Sound of Charlotte Blog

Justice's Journey

Justice Crawford is making a musical name for himself.

His mother, a psychologist and one-time flutist, has played in orchestras and knew she wanted her children to be exposed to music. "I've always had an appreciation for what music can do for the mind and for a person's spirit in general," says Endora Crawford. "It's always been my plan for my kids to dabble in music."

But Justice is doing more than just dabbling. This talented 8th grader is one of the first two students from the Charlotte Symphony's Winterfield Youth Orchestra program (now part of Project Harmony), covered in The Charlotte Observer in 2014 for his successful audition and admission into Northwest School of the Arts.                

Maybe music helped ground Justice. His father served as a U.S. Naval Officer for 23 years, so he was born in Japan and spent many of his younger years in Hawaii. When his parents divorced, his mother moved the boys from Hawaii to Charlotte, landing in the Winterfield neighborhood. The family then moved to south Charlotte, where he is now an 8th grader at Alexander Graham Middle School.
Justice recently took his musical next step: auditioning for the Charlotte Symphony Junior Youth Orchestra.

Of the new group, in which Justice plays viola, Ms. Crawford says, "It's good to push him." Following his little bit of fame, she adds, she noticed an increased seriousness from her son--that people were noticing him, so they would be counting on him. "For the seating auditions, we could tell he was physically nervous," she says. "But that just meant that he knows it was important, and I love that. It shows that he was really taking it to heart."

Joining JYO also has given Justice a heightened level of discipline, Ms. Crawford says. "He's learning the expectation that you're going to play your best ... and practice harder, because others are now relying on you." Like any sport, an orchestra makes you part of a team. And Justice is playing his part.

So what's next for this budding violist? Ms. Crawford says she and her son have talked about career choices and this lover of math says his top choices are to become an Intellectual Property attorney or go into cyber security. As for music, Ms. Crawford says, "The plan is to play music as long as he'd like to continue to play."
 
Come support Justice and the dozens of other talented young musicians in JYO at an upcoming concerts. Read more

Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" Poems

Did you know that the music of Vivaldi's Four Seasons is based on four poems written by Antonio Vivaldi? In the music, each "Season" consists of a three-movement concerto. Two quick-tempo outer movements frame a central slow-tempo movement. The sonnets included in the score provide a specific description of each movement.  A prose translation of the original Italian is provided below.


La Primavera (Spring)
Opus 8, No. 1, in E Major

I. Allegro--
Festive Spring has arrived,
The birds salute it with their happy song.
And the brooks, caressed by little Zephyrs,
Flow with a sweet murmur.
The sky is covered with a black mantle,
And thunder, and lightning, announce a storm.
When they are silent, the birds
Return to sing their lovely song.
II. Largo e pianissimo sempre--
And in the meadow, rich with flowers,
To the sweet murmur of leaves and plants,
The goatherd sleeps, with his faithful dog at his side.
III. Danza pastorale. Allegro--
To the festive sound of pastoral bagpipes,
Dance nymphs and shepherds,
At Spring's brilliant appearance.


L'Estate (Summer)
Opus 8, No. 2, in G minor

I. Allegro non molto--
Under the heat of the burning summer sun,
Languish man and flock; the pine is parched.
The cuckoo finds its voice, and suddenly,
The turtledove and goldfinch sing.
A gentle breeze blows,
But suddenly, the north wind appears.
The shepherd weeps because, overhead,
Lies the fierce storm, and his destiny.
II. Adagio; Presto--
His tired limbs are deprived of rest
By his fear of lightning and fierce thunder,
And by furious swarms of flies and hornets.
III. Presto--
Alas, how just are his fears,
Thunder and lightening fill the Heavens, and the hail
Slices the tops of the corn and other grain.


L'Autunno (Autumn)
Opus 8, No. 3, in F Major

I. Allegro--
The peasants celebrate with dance and song,
The joy of a rich harvest.
And, full of Bacchus's liquor,
They finish their celebration with sleep.
II. Adagio molto--
Each peasant ceases his dance and song.
The mild air gives pleasure,
And the season invites many
To enjoy a sweet slumber.
III. Allegro--
The hunters, at the break of dawn, go to the hunt.
With horns, guns, and dogs they are off,
The beast flees, and they follow its trail.
Already fearful and exhausted by the great noise,
Of guns and dogs, and wounded,
The exhausted beast tries to flee, but dies.


