Sound of Charlotte Blog
We're trying something a little different this season. On October 15, a quartet of CSO musicians are going "Off the Rails" with a performance of contemporary music at Snug Harbor in Plaza Midwood. We caught up with two members of the quartet, Assistant Concertmaster Kari Giles and Acting Assistant Principal violist Kirsten Swanson, to get a sneak peek of the program.
|Assistant Concertmaster Kari Giles|
KG: I've never been fortunate to play a concert quite like Off the Rails! I have always been passionate about new music and putting together creative programs. It is so fun to search and discover new composers, bring their works to life, and then share them with an audience for the first time. [So] having the freedom to create a program and literally being told to "get wild" and "out there" was thrilling. I knew immediately that I wanted to partner with Jenny Topilow and Kirsten Swanson. On top of being amazing musicians, they are dear friends, and we have a long history of playing chamber music together. Jeremy Lamb has also been involved in many local new music collaborations and is a composer himself, so I knew he would be perfect addition
KS: I have been very fortunate to have spent a lot of my career playing contemporary music, and I absolutely love the creativity of 20th and 21st Century string quartet writing. I did a similarly programmed concert last year, but what I especially love about these pieces is that the composers play around with the Western musical tradition of a steady, toe-tappable, rhythm and sends the listener's inward pulse "off the rails."
What kind of music is on the program? How was it selected?
KG: The concert will open with John Adams' "John's Book of Alleged Dances." When it was suggested by my husband Mark Lewis, who is also a composer, I instantly loved it and knew we had to program it. Next on the program is "Carrot Revolution" by young and upcoming composer Gabriella Smith. The words "Rock Out" are literally marked into all of our parts in the opening, and the piece is filled with fiddle, blues, and rock riffs. Listen closely to hear her homage to The Who! A friend recommended I check out our third featured composer, Pamela Z. As an artist and composer, Pamela Z creates eclectic works using voice, live electronic processing and sampled sound. I don't want to give too much away, so I will just say that this work is dreamy and super cool. We have a few more surprises as well, so I hope everyone will come out ready to hear some new music they've never heard before!
|Acting Assistant Principal violist Kirsten Swanson|
KS: The works on the program toy with our sense of pulse and rhythm, one of the most essential elements of music. In the Adams work, he has the quartet playing with a pre-recorded track played on a player piano. The track is sort of our metronome, except it's not quite steady (or is it?), which is a trip for us as players and for the audience! Adams is making such fun of the idea of what makes a dance a dance and how we each frame our sense of pulse. I'll be so curious to hear what the audience feels throughout these.
Which do you think is the coolest or most fun piece on the program?
KG: The part of the program that is most personal to me is a movement of the Adams work called "Judah to Ocean." Adams is from San Francisco, and this movement is a musical picture of the N Judah train. It also happens to be one of the trains I took quite frequently when I was a student at the San Francisco Conservatory! Lots of good memories there.
KS: Carrot Revolution is totally the most fun! Anything that says "Rock Out" is going to be my favorite piece!
What kind of music do you listen to for fun?
KG: Currently my go-to musical companions are Prince, Rhianna, Tori Amos, and The Cure. I am also really going through a traditional Irish phase, and Dervish is just magical. My all-time favorite band, though, is Jump Little Children, who I went to school with when I was at NCSA.
KS: Oh man. My playlist is embarrassing. Last week I listened to Lizzo (butchered the lyrics); Raffi because he has a beautiful voice and the lyrics still get me as an adult (I mean! Robin in the rain/what a saucy fellow); Anderson .Paak because he's just amazing; and the oldies...because my parents did, and it's the music I listened to growing up.
What do you think people need to know about the concert before they show up?
KG: Just put on your coolest (or uncoolest) outfit, grab a drink at the bar, and have fun!
CSO Off the Rails will rock Snug Harbor on October 15 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online in advance or at the door.
We're thrilled to announce the return of "Charlotte Symphony in Performance" on WDAV Classical 89.9!
