Sound of Charlotte Blog


The Symphony Guild of Charlotte and the CSO will celebrate our symphonic future at the 26th annual Youth Festival on Thursday, February 21 at 7:30 p.m. at the Belk Theater. This annual concert highlights the talents of the Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra (CSYO), the Junior Youth Orchestra (JYO) and the grand-prize winner of the senior division of the Guild's annual Young Artists Competition.

The grand-prize winner of this year is Chambers Loomis, a high school senior who lives in Asheville, NC. He's a pianist, who's been playing since age six and gave his first solo recital at nine. He regularly appears in a variety of venues as a soloist performing a growing range of repertoire. Get to know this talented young man just as we did in the following interview.
Name a performer you respect; why?  The Russian pianist Evgeny Kissin. In his playing, he adheres to the composer's intentions while still executing sublime, refreshing interpretations. He always places the music first and himself second.

Name a piece of music you've either performed or would love to perform  Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3. This pianistic warhorse probes nearly every human emotion and is captivating throughout. When the work's technical and interpretive challenges have been mastered, it drips of an unrivaled sense of nationalism.

What's your vision for how young adults should engage with the artistic community and/or how arts organizations can engage young adults? Exposure is the key to engagement. I've had many friends who dismissed classical music as outdated until they heard their first great performance. Following the lead of El Sistema in Venezuela, we must also place instruments into the hands of young people from a very young age. Arts organizations must gain a presence in schools and partner with youth organizations to find volunteers. Young people should be made aware of discounted student tickets. Arts are the lifeblood of culture, and thriving arts communities sow seeds well beyond the concert hall walls.

What other contests/award have you won? I have received nine first prizes in state-level solo competitions sponsored by the NCFMC and was named the Federation's 2011 "King" of Music. In 2011, I had the pleasure of performing the first movement of the Schumann Piano Concerto with the Hendersonville (NC) Symphony and on NPR station WCQS. In 2012, I was also the top pianist in the North Carolina Symphony's Kathleen Price and Joseph M. Bryan Youth Concerto Competition. I will be performing with the Winston-Salem Symphony on March 16 as winner of the 2013 Peter Perret Youth Talent Search.

Where are you heading to college and what do you plan to study?  In April, when I hear back from a number of colleges, I will know where I will matriculate this fall. I am a presently a finalist for UNC-Chapel Hill's Morehead-Cain Scholarship. I plan to study physics and music in college.

What are your artistic dreams and aspirations? In college, I plan to remain an active performer, explore musicology, engage in music outreach, and expose myself to as many new musical influences as possible. I hope to play piano for the rest of my life and remain an enthusiastic ambassador for the art

View Chambers' playing -

Posted in Education & Community, Youth Orchestras. Tagged as CSO Musicians, CSYO Education.


Leading up to the 2013-2014 Classics Season Announcement, we gave clues on Facebook and Twitter about details of the new season.  Did you follow us? Check out the questions we asked below and test your Classical Music (and Charlotte Symphony) knowledge!

January 28, 2013 What composer would be 100 this year? We'll perform works by this composer several times in our next Classics season.

January 29, 2013 What piano concerto will make its Charlotte Symphony Premiere at our first Classics concert next season? (Hint this work is more than double our 'age')

January 30, 2013 What 'out of this world' movement will we perform next Classics season that will have our Oratorio Singers of Charlotte Women's chorus singing offstage?

January 31, 2013 In our second Classics program of next season we'll perform this violin concerto that the composer dedicated to a fellow composer who played the solo part at the premiere.

Feb 1, 2013 Next fall we'll welcome this Irish Musician who's on a three-year plan to perform all of the Mozart piano concertos.  Who is this gentleman?

February 4, 2013 What oratorio is widely regarded as one of the masterpieces of classical sacred music? This is part of next season's Classics Series!

February 5, 2013 When we feature our Principal harpist next classics season, you might just leave the concert 'dancing'... What piece will be on the program?

February 6, 2013 Name a composer from Charlotte. Name a conductor who lives (full-time!) in North Charlotte. They're both part of next year's Classics season!

February 7, 2013 What pianist who shares the same homeland with our music director Christopher Warren-Green, will return to the Belk Theatre stage next season?


January 28, 2013 Benjamin Britten. Featured in Classics 1 Listen, Classics 6Listen, and Classics 8 (arrangement) Listen

January 29, 2013 Lizst Piano Concerto No. 2 Listen

January 30, 2013 Holst's The Planets Listen

January 31, 2013 Saint-SaĆ«ns's Violin Concerto No. 3 which he dedicated to Pablo de Sarasate Listen

Feb 1, 2013  Finghin Collins

February 4, 2013 Bach's St. Matthew Passion Listen

February 5, 2013 Debussy's Dances sacree et Profane Listen

February 6, 2013 (Composer) Dan Locklair is from Charlotte and is Composer-in-Residence and Professor of Music at WakeForestUniversity in Winston-Salem. (Conductor) Robert Moody is Music Director for the Winston-Salem Symphony (NC) and has lived in LakeNorman.