L'Inverno (Winter)
Opus 8, No. 4, in F minor

I. Allegro non molto--
Frozen and trembling in the icy snow,
In the severe blast of the horrible wind,
As we run, we constantly stamp our feet,
And our teeth chatter in the cold.
II. Largo--
To spend happy and quiet days near the fire,
While, outside, the rain soaks hundreds.
III. Allegro--
We walk on the ice with slow steps,
And tread carefully, for fear of falling.
Symphony, If we go quickly, we slip and fall to the ground.
Again we run on the ice,
Until it cracks and opens.
We hear, from closed doors,
Sirocco, Boreas, and all the winds in battle.
This is winter, but it brings joy.

 
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Posted in Classics.

The Story Behind Haydn's "Farewell" Symphony

In line with the historical context of the work, your CSO musicians will be snuffing out their candles and leaving the stage at the close of Haydn's Symphony No. 45, "Farewell". So what's the story behind this tradition?

It all started with the premier in 1772. Haydn was employed as royal conductor to Prince Nikolaus Esterházy and had taken temporary residence at the Prince's castle in Hungary. After what seemed to be an extremely long season, Haydn and his musicians were long overdue to return home to their families. 

To their dismay, the Prince requested they stay longer to perform a new symphony. Haydn, of course sympathetic to his musicians' plight, devised a plan to change the Prince's mind. He wrote what became known as the "Farewell" symphony to include a special ending.
 
During the last movement at the premier, just as the music's dynamic momentum began to bring the movement to a close, there was an unexpected pause and an Adagio began. As this new, slower section of the movement proceeded, musician after musician finished his part, snuffed his candle, and left the stage. By the time the piece was over, all but two violins remained on stage. Did the protest work? According to the historical telling of this story, the Prince bid his musicians a farewell the following day, and allowed them to return home to their families. 


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Spotlight On: Violinist and Conductor Aisslinn Nosky

Hailed as "a fearsomely powerful musician" by The Toronto Star, Canadian-born violinist Aisslinn Nosky is one of the most versatile and dynamic violinists today. She is in demand internationally as a soloist and director and was appointed Concertmaster of the Handel and Haydn Society in 2011. She has performed in solo and chamber music recitals across North America, Europe and Asia. Recent appearances as soloist include La Jolla SummerFest, the Staunton Music Festival, the Thunder Bay Symphony, Holland Baroque, the Calgary Philharmonic, and Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra. In 2016 Aisslinn was named Principal Guest Conductor of the Niagara Symphony.
 
As a founding member of the Eybler quartet, Nosky explores repertoire from early quartet literature on period instruments. The Eybler Quartet's recording of Haydn's Opus 33 string quartets was released in 2012 on the Analekta label. The Globe and Mail mused "Many a great string quartet annihilates Haydn with incorrect tempos, intense legato, and a general misunderstanding of classical syntax. Here we have them as the composer might have heard them himself. In fact, maybe even better."
 
As Co-Artistic Director of I FURIOSI Baroque Ensemble, Aisslinn has helped bring an enthusiastic new audience to baroque music. Since 2001, I FURIOSI has presented its own flamboyant and inventive concert series in Toronto, and they have toured North America and Europe.
 
Aisslinn began playing violin at age three and received her early training at the Nanaimo Conservatory with Heilwig von Konigslow. At age eight, Aisslinn made her solo debut with the CBC Vancouver Orchestra. When she was 15, Nosky began studying in Toronto with Lorand Fenyves, at the Royal Conservatory of Music's Glenn Gould School. Further studies included both solo and chamber music for several summers at the Banff Centre for the Arts, and chamber music at the Steans Music Institute of the Ravinia Festival as a member of the Metro String Quartet.
 
Your CSO is excited to welcome Aisslinn as violinist and conductor for Vivaldi Four Seasons.
 
Select your seats today!
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Posted in Classics.

Making the Most of Magic of Christmas



Whether, like us, it's a 20-year holiday tradition for you, or you're attending for the first time with your family, Magic of Christmas is sure to be full of memorable fun! Make it even better with these need-to-know tips to help enhance your experience.

Brice Burton, principal percussionKnow the players.
Get to know the 59 full-time professional orchestra musicians you'll hear performing on stage during Magic of Christmas. For one, the man who makes the horse-clopping noises and cracks during "Sleigh Ride?" That's Principal Percussionist Brice Burton, one of six new musicians this season. Read more about our newcomers on our blog.