Tune in from 3-5 p.m. on Saturdays, August 24 through October 12, to enjoy (or relive!) four popular concerts from 2017 and 2018 in their entirety. View the schedule below to plan out an afternoon with your Charlotte Symphony playing Gershwin, Bernstein, Mozart, and Mahler.
Air dates: Saturday, August 24, 3 p.m.
Saturday, September 21, 3 p.m.
Christopher Warren-Green, conductor
Charlotte Symphony Chorus
GERSHWIN An American in Paris
COPLAND Old American Songs
MARK O'CONNOR Americana Symphony
Air dates: Saturday, August 31, 3 p.m.
Saturday, September 28, 3 p.m.
Christopher Warren-Green, conductor
Jennifer Johnson Cano, mezzo-soprano
BERNSTEIN Symphony No. 1, "Jeremiah"
BERNSTEIN Symphonic Suite from On the Waterfront
BERNSTEIN Symphonic Dances from West Side Story
Mozart Exsultate Jubilate
Air dates: Saturday, September 7, 3 p.m.
Saturday, October 5, 3 p.m.
Christopher Warren-Green, conductor
Amanda Forsythe, soprano
MOZART Overture to The Magic Flute
HAYDN Symphony No. 65
MOZART Exsultate, jubilate
HAYDN Symphony No. 45
Mahler Symphony No. 2
Air dates: Saturday, September 14, 3 p.m.
Saturday, Saturday, October 12, 3 p.m.
The 2016-17 Classical series finale featured just one work; and it was big. More than 250 musicians joined forces to perform Mahler's Second Symphony. A magnificent work that explores the full range of human emotion and our shared quest for understanding. Experience wonder, doubt, triumph and faith in this epic, life-affirming journey
MAHLER Symphony No. 2 (in C Minor), "Resurrection"
Christopher Warren-Green, conductor
Charlotte Symphony Chorus
Kathleen Kim, soprano
Maya Lahyani, mezzo-soprano
This concert titled "Mahler Symphony No. 2" was performed at Belk Theater, May 12-13, 2017.Read more
This season, we're thrilled to have two outstanding women conductors lead the orchestra in concerts featuring masterworks by Beethoven and Bach. Find out how these women broke the "Glass Podium" and became trailblazers in the industry.
JoAnn Falletta: Classical Woman of the Year
JoAnn Falletta is the Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the Brevard Music Center and Music Advisor to the Hawaii Symphony. This year, she was named by Performance Today Classical Women of the Year. Falletta joins us April 3-5, 2020 to guest conduct Beethoven's Pastoral at Knight Theater.
Here's how Falletta is making waves in the industry:
- Upon her appointment as Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic, she became the first woman to lead a major American ensemble. She has since been credited with bringing the Philharmonic to a new level of national and international prominence.
- In 2018, she made history as the first American woman conductor to lead an orchestra at the prestigious Beethoven Easter Festival.
- She has a discography of 115 titles, 2 of which won GRAMMY® Awards and 10 received nominations.
- She is acclaimed by The Washington Post as having "Toscanini's tight control over ensemble, Walter's affectionate balancing of inner voices, Stokowski's gutsy showmanship, and a controlled frenzy worthy of Bernstein."
- She has guest conducted over a 100 orchestras in North America, and many of the most prominent orchestras in Europe, Asia, South America and Africa.
- She has introduced over 500 works by American composers, including well over 100 world premieres.
Jeannette Sorrell brings fire to Baroque
GRAMMY®-winning conductor and harpsichordist Jeannette Sorrell is recognized internationally as one of today's most compelling interpreters of Baroque and Classical repertoire. She joins us April 17-18, 2020 to guest conduct Bach Brandenburg Concertos at Knight Theater.
What makes Sorrell extraordinary?
- She is the founder and artistic director of the renowned period ensemble APOLLO'S FIRE, with which has one of the largest audiences of any baroque orchestra in North America and sold-out concerts at Carnegie Hall, London's BBC Proms, Madrid's Royal Theatre, the Library of Congress, the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), and more.
- She, with APOLLO'S FIRE, has achieved 8 bestsellers on the Billboard classical chart and a 2019 GRAMMY®-winner.
