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 I've had many friends who dismissed classical music as outdated until they heard their first great performance.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 -
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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-Saëns'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
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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.
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Posted in Classics. Tagged as Classical, CSO Musicians, History.


If you've attended a Charlotte Symphony concert, you know we're quite loyal to the classic black concert attire. However, as we move into the third season of our innovative KnightSounds Series, a series of concerts intended to put a fresh, intelligent, and audience-engaging spin on classical repertoire, we are beginning to experiment with our attire from the ground or shall we say 'feet' up. On January 25, 2013, the symphony will partner with the Metropolitan Ballroom but the dancers aren't the only ones who will be sporting impressive footwear at the "Ballroom!" performance. The audience, conductor and orchestra musicians are all invited to wear their dressiest, wackiest, or fanciest shoes of all styles and colors for both the performance and the post-concert dance party.
If you've attended a Charlotte Symphony concert, you might have noticed that Assistant Concertmaster Kari Giles already wears pretty fancy shoes at her seat during concerts. We asked her a few questions on the topic 'at feet' -

When did you begin wearing fabulous shoes onstage? Why?
I always said I would buy myself a pair of fancy black shoes once I won my first job. So after I won the Charlotte audition, I found an amazing pair of Stuart Weitzman shoes on sale. From the first time I put them on I felt alluring and confident and I was hooked! What I love about shoe shopping is that even on a bad day, you can put on a great pair of shoes and get a lift.

Where do you shop for shoes? 
I absolutely love Zappos. I don't know how many hours I have spent trolling that site! Anthropologie, Nordstrom and Off Broadway are also fabulous.

If we looked in your closet right now, how many pairs of shoes would there be? 
Hmm, hard to say...60ish?

What type of shoes do you wear most often? 
In the winter I live in boots. Cowboy, Motorcycle, Mod, Vintage, Furry...I love them all!

What is the highest price you've ever paid for a pair of shoes?
It might have been around $250 for a pair of cowboy boots that fit me like a glove. I try to only 'invest' when it's a classic pair that I know will last me a long time. One of my favorite pairs of orchestra shoes were black velvet Mary Janes with a bow that I got at Target for $20. I got more compliments on those shoes! I think the key to great shoes is to find the ones that you love that speak to you and show off your style.

Kari is this month's Featured Family Member. Read the entire article here.
She is also a recent newlywed and wore some pretty fabulous shoes with her dress.

Congratulations Kari!
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Tagged as Charlotte Symphony, CSO Musicians, Innovation, KnightSounds.



Name: Andrea Mumm

Hometown: Ridgewood, NJ

Instrument: Harp

When did your musical experience begin? From birth!  My mother was pregnant with me while recording the 1987 Metropolitan Opera Wagner's Ring Cycle.  I started playing violin at age 3, piano at age 5, and harp at age 11.

What brought you to the CSO family? I saw a posting for a Principal Harp opening (a rarity overall) and decided to take the audition.  I had heard wonderful things about the city of Charlotte and the CSO and was thrilled when I won the audition!

What are your artistic dreams and aspirations?  I am so lucky to already have, what I consider, my dream job!  I have always wanted to be principal harp of a professional orchestra and am so honored to work with the CSO for my career.  I also love playing chamber music and teaching.  Hopefully in the future I will also teach at a college or university.

Name a performer you respect; why?  The first people that pop into my mind are my mother (a violinist) and father (a violist).  I was fortunate to grow up in a house where the first thing I remembering hearing was a full and beautiful string sound.  I try to emulate that same sound in my harp playing.  Along those same lines, I don't know what I would do without the recordings of Jacqueline du Pré.  Her recording of the Elgar Cello Concerto never fails to give me chills.

What's your vision for the future of the arts in Charlotte?  As the city of Charlotte grows, I would love to see the CSO and other arts organizations too grow and change with the diverse culture and people that call Charlotte home.  The arts are an integral part of every city and we are fortunate enough to have world-class musicians and artists that reside in Charlotte.
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Posted in Education & Community. Tagged as Charlotte Symphony, Classical, CSO Musicians, family.


"The Symphony is a family, and that family embraces the audience--the people who work for the symphony, the volunteers, everyone who comes to concerts, everyone who listens on radio--it's a community; it's a family." - Christopher Warren-Green

2012 was a good year for the Charlotte Symphony family. We said good-bye to some individuals but welcomed many more new additions to our family. Here's twelve stories that highlight the organization's happenings in 2012. 