Get to know Mark O'Connor.
Did you know that the Charlotte Symphony has an Artist-In-Residence? That's right, through the 2018-19 season, Grammy Award-winning fiddler, composer, and educator Mark O'Connor joins us for several mainstage performances, plus he contributes to our educational efforts out at Northwest School of the Arts and through Project Harmony.

Grammy-winning O'Connor Band joins us for Magic of ChristmasFor these performances (excluding the Saturday morning Lollipops Magic of Christmas performance), Mark's wife Maggie and their family band join us for bluegrass-inspired renditions of favorites like "Linus and Lucy," the tune everyone knows from A Charlie Brown Christmas. Watch a backstage video of the band performing the song here.

Hear Mark and Maggie in studio with WDAV's Frank Dominguez here.


Andrea
will strike the harp. YOU join the chorus!

Of course our 100-person Charlotte Symphony Chorus and the Charlotte Children's Choir of Community School of the Arts will make the event merry with selections like "Holly Jolly Christmas" and "Mary's Boy Child." But we know in your heart of hearts that you want to join in the fun! The chorus will lead us in singalongs from "Deck the Halls" to "Jingle Bells."

Come early to snap family photos with Santa!
The Jolly man himself will join us on and off stage. Look for the man in red 30 minutes before the concert and during intermission in the Grand Tier lobby. Charlotte Symphony and holiday-themed backdrops will make for great holiday card shots!

Dress appropriately.
And by that, we mean wear the ugliest sweater you can find. Three lucky winners at each performance will be selected to win our ugly sweater social media contest. Find a frame on each lobby level and snap a shot with your awful sweater and tag @cltsymphony using the hashtag #CSOmagic.

Prepare to be surprised!
All audience members will have the chance to enter to win a surprise at every performance. 

If you have very young children, join us for our special Saturday morning Lollipops shortened version of Magic of Christmas. This performance is just an hour long and still includes the full orchestra, choruses, and Santa!

Performances:
Thursday, November 30, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, December 1, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, December 2, 11 a.m.
Saturday, December 2, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, December 3, 4 p.m.
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Spotlight On: O'Connor Band

Before you see them perform at Magic of Christmas, get to know a little bit about O'Connor Band! 

The O'Connor Band's very first performance took place at the legendary Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas in 2015. In 2017 less than a year and a half later they took home the GRAMMY Award for Best Bluegrass Album for their debut recording, Coming Home.

In a whirlwind 18 months, the band has also performed at the GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony, received standing ovations at the Grand Ole Opry, reached the No. 1 spot on Billboard's Top Bluegrass Albums chart, and partnered with powerhouse booking agency William Morris Endeavor Entertainment (WME).

The O'Connor Band is the product of Mark O'Connor's imagination one that has served him well over the course of his four-decade professional career. A former child prodigy and national champion on the fiddle, guitar, and mandolin, Mark has won numerous GRAMMYs and CMA Awards, appeared on hundreds of commercial country albums, collaborated with the likes of Johnny Cash, Wynton Marsalis, Dolly Parton, and Yo-Yo Ma, and performed everything from original violin concertos to swing and jazz. But until recently, he had not worked on a project quite like this.
 
At Music City Roots in Franklin, TN.
At Music City Roots in Franklin, TN.

"It's been one of the most surprising and rewarding experiences to perform with my family members on stage," says Mark. "It's really exciting to bend these American genres in new ways, combining accessibility with a real depth of musicianship and writing."

In addition to Mark, the band features his son Forrest, (Harvard graduate and former Tennessee State Mandolin Champion), daughter-in-law Kate (frequent performer on the CMA Awards and CMA Country Christmas shows), and wife Maggie (graduate of the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University). The band is rounded out by Joe Smart (national flatpick champion on guitar) and Geoff Saunders (bassist/banjoist extraordinaire and recent graduate of the University of Miami's DMA program). All six band members possess charisma that, when combined onstage, ensnares audiences from start to finish.

Don't miss the amazing talent and charisma of Mark O'Connor and O'Connor Band, live during the Magic of Christmas! Get your tickets today!



All information comes from O'Connor Band's website. To learn more, visit www.oconnorband.com.
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Spotlight On: Violinist Benjamin Beilman



Born in 1989, American violinist Benjamin Beilman is winning plaudits across the globe for his compelling and impassioned performances, his deep rich tone and searing lyricism and is quickly establishing himself as one of the most significant artists of his generation. The New York Times has praised his "handsome technique, burnished sound, and quiet confidence [which] showed why he has come so far so fast". Reviewing his latest recording, The Strad said "Beilman imbues every idea with a scorching expressive imperativeness... soaring aloft with ear-ringingly pure intonation... then lacerating our sensitivities with hectoring explosions of sound."