- She studied conducting under Leonard Bernstein and Roger Norrington; and studied harpsichord with pioneer and pillar of the early music movement Gustav Leonhardt.
- She won both First Prize and the Audience Choice Award in the Spivey International Harpsichord Competition, competing against over 70 harpsichordists from Europe, Israel, the U.S., and the Soviet Union.
- She has attracted national attention and awards for her creative programming, which has brought many new listeners to early music.
- In demand with topnotch symphony orchestras and period groups alike, Sorrell has led the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, Handel & Haydn Society, and more.
See these women in action at Knight Theater on April 3-5, 2020 for Beethoven's Pastoral and April 17-18, 2020 for Bach Brandenburg Concertos. Read more
It is with a heavy heart that we share former Charlotte Symphony cellist Dr. Samuel Craig Davis passed away on July 2, 2019. Dr. Davis was a musician, CMS educator, and trailblazer as one of the first African Americans to integrate into the Symphony in 1963. Current Charlotte Symphony musicians gathered at his funeral service on July 6 at First Baptist Church-West and played Bach's Air as he was laid to rest.
Dr. Davis's grandson, Derrick Eure, shares the main details of his life's work and how his perseverance made an impact on the symphony, and the greater Charlotte community.
Dr. Samuel Craig Davis's, life was highly dedicated to music education. As an African American Orchestra teacher in the Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools System in the early 1960's, Dr. Davis was already a trail blazer for introducing classical music into the world of a segregated Charlotte at the junior high and high school level. It wasn't until 1963, on his third attempt auditioning for the symphony, that himself and lifelong friend, Leroy Sellers (also a Violin teacher with CMS) were selected to be apart of the symphony under the direction of Richard Cormier. Following Cormier as Director, Jacques Browman would direct the two friends for the next 13 years.
During that time, Dr. Davis went on to foster a plethora of friendships with symphony friends, further crossing the racial divide with the common love for the music. Quartets were formed, and so many recitals took place as the symphony played in the home my grandfather masterfully built. In fact, Aurdrey Browman, wife of the director Jacques Bowman, even gave a piano recital, with notable members of the symphony performing, time and time again as he opened the doors to his home.
Let it never be about your skin, or where you're from or where you studied. Instead, let it always be about the music.
Names of famous opera singers like Dorothy Manor (NYC), & Gloria Davey even shared in the beautiful parties my grandfather put on, because he truly understood what magic could come when people no longer saw difference, but instead - simply, the music. That, is what I believe Dr. Samuel C. Davis's life work has shown us us all that we sometimes forget even still today. Let it never be about your skin, or where you're from or where you studied. Instead, let it always be about the music.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Dr. Davis's loved ones during this difficult time.
If you're headed out to Symphony Park to Celebrate America on July 3, don't miss these top 4 insider tips--from getting the best spot on the lawn to parking, and more.
1) Arrive and buy your tickets early
We're expecting a large crowd, and the best spots always get snatched up right when the gates open at 5 p.m. If you haven't purchased your tickets in advance, ticket prices will increase by $2 day of show. Tickets will be available online until noon and then you can purchase them at the gates beginning at 4 p.m.
There are 3 gates at Symphony Park: one by the DoubleTree, the main gate in the SouthPark Mall parking lot near Dick's Sporting Goods and Reid's Fine Foods, and one off of Barclay Downs Road. Pro tip: People begin lining up at the gates as early as 3 p.m.!
2) Bring lots of water, sunscreen, and bug spray
We'll have vendors selling beverages on-site, but it's going to be very hot and crowded. Wine and beer are allowed, but we ask that you please drink responsibly. Some of our vendors include King of Pops and Sunset Slush. You may bring umbrellas, but you will be asked to take them down right before the orchestra starts playing.
3) Carpool or use rideshare to get to the park
Parking is limited to the SouthPark Mall parking lot, which means close parking to the main gate gets claimed very early in the day. For your convenience, we have a guest drop off area right by the main gate.
4) Bring low-back chairs or blankets
As a courtesy to others, especially those sitting on blankets, please bring low-back chairs, such as one you might bring to the beach. We ask that if you do bring a high-back chair to please sit around the perimeter of the lawn and the park.
