Sound of Charlotte Blog

Bucket Band comes to you at Ivory/Baker Recreation Center

July 18, 2016

The CSO recently partnered with the Arts & Science Council for Culture Blocks, a community partnership designed to bring the arts into diverse communities in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area.

Every Tuesday evening until August 23, the Charlotte Symphony will offer FREE Bucket Band, a fun and interactive hands-on percussion class.

For complete information, including how to register your child, click here and scroll down to see "ASC-Bucket Band."

Check out the class in action below!

5 Questions With...Albert-George Schram

June 2, 2016

This Sunday, we kick off our 2016 Summer Pops series. As preparations mount, we sat down with Conductor Albert-George Schram (he goes by George!) to ask him a few questions about his Summer Pops experience, from start to finish.

Q: So, tell us about how you program a Summer Pops concert?

A: It begins with a simple question: How can we continue to have fun? It's an organic process that starts with finding the right theme, and then plugging music into that. Sometimes I find music that I want to play and then cultivate a theme from that, but mostly it's the other way around. It starts with an idea or concept, and then it evolves, and we find the right balance of variety for our audience.

This year, there was a suggestion to play music about a lot of different places, countries, or cities. All I had to do from there was find a few more pieces of wonderful music that had been written with places in mind - from Baghdad to Chicago, New York to Paris. That idea became Oh, the Places You'll Go, which we'll present on June 26.

Q: Do you have a favorite concert on the 2016 line up?

A: If I'm not excited about it, I don't do it. I love all of the shows we've programmed, and they'll all be special.
I'm excited about Symphony Swings because of all the big band and swing music we'll get to perform. Symphony orchestras aren't big bands, so it's exciting to find a moment to rock the house down, and it's a lot of fun for our musicians especially the brass section.

And I'm always particularly proud of and excited about the Father's Day celebration. We have a gloriously testosterone-ridden evening this year with music from some of our favorite movies. We'll celebrate all the manliness that we can muster with lots of Star Wars, Jurassic Park, and Indiana Jones.

Q: Tell us about your Summer Pops rituals. What do you do to prepare for and/or unwind from the concert?

A: Right before the concert, I tend to keep a low profile. I mostly prefer being alone so I can get in the right mindset. I never eat before a gig because I get too focused and it gets in the way of my concentration.

When we've wrapped up the performance, I'm always wet with sweat from the heat and the movement during the performance, so I definitely need to shower. Then, I change clothes and by that point, I need to eat and I do so with great joy and gusto! Typically, several members of the Symphony staff join me and we get a chance to unwind from the day and enjoy each other's company.

Q: What is your favorite thing about Summer Pops?

I like how deeply we reach into the community. It's a different event all together, and there are people who come out to Summer Pops who don't come to any other concert throughout the year. To be able to connect with those people is a particular treat.

It's a wonderful, family-friendly tradition for the city and I so relish the opportunity to strut the stuff of the Symphony for the faithful audience who is there every year, and the newbies who are joining us for maybe the very first time. It's a mighty fine gang and I'm pleased to be a part of it.

Q: How does the Summer Pops atmosphere differ from a regular Pops show?

A: It's a bit more relaxed and laid back; we can simply allow ourselves to have a bit more fun. It's typically a bit more raucous, too even more so than a Pops show!

It's also accessible to a wide audience, and it's important to me that we have that. The kids don't have to be absolutely quiet and stay in one seat. People can enjoy time with their friends and family, and bring something to eat and drink and I like all of those things. We just want to play good music that people enjoy. What more could we as an orchestra want?

Posted in Summer.

What goes into a WDAV live broadcast?

May 13, 2016

We partner with WDAV, classical public radio, located in Davidson, N.C., for a live broadcast of this weekend's Classics finale performance, Carmina Burana.
So, what goes into setting up a live broadcast from the Belk Theater? Turns out, it's a lot. In fact, it takes the Charlotte Symphony's recorded media producer and engineer Bob Rydel (also a member of the horn section!), plus a crew of 4 to 5 people around 7 hours to set up the stage and control room. This includes 18 microphones and about 6,000 feet of cable. 