In Europe Beilman has performed with many of the major orchestras including the London Philharmonic, Frankfurt Radio Symphony and Zurich Tonhalle and in 16/17 made his debut with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony orchestras and the Orchestre National de Capitole de Toulouse. In the US recent highlights have included a return San Francisco Symphony, and debuts with Dallas Symphony, Atlanta Symphony and Nashville Symphony orchestras.
Beilman performs regularly in recital and chamber music, appearing at halls such as Wigmore Hall, Stockholm Concert Hall, Louvre (Paris), Rudolfinum (Prague), Philharmonie (Berlin) and at festivals including Verbier, Aix-en-Provence Easter, Colmar, Moritzburg, Heidelberg and in 2017 he made his debut at Amsterdam's Concertgebouw in the Robeco Summer Concerts in trio with Louis Schwizgebel and Narek Hakhnazaryan. In the US Beilman performs regularly at Carnegie Hall and is a frequent guest artist at festivals such as Music@Menlo, Marlboro, Seattle Chamber Music; further afield he made a ten-city recital tour of Australia in 2016 with Andrew Tyson and looks forward to recitals in SE Asia in the coming seasons.

Beilman has received several prestigious awards including a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship, an Avery Fisher Career Grant and a London Music Masters Award. In 2010 he won the First Prize in the Young Concert Artists International Auditions, and as First Prize Winner of the 2010 Montréal International Musical Competition and winner of the People's Choice Award, Beilman recorded Prokofiev's complete sonatas for violin on the Analekta label in 2011. In 2016 he released his first disc for Warner Classics titled Spectrum, featuring works by Stravinsky, Janacek and Schubert.
Beilman studied with Almita and Roland Vamos at the Music Institute of Chicago, Ida Kavafian and Pamela Frank at the Curtis Institute of Music, and Christian Tetzlaff at the Kronberg Academy. He plays the "Engleman" Stradivarius from 1709 generously on loan from the Nippon Music Foundation.
 
To learn more about Beilman, visit http://www.benjaminbeilman.com/biography/




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Posted in Classics.

Spotlight On: Composer and Pannist Andy Akiho

On November 10th, steel pannist and composer Andy Akiho joins us for a night of energetic, captivating music.
 
A steelpan, sometimes referred to as a steeldrum, is a concave, metal bowl-like instrument native to Trinidad and Tobago. Its sound is most often associated with warm, islandic regions like the Caribbean and eastern parts of South America. The instrument is unique in that its sound can be both melodic and percussive--one minute the notes are liquid, silvery, and flowing; the next, they are tinny, rasping beats.
 
Andy Akiho, who is of Trinidadian decent but grew up in Columbia, South Carolina, says it was the steelpan that led him to become a composer. Currently working on a PhD in composition at Princeton University, Akiho has found a way to unite the sunny sounds of the steelpan with contemporary classical repertory. Beneath Lighted Coffers, the piece he will perform with us on November 10, represents this union. 
 
The five-movement work was inspired by the sophisticated architecture of the Roman Pantheon. From the portico, to the oculus, and even the marbled patterns of the floors, each movement provides a representation of different parts of the ancient temple.
 
The elaborate metaphor that is Beneath Lighted Coffers pushes the limits of intellectual design. In this work, Akiho presents a rare and interesting notion: he incorporates the architecture of a building into the very architecture of a composition. Numbers derived from the structural engineering of the Pantheon are echoed in the time signatures and percussion of the piece. Perhaps this is just one reason why Akiho is so well known for breaking the mold of contemporary classical music.
 
We hope you'll join us for this unique and rare opportunity to witness Steelpan Orchestra, November 10, 7:30 p.m. at Knight Theater. Tickets start at just $19.






Learn more about Andy Akiho at www.andyakiho.com.
 