Most importantly, be respectful to others around you, and just have fun!
For more information on accessibility, prohibited items, and more, visit our FAQ page.
FLY Dance Company, dubbed The Gentlemen of Hip Hop, join us this summer to take on Mozart, Debussy, Brahms, and other greats of classical music in Breaking Classical with The Gentlemen of Hip Hop on June 21 at Belk Theater.
What exactly are they planning on doing on stage with a full orchestra behind them? These clever dancers are going to use their skills to show you just how poweful and beautiful a fusion of street dance and classical music can be.
So you think you know Hip Hop? Classical music? Think again.
Meet the crew:
Jorge Casco, Executive Director
Jorge Casco's love for music began at age four as a drummer and street dancer in Houston, Texas. Winning underground dance battles and making a name for himself in the underground B-Boy circuit, however, wasn't enough for him. He saw Fly Dance Company (FLY) perform at his school, and after a year as an understudy, Jorge became a principal dancer with FLY and toured internationally. Jorge performed in 110 school shows, and 65 dance concerts, reaching over 30,000 kids in a single season.
With a natural comedic side, Jorge's humor adds fun to every FLY engagement. Another particular strength is his ability to relate to and interact with his students--adults and kids alike.
Jorge works daily on his dream of growing FLY grow into a nationally recognized company with several chapters across the country.
Chris Cortez, Director
Chris Cortez is the product of one of the first in-school hip-hop dance programs that took place at Spring Woods Middle School in Houston, TX. The program provided three hours a week where he learned choreography, performance skills and new dance skills guided by his instructor Kathy Wood, who was also the Director of Fly Dance Company at the time.
Shortly thereafter, Chris joined FLY and had the chance to educate over 100,000 students about the positive impact of hip-hop on the youth. This was the beginning of the hip-hop culture leading Chris's life into a quest of providing hope and health to the youth that once was him.
Chris has traveled worldwide since 1998, performing, competing, instructing, and educating the youth about the art of B-Boying and hip-hop, as well as their positive impact. He has also been a part of the world-famous Houston Rockets Launch Crew for nine consecutive years. Chris had the opportunity to travel with the Rockets organization to the China games in Beijing & Guangzhou, the All-Star Game in 2011, and, most recently, the games in Taiwan and the Philippines.
Chadwick Franklin, Principal Dancer
Chadwick started his journey into dance at Westside High School after being inspired by his friends and classmates. After graduating he continued his experience by working at John Marshall Middle School under Lori Amare-Bujung as a Dance Instructor. Through instructing youth and creating choreograph, his love for the arts grew. He also performed with Theresa Chapman at Ronald McDonald's Boo Ball in 2014. He soon joined Sonkiss'd Dance Theater and briefly worked as a Principal Dancer for their Urbanity show, Urban Ballet, and toured with them in 2017 in Pennsylvania. After parting ways with the company, he found himself joining Fly Dance Company, of which he has been a member since the third quarter of 2018.
Jesse Magana, Principal Dancer
Jesse started performing at age 10, working with Kathy Wood's FLY Kids group. By the age of 15, he was performing, teaching, competing, and inspiring professionally. Jesse is a college graduate with an Associates Degree in business and marketing, and is pursuing his Bachelors Degree in advertising. His dream is to become an entrepreneur with his own entertainment company.
Timothy Pena, Principal Dancer
An artist with aspirations of making it big in the fashion, music and dance industry, "Lil Moe", as his friends call him, was named after the father he never knew. Raised by his great-grandparents, they eventually adopted him. He is currently working at Caught in Customs manufacturing Boutique, teaches hip-hop to young children at various Houston schools for after school programs, dances for the Houston Rockets Launch Crew, and dances with Fly Dance Company. FLY is proud of Timothy's achievements, given his tough and emotional up ringing, and they're excited to see what the future holds for him.