12.  First Annual Ulysses Festival
The CSO along with  N.C. Dance Theatre, Opera Carolina and other regional cultural partners participated in a month-long celebration of the arts community. The theme for the inaugural festival was The Music of Tchaikovsky.
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11.  Entire Artistic 'Family' Takes the Stage
For the first time in Charlotte Symphony history, members of the Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra (CSYO) and Junior Youth Orchestra (JYO), the Winterfield Elementary Youth Orchestra, the Oratorio Singers of Charlotte, and Charlotte Symphony musicians performed together on the Belk Theater stage. 
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10. Violins of Hope
Charlotte had the great honor of hosting the North American premiere of this exhibit which restores the memory of the nameless millions, including the musicians and artists who were lost in the Holocaust. Numerous events took place throughout the city and culminated with the performance,  Triumph of Hope: Violins of Hope with the Charlotte Symphony
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9. 11th Summer Pops at Symphony Park
The CSO continued its tradition of delighting audiences with special outdoor performances at the beautiful Symphony Park including an Independence Day concert and fireworks show. 
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8. Instruments for Kids Program Launch
Donated instruments are used in the symphony's extensive education and community programs, creating a lending library of musical instruments for students who don't own their own.
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7. Live Image Magnification 
An All-Tchaikovsky program gave audiences the chance to view the orchestra in a brand new way via video cameras and a large screen.  Patrons also voted by text message for the encore piece. 
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6. Martin Heads to Dallas and Donor Steps In
After four great years, Jonathan Martin left Charlotte to become president and chief executive of the Dallas Symphony.  Shortly after this announcement an anonymous donor came forth to offer financial assistance in the search for a new executive director. 
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5. Stickler named Interim Director 
Former Bank of America executive Robert Stickler is our interim executive director as the orchestra seeks a new leader. Stickler has served on the orchestra's board of directors since 2008 and is a former president of the Oratorio Singers of Charlotte. 
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4.  Wells Fargo Challenge Grant
The bank offered assistance to the organization by matching up to $100,000 of contributions to the orchestra's general operations and $100,000 of gifts to CSO programs on
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3. World Premiere of Weinstein Digital Animation
A partnership between the CSO, the Knight Foundation and Mint Museum of Charlotte brought Matthew Weinstein's work to the city. Audiences experienced brilliant animation in sync with the hypnotic music of Ravel's Bolero. 
Read More Read More

2. Celebrating Eighty-One Years of Music
The 81st season opened in September with "The Music of Billy Joel" in the Pops series and and an All-Beethoven program in the Classics series. 
Read More | Read More

1. Christopher Warren-Green Renews Contract
Our Music Director Christopher Warren-Green renewed his contract through the 2015-2016 season. His vision for the future of the organization includes artistic excellence, increased partnerships with other organizations, innovation through new programs and service to the community. 
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We look forward to what 2013 will bring. We thank you so much for being part of our Symphony Family!
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Tagged as Charlotte Symphony, Christopher Warren-Green, Classical, CSO Musicians, CSYO, Education, History, summer pops, symphony park.

A Concert to Remember

Originally Posted: October 2010
By Mary Catherine Rendleman Edwards

I will never forget the first time I heard a Charlotte Symphony concert.  My parents had Charlotte Symphony season tickets, and on this particular evening my mother was ill.

 I was a fifth grade violin student in the Eastover Elementary string class taught by Dominco Scappucci.  There was a guest violinist slated to play, so my Daddy took me to the concert.  I felt very special all dressed up and was introduced to grownups as we took our seats.

I remember that I was feeling sleepy towards the end of the first selection, but then Sidney Harth walked out on stage with his violin.  He played the Beethoven Violin Concerto. His long bow strokes producing silky sounds were mesmerizing.  I was engaged not just for the moment, but for the rest of my life. 
No longer was being the first chair in the Eastover Elementary String Orchestra enough.  It was just the beginning.  There was music to learn and places to go.  I went on to be a Charlotte Symphony Young Artist Winner in 1968 and joined the youth orchestra as a violinist while in ninth grade, going on to play in the Charlotte Symphony my senior year.  Being a violinist was a ticket for me to see the world.  I have played under conductors Leonard Bernstein, Seiji Ozawa, James Levine, Leonard Slatkin, George Solti, Daniel Barenboim, and many more.

That night many years ago I was lucky enough to have parents who loved music, a violin given to me to play, and opportunities provided to me by the Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra and the Charlotte Symphony.  I sure hope they keep up the good work!  I am now back in the Charlotte area teaching orchestra at Eastway and McClintock Middle Schools, hoping like the musicians of the Charlotte Symphony to pass on the wonderful lifelong gift of music.

Mary Catherine Rendleman Edwards has enjoyed a carreer as a professional violinist for over forty years. She holds a Bachelor of Music from Boston University and a Master of Music from University of Michigan/Ann Arbor.  A Salisbury resident, she drives to Charlotte daily to teach orchestra at Eastway and McClintock Middle Schools.
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Tagged as Beethoven, CSO Musicians, CSYO, Education.