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Welcome New Musician: Hunter Gordon

Hunter Gordon
Originally from Port Angeles, Washington, Hunter Gordon is currently the Charlotte Symphony's Acting Section Bassoon. He holds a master's from Rice University's Shepherd School of Music and both a bachelor's of music and psychology from Oberlin College and Conservatory. Previously Second Bassoon/Assistant Principal of the Symphony of Southeast Texas, Gordon has also appeared with the Houston Symphony, Houston Grand Opera, Louisiana Philharmonic, and as guest principal of the Jacksonville Symphony. Summer festivals have included the Verbier Festival, Spoleto Festival USA, National Repertory Orchestra, Texas Music Festival, and Round Top Festival Institute.

Hometown: Port Angeles, Washington
 
Why did you select your instrument?
When I was in 6th grade, my band director lured me into playing bassoon by promoting the fact that no one played it in the entire school, meaning I wouldn't have to pay a rental fee. Even 11-year-old me knew that was a bargain I couldn't pass up. Turns out, it I loved it!
 
Does your instrument have a special story?
My instrument is a Heckel, built in 1954.
 
What would most surprise people about you?
I grew up with pet chickens. My sister and I named each of them and tried to train them, but that was a failure.
 
What's your funniest on-stage moment?
During a concert at a summer festival, I inhaled a bug during a quiet moment and coughed violently for a couple of minutes, causing me to miss several entrances and, in turn, much distress for the conductor.
 
Any pre-performance rituals?
I drink plenty of water.
 
Other than your instrument, what would we find in your instrument case?
Various reed-making tools; you never know when you'll need them!
 


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Meet the Performers of Cirque de la Symphonie

Before you are bedazzled by the awe-inspiring performance of Cirque Goes to the Cinema, get to know the incredible Juilliard-trained musician and former Cirque du Soleil and Ringling Brothers performers that comprise Cirque de la Symphonie!


Janice Martin is a solo violinist who brings multiple talents. A Juilliard School of Music standout, she has won competitions such as the Washington International Competition and the Lena Na International Competition and was recipient of the Amadeus Career Grant Award and the Career Award Grant from the National Endowment of the Arts. In addition to being a concert violinist, opera singer and classical pianist, Janice has become an accomplished aerialist as well. 







Vitalii Buza began his gymnastic training in the Republic of Moldova and soon competed as an elite gymnast with the Russian national team. After a move to the US, he starred in productions at Sea World, Universal Studios, and Walt Disney World. He has been featured in numerous TV ads and won a role in the Walt Disney movie Enchanted. He excels in duo hand-balancing, straps, Cyr wheel, spinning cube, Chinese pole, and Russian bar.



Alexandra "Sasha" Pivaral has performed and headlined in countless productions around the world, including famous "Cirque Du Soleil". She has won prestigious awards for competing in top International Circus such as "Monte Carlo International Circus Festival" in Monaco and considered to be one of the most talented acrobats in her field of contortion, balancing and hula hoops. It is her stage presence, originality of elements and choreography that set her far above anyone else.



Vladimir Tsarkov provides a spell-binding performance with combinations of mime and juggling feats. A favorite of the younger members of the audiences, Vladimir's Red Harlequin act features rings, balls, and batons, and he's even been known to teach the maestro a trick or two! He is a veteran of Circus Circus, Cirque Ingenieux, and various Cirque de la Symphonie performances. 




Elena Tsarkova the "Lady in White," is a graduate of the famed Moscow Circus School and first-place winner of the prestigious National Russian Circus Festival. From her Master of Sports in gymnastics, Elena developed into a unique and graceful performer with the Big Apple Circus, Switzerland's Circus Knie, and Germany's Circus Roncalli. Her combination of contortion, balance, and graceful dance moves has made her a major star.



Pavel Prikhodko is a native of Voronezh, Russia, and is a 3-time national champion of Russia, 2-time World Champion, and 2-time Champion of the World Cup in acrobatic sport. A former veteran with Cirque du Soleil's "Varekai," Pavel is a multi-talented performer on straps, Russian swing, trampoline, and acrobatics. 




Ekaterina Borzikova is a graduate of the School of Olympic Reserve in St. Petersburg, Russia. A dynamic professional circus performer, Ekaterina has been involved with all aspects of the art form as a performer and creator of unique acts. She is a 10-year veteran of Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus, and is an accomplished performer on the aerial platform. She was the recipient of the Jean-Louis Marsan Award as an outstanding performer. 


Vitaliy Korshunov is a native of Ukraine, where he graduated from Kiev State Circus College. He began his career with the National Circus of Ukraine, winning first place at the New Ukrainian Circus Festival. His acrobatic experience includes worldwide tours with Nikulin's Moscow Circus.



















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