Sidney Pritchett, Principal Dancer
Sidney Pritchett developed his dance background at Westside High School in Houston, TX, where he danced all four years for the school's Inertia Dance Company. His performance experience includes, but is not limited to, working with the Houston Symphony at the Wortham Center for "The Twelve Days of Christmas", H-E-B's Thanksgiving Day Parade with singer/song writer Naturi Naughten, in China at the Eight Chinese Folk Art Festival in Beijing, Suzhou, and Shanghai, The Orange Bowl for Bowl Games of America in Miami, FL, and "The Thriller Dance" with Tony Smith. He has attended Mandy Moore, Pilobolus and Bollywood workshops. Last year, Sidney was featured in singer/song writer Beyoncé's new video, "Blow."
Adam Quiroz, Principal Dancer
Adam Quiroz first got into dance mostly being inspired by hip-hop and B-Boying. Known for bringing creative new ideas to B-Boying, it enabled him the privilege to attend events all over the US, Mexico, Canada, France, and Holland for competitions and judging. In 2005, Adam decided to branch out from San Antonio to Houston to be a part of Youth Advocates (Y.A.), working with at-risk youth. Shortly after, he joined the Houston Rockets Launch Crew, an NBA entertainment group and had the opportunity to perform at the NBA All Star Games from 2010-2013.
Adam has also worked and performed with various other dance groups most notably performing in Doha, Qatar for the Emir (known as the general/prince). Performing and teaching students about the positive aspects of Hip-Hop has been Adam's main goal over the last few years. Currently a member of Fly Dance Company he is most excited about building the new legacy of FLY for years to come.
Mrince Williams, Principal Dancer
Mrince Williams is a natural performer, named after both Michael Jackson and Prince. So you can imagine his dynamic performing ability! The youngest member of the group, he has been dancing since a young age, educating himself in all hip-hop and Latin styles of dance.
From Bugs Bunny to How I Met Your Mother, two works on the program for Ravel Boléro have appeared throughout pop culture for nearly a century. Find out where you've heard some of these works before and then enjoy them live at our final Classical concert of the season, conducted by Maestro Warren-Green, May 17-19 at Knight Theater.
Peer Gynt Suite No. 1Written for Henrik Ibsen's play of the same name, Edvard Grieg's Peer Gynt Suite No. 1 includes four works from the play, two of which have been heavily recycled throughout popular culture: "Morning Mood" and "In the Hall of the Mountain King."
"Morning Mood" may sound familiar because it's famous for accompanying images of a picturesque sunrise in movies and television.
You might recall hearing this famous melody in many films, such as Soylent Green (1973) and the Looney Toons' television special Bugs Bunny's Bustin' Out All Over (1980), as well as television shows, like Tiny Toon Adventures, Animaniacs, The Simpsons (Season 9/ Ep. 12 "Bart Carny"), The Big Bang Theory (Season 3/ Ep. 15 "The Large Hadron Collision"), and How I Met Your Mother (Season 5/ Ep. 11 "Last Cigarette Ever").
More fun uses of "Morning Mood" have been in commercials, such as the Doritos Super Bowl XLIX commercials, and as the opening theme music for the popular video game by PopCap Games, Peggle.
"In the Hall of the Mountain King" is another pop culture favorite that often accompanies a stealthy or mischievous scene.
You may recall hearing its theme in the film The Social Network (2011) and popular television shows such as Orange is the New Black (Season 1/ Ep. 4 "Imaginary Enemies" & Season 3/ Ep. 13 "Trust No B****"), How I Met Your Mother (Season 3/ Ep. 4 "Little Boys"), The Simpsons (Season 16/ Ep. 11 "On a Clear Day I Can't See My Sister"), and Mad Men (Season 2/ Ep. 12 "The Mountain King").
Another fun use of "In the Hall of the Mountain King" is as the theme song for the animated television series Inspector Gadget.
Many musicians have also found inspiration with this work over the years. Jazz musician Alvino Rey created his own rendition of the work in 1941, Electric Light Orchestra recorded a version that begins with the "Morning Mood" theme in 1973, and in 1967, British rock band The Who recorded a version which went unreleased until 1995, when it appeared as a bonus track on a CD reissue of The Who Sell Out. Most recently, Gwen Stefani and Justin Timberlake recorded a trap version of the theme, "Hair Up," which was released on the soundtrack to the film Trolls (2016).