February 7, 2013  Stephen Hough last performed with us in May 2011.

See our entire Series Here and Subscribe Here

Posted in Classics. Tagged as Christopher Warren-Green, Classical, CSO Musicians, Haydn, History, Oratorio, Ravel, Rimsky-Korsakov, Sarasate.


Three pieces are on the program for this weekend. Read more to learn about these selections!

VAUGHAN WILLIAMS Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis

The first performance of the Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis took place at the Gloucester Cathedral in Gloucester, England, on September 6, 1910, with the composer conducting the London Symphony Orchestra. 
The first performance of this work by the Charlotte Symphony took place on November 17, 1971 with Jacques Brourman conducting at Ovens Auditorium. The third and most recent performance set took place November 9 & 10, 2001 with William Eddins conducting at the Belk Theater of the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center.

In 1904, while working as an editor Vaughan Williams discovered a series of melodies by the 16th-century English composer, Thomas Tallis. One Tallis melody in particular greatly appealed to Vaughan Williams.  It originally appeared in the 1567 English Psalter to serve as the music for the text "Why fumeth in sight: the Gentiles spite, In fury raging stout?"  This served as the basis for one of the most radiant English orchestral works of the 20th century, the "Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis."
In a review of the premiere, Fuller Maitland, writing for The Times, described the unique qualities of Vaughan Williams's masterpiece: "The work is wonderful because it seems to lift one into some unknown region of musical thought and feeling.  Throughout its course one is never quite sure whether one is listening to something very old or very new..."

The first performance of the Viola Concerto took place at Queen's Hall in London, England, on October 3, 1929, with Paul Hindemith as soloist and the composer conducting the Henry Wood Symphony Orchestra.  
The first (and only) performance of this work by the Charlotte Symphony took place on January 19 & 20, 1996 with Christopher Wilkins conducting at the Belk Theater of the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center.

The great conductor Sir Thomas Beecham suggested to Walton that he compose a Concerto for the prominent British violist, Lionel Tertis.  Walton completed the Concerto in early 1929 and sent it to Tertis for his approval.  Tertis, however, rejected the work, finding it too modern for his tastes.
Despite limited rehearsal time, the premiere of the Walton Viola Concerto was a great success.  Tertis was in the audience, and sent a letter to Walton, apologizing for his initial assessment of the score.  In short order, Lionel Tertis also performed the Walton Concerto and remained a staunch advocate for the piece.

"One work of which I did not give the first performance was Walton's masterly concerto. With shame and contrition I admit that when the composer offered me the first performance I declined it. I was unwell at the time; but what is also true is that I had not learnt to appreciate Walton's style. The innovations in his musical language, which now seem so logical and so truly in the mainstream of music, then struck me as far-fetched." --Lionel Tertis

TCHAIKOVSKY  Symphony No. 5 in E minor
The first performance of the Symphony No. 5 took place in St. Petersburg on November 17, 1888, with the composer conducting. 

The first performance of this work by the Charlotte Symphony took place on February 21, 1936 with Guillermo S. de Roxlo conducting at Alexander Graham Middle School.  The thirteenth and most recent performance set took place on January 11 & 12, 2008 with William Eddins conducting at the Belk Theater of the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center.

In the spring of 1888, a decade after completion of his Fourth Symphony, Tchaikovsky was determined to focus his attentions on composing.  He wrote to his brother, "first this summer I shall without fail compose a symphony."

Tchaikovsky insisted that his Fifth Symphony did not contain an extra-musical program. However, the Symphony's introduction, frequent reappearance, and dramatic metamorphosis of a central leitmotif certainly  seem to hint at some extra-musical significance. That notion is supported by the following words, located among Tchaikovsky's sketches for the Fifth Symphony:

Intr(oduction). Total submission before Fate--or, what is the same thing,  the inscrutable design of Providence.
Allegro. I. Murmurs, doubts, laments, reproaches against...XXX.
2. Shall I cast myself into the embrace of faith?
A wonderful programme, if only it can be fulfilled.

The question of whether the Fifth Symphony depicts a struggle with Fate will probably never be conclusively resolved.  In the final analysis, such considerations are secondary to the glorious music of this gripping and unforgettable symphonic journey.

Program notes by Ken Meltzer.

Posted in Classics. Tagged as Classical, CSO Musicians, History.