It takes another 3 to 4 microphones, over 1,000 feet of cable, and 12 hours to set up the announcer booth backstage and ready the equipment that transfers audio back to the station.

In all, there are 8 on-site members of WDAV staff directly involved in the broadcasts, including 2 broadcast engineers, 1 technical director, 1 or 2 hosts, 1 broadcast producer, 1 broadcast director, and 1 additional studio producer at the station.
What's also cool is that on days of live broadcast, the concert audio is sent back to the station as a digital, stereo signal via the Internet, using multiple IP addresses for back up in the event of disruptions.
WDAV's broadcast signal covers a 22-county area, extending from the North Carolina/Virginia line in the north to Lancaster and Chesterfield counties in South Carolina. The station can be heard across the country and around the world via Internet stream and the WDAV Classical Public Radio app for smartphones and tablets.
Can't make it in person? Tune in to WDAV 89.9 on air or online ( this Friday, May 13, at 8 p.m. for a live broadcast of the Classics series finale Carmina Burana.
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Thank you for 40+ years!

May 11, 2016

As we conclude our 2015-2016 Classics series, we recognize number of our musicians who have dedicated 40-plus years to the organization and the community. Thank you for your service!
Peyton Becton, Principal Percussionist (42 years of service)
Pete Duca, Section Double Bassist (41 years of service)
Gene Kavadlo, Principal Clarinetist (41 years of service)
Mike Mosley, Co-Principal Double Bassist (45 years of service)
Libby Pistolesi, First Violinist (41 years of service)

For more information about our musicians, visit our Musician Bios page.
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Winterfield Elementary wraps up school year

May 10, 2016

The Winterfield Youth Orchestra concluded its sixth season with a concert on Tuesday, May 3rd in the school's gymnasium. Parents and friends enjoyed performances from several Winterfield student ensembles as well as selections from special guest and Charlotte Symphony Principal Bass Trombonist Scott Hartman.

This season, we saw a record number of students participating in our Winterfield program with enrollment nearing 80. 

We are excited and proud to announce that five Winterfield musicians were accepted into the band and orchestra programs at Northwest School of the Arts for the 2016-2017 school year.

Kudos to these fine young budding musicians!

For pictures from Winterfield's final 2015-2016 concert, visit our Event Photo Gallery
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Posted in Education & Community.

Double your impact today!

April 19, 2016

The Charlotte Symphony has soared to new heights in the last few years.  It's because of our donors that the orchestra has reached a new level of artistic excellence and has operated within a balanced budget for the last two years.

And there's never been a better time to be a Symphony donor in light of this exciting news:  Four generous friends of the Symphony have come forward with a $100,000 challenge. For every dollar contributed between now and May 16, they will match gifts received dollar-for-dollar!  

The Charlotte Symphony board, musicians and staff would like to thank our current and future donors for their commitment to the Charlotte Symphony. 

Click here for more information on the challenge and to keep up to date with our progress! Read more

Posted in Support.