BoléroOriginally composed as a ballet for Russian actress and dancer Ida Rubinstein, Boléro premiered in November 1928 at the Paris Opera. This sultry work is Ravel's most famous work and has continued to thrive in popularity throughout pop culture.
Boléro appears in a number of films, such as The Three Stooges film Soup to Nuts (1930), 10 (1979), Bolero (1984), Paradise Road (1997), and Basic (2003), as well as television series like Doctor Who (Series 2/ Ep. 8 "The Impossible Planet") and Futurama (Season 5/ Ep. 16 "The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings").
Additionally, Frank Zappa performed a reggae version of Boléro during his 1988 world tour, saying it was "one of the best melodies ever written," and Rufus Wainwright heavily integrated the it into his song "Oh, What a World."
However, probably one of the most famous uses was by Olympic Ice Skaters Torvill and Dean, who used a version as accompanying music for their record-scoring and winning performance at the 1984 Winter Olympics.
Join us for Ravel Boléro, May 17-19 at Knight Theater, to enjoy these incredible works performed live.
This weekend, April 12-14, we're performing Mozart's Requiem, a powerful and breathtaking work featuring the Charlotte Symphony Chorus and four soloists. Meet the impressive soloists taking the Belk Theater stage with us:
Soprano Margot Rood is praised by The Washington Post for her "colorful and vital" singing. She made her solo debut at Boston's Symphony Hall in 2011, and since then has been a frequent soloist with the Handel and Haydn Society.
Margot's recent and upcoming stage appearances include La Renommée in Lalande's Les Fontaines de Versailles and Francesca Caccini's Alcina with Boston Early Music Festival; Galatea in Acis & Galatea and First Witch in Dido & Aeneas with Handel and Haydn Society; Hyacinthus in Mozart's Apollo et Hyacinthus with Emmanuel Music, among others.
In addition to opera and oratorio, Margot was a 2015 recipient of the St. Botolph Club Foundation's Emerging Artist Award for her work in new music. She has recorded numerous world premieres and 21st century works. Her solo recording with composer Heather Gilligan, Living in Light, is now available from Albany Records. Margot holds degrees from the University of Michigan and McGill University.
Simon Pauly photography
Ms. Selowsky was a 2016 grant recipient from the Gerda Lissner Foundation and a 2015 recipient of a Richard F. Gold Career Grant from the Shoshanna Foundation. In 2014, she was a National Semifinalist in Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and won Third Place in the Houston Grand Opera's prestigious Eleanor McCollum Competition.
This season Isaiah makes solo debuts at Carnegie Hall, the Caramoor Festival, the Innsbruck Festival of Early Music, among others. Other recent engagements include George Benjamin's Written on Skin with the Toronto Symphony; Messiah with the St Paul Chamber Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, and the Toronto Symphony, among many others.
As a composer, Isaiah has written four operas including the music and libretti for two operas for young audiences commissioned and widely toured by Opera NUOVA and a number of song cycles and arrangements.
Most recently, Adam sang in Verdi's Requiem with Guelph Symphony Orchestra, returned to Seattle Opera as The Speaker in The Magic Flute, and performed in the Mahler 8th Symphony with Maestro Kent Tritle at the Berkshire Music Festival.
Adam won First Prize in the 2016 Jensen Vocal Competition, and Top Prize in the 2015 George London Foundation competition. He was also a finalist in the 2016 Dallas Opera Competition. He has appeared with some of the nation's leading summer festivals including Merola Opera Center, Aspen Opera Theater Center, and Santa Fe Opera.
This weekend, we present Mahler's First Symphony on Friday and Saturday evening at Belk Theater. Read the letter from the Maestro below to learn why he thinks this concert is a must-see.
By now you know that Gustav Mahler is one of my absolute favorite composers. Not only because of the pure grandeur and genius of his writing, but also because of its complexities.