One of these things is not like the other… or is it?

Originally Posted: February 2012

Does this:

Go with this?


Current tradition, and/or stigma would dictate a resounding no. But the 2012 Super Bowl commercials say otherwise.

Composers Beethoven, Rossini and Bach were featured- likely without the knowledge of the 114 million viewers. The pieces included as the background music for the famous ads are recognizable: Beethoven's 5th, Rossin's Overture to the The Barber of Seville, even film composer John Williams' Imperial March from Star Wars.

The similarities between the athleticism of football and classical music don't end with the ads.
The typical themes of grueling practice, delayed gratification, stressful performances and incredible highs further link the not-so-different worlds.

Many of the CSO Musicians are avid sports players- including soccer, tennis, golf, and many marathon runners and yogis.

What's your link between sports and music? Does classical music or sport perpetuate throughout your life? Do you see any overlap?
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Tagged as Classical, commercials, CSO Musicians, Elgar, History, Sports, super bowl.


Originally Posted :September 2011

RIMSKY-KORSAKOV Capriccio Espagnol
SARASATE Carmen Fantasy
DE FALLA Three Cornered Hat
RAVEL Bolero

This weekend's program features sassy, sumptuous selections, all with a Spanish theme.
Rimsky-Korsakov's Capriccio Espagnol, featuring CSO concertmaster Calin Lupanu, is a sprightly, vivacious piece based on Spanish folk melodies. The piece was featured in the opening credits of the 1935 movie The Devil is a Woman.

The Devil is a Woman
Also showcasing concertmaster Lupanu, Sarasate's Gypsy Airs and Carmen Fantasy are considered two of the most challenging pieces for the violin. Sarasate himself was a violinist, of whom colleague George Bernard Shaw said "he left criticism gasping miles behind him." Sarasate's fiery, fearless style influenced the violin school greatly and continues today.

Itzhak Perlman plays Sarasate\'s Zigeunerweisen \"Gypsy Airs\"

 "For 37 years I've practiced 14 hours a day and now they call me a genius." -Pablo Sarasate

In case you've missed it, check out the CSO Facebook and Twitter Bolero video countown, in honor of the finale.

Ravel's most famous work, Bolero is a Spanish style of dance that originated in the 18th century. Danced either solo or with a couple, a Bolero is in 3/4 time and of a moderate tempo. With a much more contained nature than the Sarasate pieces, the fire of this danza quietly simmers before it boils.

These impassioned, spirited works are distinctly Spanish, with all the verve and warmth therein. Join us this weekend for ¡Bolero!
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Tagged as Bolero, calin lupanu, CSO Musicians, Dance, de falla, History, KnightSounds, Ravel, Rimsky-Korsakov, saraste.

A Cellist’s Life, by Dorothy Cole

Originally Posted: April 2011

I didn't want to wear a tutu or a tiara.  As a five-year-old my dream was to play the cello.  This cello enchantment all started the first time I saw a cello in the home of my silver-haired Seattle neighbor, a retired Seattle Symphony cellist and the first woman member of that orchestra.  I was at once smitten by the cello's dark graceful shape and its warm voice.  A few years later we started instrumental music at my school and were given the opportunity to pick any instrument which we would like to play.   No question: cello for me!  I came home one day and discovered my wish granted; there was a cello waiting for me.
Later as a teenager I joined the Seattle Youth Symphony, and my inspiration exploded.   The more I studied and played, the more I wanted to study and play.   My next big step was to go on to the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. Soon I was performing with the Hudson Valley Philharmonic and later the Greensboro Symphony, playing chamber music, and teaching lessons.  

In 1977 I won an audition with the Charlotte Symphony, and since then this symphony has been my career, and Charlotte has become my home. If I had to name one high point in all of my Charlotte years, it would be the performance in the spring of 1986 when I was principal cello and the concerts featured Alicia de Larrocha in Brahms's Second Piano Concerto, which is largely a duet for piano and solo cello.   I was honored and thrilled. There have been so many wonderful concerts throughout my years with the Symphony but I think this season, my 34th, is best of all. I am enjoying every concert with our new conductor, Christopher Warren-Green.  

I will always be a cellist, and the Charlotte Symphony will forever feel like my orchestra, my musical family. Now I am silver-haired and proudly ready to retire. What next?   Retirement will give me more time to spend with my grown son and daughter and my two grandsons. It will also give me time for making pottery.  If you happen to be going to the airport, you can see some of my work in the pottery exhibit on Concourse A.

 CSO Cellist Dorothy Cole will retire at the end of the 2010-2011 season.
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Tagged as brahms, Christopher Warren-Green, CSO Musicians, family.

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