conduct the Norfolk Symphony (now the Virginia Symphony); a post he held until 1980, when he became conductor laureate.

At ODU, Stanger was named an advisor to the F. Ludwig Diehn Fund under the purview of the Hampton Roads Community Foundation. Stanger donated his archives of photographs, recordings, music notations, original scores and other memorabilia, including letters from Leonard Bernstein, to ODU's F. Ludwig Diehn Composers Room in 2009. He was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from Old Dominion and the University named the Russell Stanger String Quartet in his honor.

A celebration of life service will be held Saturday, Jan. 31 at 11 a.m. in the Chandler Recital Hall of the Diehn Center for the Performing Arts. Memorial donations may be made to Old Dominion University, earmarked for the Russell Stanger String Quartet, addressed to the Department of Music, Room 2123 of the Diehn Center for the Performing Arts, 4810 Elkhorn Ave., Norfolk, VA, 23529.

For more information, see Stanger's full obituary at the H.D. Oliver Funeral Apartments, Inc. website.