In 2012, I conducted Mahler's Fourth Symphony - my first step in this Mahler journey with your Charlotte Symphony - then Mahler's Fifth Symphony came next in 2015. In 2017, we experienced Mahler's Resurrection Symphony together a program that was met with a rousing standing ovation.
Now you have the chance to hear how it all began to hear how one of the greatest orchestral composers of the 20th century started carving out his symphonic path. Through his imaginative use of symphonic poetry, Mahler's First Symphony the "Titan" changed the genre forever.
Journey with me next as we experience the full range of human emotion out of the inferno and into paradise with your Charlotte Symphony. I've also programmed on the evening Mahler's Blumine, one of the original movements of Mahler's First Symphony, which the composer later removed from the piece.
You've trusted me along this Mahler journey thus far, and I truly do hope you'll join us this weekend at Belk Theater. You'll be in for a real treat.
See you at the Symphony!
Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II ushered in the golden age of Broadway with their revolutionary partnership. In this special A to Z guide, read how their legendary careers impacted musical theatre on both stage and screen.
Enjoy more than 20 songs from their musical catalog performed live on March 22 & 23, 7:30 p.m. at Knight Theater. Click here for concert information.
AAway We Go! was the original title of Oklahoma! After the addition of the show-stopping song "Oklahoma" during out-of-town tryouts, the decision was made to retitle the musical after that number.
BRussian-born actor Yul Brynner gave one of the most iconic performances in Broadway history as King Mongkut of Siam in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The King and I. For the role, he won two Tony Awards and an Academy Award for the film version.
CCarousel (1945) is the second collaboration between Rodgers and Hammerstein. The story is about carnival barker, Billy Bigelow, who marries naive millworker, Julie Jordan. After he dies during an ill-conceived robbery attempt to provide money for his wife and unborn child, he is allowed to return to earth for one day to set things straight. Carousel features classics such as "If I Loved You", "June is Bustin' Out All Over" and "You'll Never Walk Alone".
DDoylestown, Pennsylvania is where the farmhouse stands that Oscar Hammerstein lived in from 1940 until his death in 1960. This is where he wrote his famous lyrics to the shows with Richard Rodgers and where he mentored his young neighbor, Stephen Sondheim, on the art of writing musicals.
E"Edelweiss" from The Sound of Music is a song sung by Captain von Trapp as a statement of his Austrian patriotism in the face of Nazi Germany. Named after the edelweiss, a white flower found high in the Alps, many have incorrectly believed that it is an actual Austrian folk song. It is also the last song that Rodgers and Hammerstein ever wrote together as Hammerstein would die from cancer shortly after The Sound of Music opened on Broadway.
FThe 46th Street Theatre is a Broadway house built in 1925. In 1990, it was renamed The Richard Rodgers Theatre in honor of the composer. Ironically, it has never presented a show by Rodgers and Hammerstein, but it was the venue for the 1965 musical Do I Hear A Waltz? written by Rodgers with (Hammerstein protégé) Stephen Sondheim. It is the current home of the smash hit Hamilton.
GGreen Grow the Lilacs a 1931 play by Lynn Riggs about settlers in the Oklahoma territory that Rodgers and Hammerstein adapted into their first musical collaboration, Oklahoma!
HLorenz Hart was a famous lyricist who was Richard Rodgers' first writing partner. Rodgers and Hart collaborated on shows such as Pal Joey, Boys from Syracuse, and Babes in Arms, and on many popular songs like "Blue Moon", "The Lady is a Tramp", and "My Funny Valentine".
I"It Might as Well Be Spring" is a song from Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1945 film musical State Fair. The song won the Academy Award for Best Original Song that year. Cinderella, which was written for television, and State Fair are the only musicals by the pair not written for the stage. However, both musicals have since been adapted into stage versions.
JJulie Andrews has become synonymous with Rodgers and Hammerstein due to her iconic performance in the movie version of The Sound of Music. Prior to that, she originally auditioned for R&H's 1956 musical Pipe Dream but Rodgers advised her to take the role of Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady instead. The following year she starred in R&H's television musical Cinderella which was viewed by more than 100 million people.