5 Questions With: Lonnie Davis, co-founder and president of Charlotte’s Jazz Arts Initiative

April 13, 2016

The Charlotte Symphony brings The Jazz Room to Knight Theater on Friday, April 15 for an exciting KnightSounds collaboration.
We caught up with Lonnie Davis, co-founder and president of Charlotte's Jazz Arts Initiative to chat about Charlotte's jazz scene and our upcoming collaboration.
Tell us a little bit about how orchestral music influenced jazz.
The Swing and Big Band era was heavily influenced by classical music, with intricate arrangements from band leaders like Duke Ellington, Fletcher Henderson, and others. Instruments that were used primarily in classical music have also been played by many jazz musicians--contrabass, violin, flute, oboe, and even bassoon. Many of George Gershwin's compositions have been adopted into the standard repertoire of jazz musicians and the American Song Book.
What will this collaboration be like?
For JAI, the collaboration will be fun. It will certainly be a new approach to the music, and we are really looking forward to it! Ocie Davis and his quartet sees this opportunity for great musicians to get together for a unique and fulfilling musical exchange between and across disciplines.
Does Charlotte have a good jazz scene?
Charlotte has a growing jazz scene. There is a lot of momentum around jazz and jazz-influenced programs in the Queen City--it's a very exciting time for jazz musicians and supporters in Charlotte!
Why is it important for a city like Charlotte to support the jazz scene?
Jazz is America's gift to the world--a true and original art form. Jazz is America's classical music. Charlotteans should support jazz and the musicians that perform it, because this music brings people together, and represents the American experience.
What should Charlotteans know about jazz?
Many prominent and legendary figures in jazz are from the Carolinas (Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Nina Simone). We must support the continuation of this great local jazz legacy.
For tickets and concert information, click here.
Don't miss a special pre-concert talk hosted by The Jazz Room's Curtis Davenport beginning at 6:30 p.m. on the Knight Theater stage.

5 Questions With...Kenney Potter

February 26, 2016

The Charlotte Symphony Chorus performs the Duruflé Requiem next Saturday, March 5, 2016 at First United Methodist Church. We caught up with Director of Choruses Kenney Potter to ask a few questions about the composer and this work.

We know Maurice Duruflé (1902-1986) composed this work in the 1940s and dedicated it to his father. What else do we know about its meaning?
KP: What I think is interesting about this work is that, at the time of this commission, Duruflé was also working on an organ suite using themes from Gregorian chant. Those themes are very noticeable in this work.

What most notably sets Duruflé's Requiem apart from other popular requiem compositions?
KP: He does set this work to the traditional requiem text, but it's intended to explore the different emotions around death for the survivors, so there is a real feeling of solace.

Unlike most requiem works, Duruflé excluded the "Dies irae" (day of wrath) text from his composition. Why?
KP: Similarly to the Fauré Requiem we heard in the fall, Duruflé chose to focus on the uplifting emotions of the survivors. He chose to compose in a more reflective, tranquil manner. There is a deeply spiritual, yet reserved, sense about the compositional style.

Tell us a bit about the soloists -- Andre Lash, organ; Clara O'Brien, mezzo soprano; Patrick Howle, baritone.
KP: We looked for singers in the region who would fit the colors, expectations, and requirements of this piece quite well, and I am looking forward to the artistic contributions of Clara and Patrick. It is going to be an exciting performance!
We engaged Andre Lash, the organist, for a couple of reasons: one, it's nice to bring back a part of the Symphony family. Andre was the accompanist for the Charlotte Symphony Chorus (formerly Oratorio Singers of Charlotte) for many years. He's also an accomplished and respected organist in our region and I have conducted this piece with him before. It will be nice to work with him again - and all the soloists!

How will performing the Requiem in the historic sanctuary of First United Methodist Church amplify the experience for the audience?
KP: The European architecture of FUMC is exactly what we were looking for in order to capture the sacred essence of the concert and help the audience really step into the works through the natural ambiance of the church.

Full program:
PARRY I Was Glad
BRITTEN Rejoice in the Lamb

Tickets are $10 at the door. For more information, please click here.

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2016-2017 Classics Series Announcement

February 16, 2016

Music Director Christopher Warren-Green talked with WDAV's Frank Dominguez about our upcoming 2016-2017 Classics series at a reception following our Classics performance on Friday, February 5.

Read more

Posted in Classics.

Superbowl bet with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra (video)

February 3, 2016

CSOvsCSO The Charlotte and Colorado symphony orchestras put a little wager on the big game! May the best team (and orchestra) win. Go Panthers!

Update:  So, we lost. We know it's time to pay up and we're working on scheduling our performance of "Hoe Down." Watch this space or follow us on social media for all the latest information!

Update, 3/18/16: Maestro Warren-Green was happy to repay our debt to the Colorado Symphony last night. 

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