Sound of Charlotte Blog
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.
We caught up with upcoming guest conductor Gemma New on what it's like to be considered a "rising star," what inspires her, and what she's most looking forward to about our upcoming program featuring Paul Huang on the Dvořák Violin Concerto, March 29 & 30. Read more below.
Photo: Anthony Chang
How do you build trust and rapport quickly with each orchestra you lead?
I try to listen carefully and sense the strengths and dynamics within the orchestra. The more I learn about the orchestra as we play together in these first rehearsals, the more I can communicate effectively. Perhaps the most important thing is that I arrive well prepared and with an open mind, and that I encourage a rehearsal environment that is supportive and based on mutual respect.
You have been called a "rising star" in the industry. As a comparatively younger conductor, do you think there is truth to assumptions that some works are interpreted best by more "mature" conductors?
When I first arrived in the US in 2009 to study a Masters in Conducting with Gustav Meier, I was quite scared of Brahms symphonies. How could I possibly understand them as a young person? Fortunately, Mr. Meier tackled those fears head-on, and he had us studying and conducting all of these symphonies, thoroughly and often, throughout the two years I was there. It's also been really helpful being a cover conductor for many excellent conductors and orchestras over the last decade. I do a lot of note-taking, and I will keep these previous experiences in mind when we come to forming interpretive choices in the rehearsal period.
For audiences who may never have heard Brahms Symphony No. 3, what would entice them to attend?
When Gustav Meier shared his love of Brahms with all of us young students he said, sure Brahms's symphonies are mature, but you have to start somewhere! And what I learned over time is that Brahms's music is not unreachable. It is some of the most humanly relatable music: intimate and loving, passionate and awe-inspiring, naturally flowing and inspiringly orchestrated. It touches and moves all of us.
Have you worked with Paul Huang before? What excites you about this upcoming collaboration?
Yes, Paul and I performed Barber's Violin Concerto with the North Carolina Symphony almost 2 years ago, it was fantastic to work with him! I'm excited to hear his rich sound in this Dvorak Violin Concerto.
Any poignant personal stories that connect you with these pieces?
I suggested Mendelssohn's Hebrides, as I thought it would complement the other pieces on the program well. I spent quite a bit of time on a Mendelssohn scholarship in Germany, studying Mendelssohn's music and learning about his incredible life with Mo. Kurt Masur and the staff of the Mendelssohn House in Leipzig. This overture evokes the magnificence of this wild cave, and the swirling power of the ocean and it is a piece that I really love.
What most inspires you?
I think that when we come together and create a beautiful and enriching performance, that is really inspiring to me, and it is a memory that I cherish for a long time.
What do you think about to "center" before a performance like this?
I don't have any rituals, I just try to keep calm, have a concept of the sound and character I'm about to be a part of, and be aware of my breathing before a performance.
Have you ever been to Charlotte?
Yes, I spent a week in Charlotte 8 years ago, serving as cover conductor for Mo. Christopher Warren Green. I'm looking forward to returning to the orchestra, and working on this beautiful program with them!
Gemma New is currently Music Director of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, Resident Conductor of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra. See her conduct Dvořák Violin Concerto on March 29 & 30 with violinist Paul Huang. Read more
We sat down with longtime Charlotte Symphony Concertmaster Calin Lupanu and Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra Concertmaster Victor Chu, a senior at Providence Day School. Here, they dish about this important role, from onstage pressures to having the best seat in the house!
Calin, you've had this job for over 15 years. What's the best part about being Concertmaster?
CL: The responsibility that comes with the job. Personally, I love it. I embrace pressure. I also love interacting with my colleagues, getting to play solos, and working with great conductors and soloists.
And the best part for you, Victor? You're much newer to this.
VC: To be honest, I'm a pretty quiet guy. But this process -- becoming a more confident leader -- has been the best part. I still remember the first time I had to tune with Conductor Christopher James Lees. In addition to walking me through his process, he was fixing my posture and teaching me how to address the different people in the orchestra. The icing on the cake? The concertmaster seat has a great view!
Can you recall a moment of terror on stage? Any memorable faux pas?
CL: One happened when our Music Director, Christopher Warren-Green, auditioned for the CSO job. During the dress rehearsal, with an audience in the hall, my bridge (the little wooden thing that holds the strings) collapsed! I managed to give the violin to my stand partner, and took a colleague's violin and kept playing. But...it's virtually impossible to have success, without experiencing failure.
VC: There was one time that the first violin section kept messing up and I had just nailed it on the last run-through. Mr. Lees asked me to play it as an example. Everyone went silent. I started playing and it was suddenly SO OUT OF TUNE. To this day, I still don't know how that could have happened.
What do you do right before a concert? Any rituals?
CL: I try to focus and relax. I try to get ready mentally and enjoy it at the same time.
VC: Mostly I think, "You're not walking weird. It just feels weird because people will be watching." Even basic things like walking just don't feel the same when so many strangers are staring at you!
Calin, other than practicing and mastering the violin technique, what advice do you have for Victor?
CL: Moving forward always and most importantly, learning from your experiences.
Victor, what are your plans? Pursuing the stage as a career?
VC: My current plan is to explore Computer Science this fall in college. But don't worry, I'll still spend my fair share of time in the practice room!
See Victor and Calin perform together at the Charlotte Symphony and Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra Side-by-Side on May 4!
This action-packed program is female fronted, with Jessica Morel conducting and China Forbes leading the revolutionary Pink Martini.
It's the perfect concert to round up your girlfriends and enjoy a night on the town! With $5 venue parking and so many food and beverage options around the theater, there's no wrong choice.
Need some suggestions? Have a glass of wine at Sophia's Lounge or dinner at 204 North before the show. Enjoy a signature cocktail at the concert venue - ask for the Pretty in Pink at the bar. Afterward, indulge your sweet tooth at Amélie's Uptown.
Meet the leading ladies
In 1995, China Forbes was plucked from New York City by Harvard classmate Thomas Lauderdale to sing with Pink Martini, and has since written many of Pink Martini's most beloved songs, including "Sympathique," "Clementine," "Let's Never Stop Falling in Love," and "Over the Valley." Her original song "Hey Eugene" is the title track of Pink Martini's third album and many of her songs can also be heard on television and film.
Jessica Morel is currently serving in her third season as the Assistant Conductor for the Winston-Salem Symphony. In this role she conducts nearly all Pops concerts, Family Discovery concerts, Educational concerts, Symphony Unbound concerts, and serves as a cover conductor for all Classics concerts. In addition to conducting, Morel plays an active role in programming for the Winston-Salem Symphony, gives pre-concert lectures, and is committed to her role in community outreach.
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