KJerome Kern was a prolific songwriter and composer of musicals in the 1920s and 30s who Hammerstein worked with prior to his relationship with Rodgers. Their most famous collaboration was on the 1927 musical Show Boat. They also wrote notable songs such as "All The Things You Are" from Very Warm for May and "The Last Time I Saw Paris" which won the 1941 Academy Award for Best Song.
LLiliom a 1909 play by Hungarian playwright Ferenc Molnár about a Carousel barker who falls in love with a maid named Julie. Rodgers and Hammerstein adapted the story, transporting the action from Budapest to Maine, for their second collaboration Carousel.
MMary Martin is one of the legendary performers in Broadway history and a three time Tony Award winner. A favorite of Rodgers and Hammerstein, she originated the leading roles of Nellie Forbush in South Pacific and Maria von Trapp in The Sound of Music.
NNine the number of musicals Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote for Broadway. These include the "Big 5" of Oklahoma (1943), Carousel (1945), South Pacific (1949), The King and I (1951), and The Sound of Music (1959). Their other shows include the minor hit Flower Drum Song (1958), as well as the less successful Allegro (1947), Me and Juliet (1953) and Pipe Dream (1955). (Cinderella and State Fair were written for television and film respectively).
OOklahoma! (1943) was the first collaboration between Rodgers and Hammerstein. It revolutionized the American musical by fully integrating songs, dialogue, and choreography into the story.
PPaul Robeson, the son of a former slave, was a celebrated American baritone stage and film actor and activist. He is the actor most identified with the role of Joe and song "Ol' Man River" from Show Boat. The song with music by Jerome Kern and lyrics by Hammerstein. Hammerstein's wife Dorothy, however, remarked that "Jerome Kern wrote 'dum, dum, dum-dum.' My husband wrote 'Ol' Man River'."
QQueens, New York: Richard Rodgers was born into a prosperous German Jewish family in Arverne, Queens. Rodgers' father was a prominent physician who had changed the family name to Rodgers from Abrahams.
RRichard Rodgers is the first person awarded the esteemed "EGOT" or Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards. He also was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1950 for South Pacific.
S"Some Enchanted Evening" tells the love story of the sophisticated Emile Debec, a rich Frenchman who falls for US Army nurse Nellie Forbush in Rodgers & Hammerstein's South Pacific.
T"There Is Nothing Like a Dame" from South Pacific is a comic song sung by the Navy Seabees, led by the wily Luther Billis, who lament their lack of female companionship while at war.
UUnderwear no seriously! In the early '20s, Richard Rodgers was struggling to make ends meet as a composer. He seriously considered quitting show business altogether to become an underwear salesman. Luckily, he and Hart broke through in 1925 with the hit song "Manhattan" that launched their careers.
VThe Von Trapp Family Singers were the basis for The Sound of Music, the final collaboration between Rodgers and Hammerstein, debuting on Broadway on November 18, 1955. The musical was an immediate hit, and the show's cast recording, recorded just a week after the debut, went on to sell over 3 million copies worldwide.
W"The Carousel Waltz" is a symphonic piece by Richard Rodgers that opens the musical Carousel. At the time, it was customary for shows to open with an orchestral overture, however, "The Carousel Waltz" was revolutionary as the music instead underscored a pantomimed opening scene staged by the great Agnes DeMille.
XRodgers and Hammerstein took a stand against Xenophobia in their show South Pacific; especially through the lyrics of "You've Got to Be Carefully Taught". Sung by the character Lieutenant Cable, the song speaks of how racism is not born in people, but they are taught to hate. Defending their stance and inclusion of the song, R&H remarked that "[its message] represented why they had wanted to do this play, and that even if it meant the failure of the production, it was going to stay in."
Y"You'll Never Walk Alone" is the hopeful anthem that concludes the first act of Carousel. In addition to being a Broadway standard it also the anthem of Liverpool Football Club and is sung at soccer games around the world.
ZImpresario Florenz Ziegfeld, known primarily for his legendary Zeigfeld Follies, produced the original production of Show Boat in his theatre. Jerome Kern composed the score, with Oscar Hammerstein II providing the book, lyrics, and staging.
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