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Sound of Charlotte Blog

Meet the Conductors of our Youth Orchestra Program

Christopher James Lees, Katie Ebert, and Eric Thompson, III 

Students returning to the Charlotte Symphony's Youth Orchestra (CSYO) program this fall will recognize two familiar faces returning to the podium: CSYO Principal Conductor Christopher James Lees and Youth Ensemble Conductor Eric Thompson. They'll also have the opportunity to meet Katie Ebert, who joins Eric Thompson this year as Co-Conductor of the Charlotte Symphony Youth Philharmonic. We caught up with our three conductors to find out what they are most looking forward to in the upcoming year. 

As Principal Conductor of the Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestras, Christopher James Lees oversees the entire program and works directly with the musicians of the Youth Orchestra, our most advanced ensemble. These extraordinary young musicians perform professional-level symphonic repertoire and have the opportunity to perform side-by-side with members of the Charlotte Symphony.  

"I am ecstatic that this will be the first time in three years that the families in the Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestras will have a normal start to the season. Adding two sensational leaders to our Youth Philharmonic leadership team -- Eric Thompson III & Katie Ebert -- also ensures that all youth orchestras will take significant steps towards our vision for a dynamic, musically enriching program that is widely accessible for all." ~ Christopher James Lees 

New to the program this year, Katie Ebert joins Eric Thompson as Co-Conductor of the Charlotte Symphony Youth Philharmonic, our intermediate ensemble which performs advanced high school level repertoire and serves young musicians between the ages of 8-16. Katie is in her 19th year teaching in public schools and is the Director of Bands at Cuthbertson Middle School in Waxhaw, NC. She is a three-time award recipient of the National Band Association's Citation of Excellence and was recognized as Cuthbertson Middle School's Teacher of the Year in 2016/17 

"I am incredibly excited to have students from different schools come and make music together!  Music is what feelings sound like, and the experience of sharing these feelings together, through music, is such a valuable experience for our young people today." ~ Katie Ebert 

Eric Thompson III is returning for his second year as conductor for the Charlotte Symphony's Youth Ensemble, a new training ensemble designed to introduce our youngest musicians to cooperative playing with hands-on instruction. Eric will also work alongside Katie Ebert as Co-Conductor of the Charlotte Symphony Youth Philharmonic.  

"I am absolutely thrilled this season to share all the wonderful, exciting, and magical repertoire Katie Elbert and I have planned for CSYP! I am equally elated for CSYE, and our young musicians who will experience playing in a full orchestra -- many for the first time, with coaching from Charlotte Symphony musicians! I would also like to resonate Christopher James Lees' enthusiasm. It will be an exciting year for our youth orchestras, and I think everyone will enjoy our musical journey!" ~ Eric Thompson, III 

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

“Charlotte Symphony in Performance” is Back on WDAV

Spend your Saturday evenings with the Charlotte Symphony this summer with nine new episodes of "Charlotte Symphony in Performance" on WDAV Classical 89.9. Each episode features incredible performances recorded live during the Symphony's celebratory 90th anniversary season.  

Tune in at 6 pm on Saturdays, August 6 through September 17, at and enjoy the sounds of your Charlotte Symphony.  


Beethoven Symphony No. 4 

Air date: August 6, 2022, at 6 pm

Christopher Warren-Green, conductor 
Taylor Marino, clarinet 

PROKOFIEV Symphony No. 1, "Classical"
MOZART Clarinet Concerto in A Major 
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 4

This concert was recorded at the Knight Theater on November 19 & 20, 2021. 

Brahms Serenade No. 2 

Air date: August 13, 2022, at 6 pm

Roderick Cox, conductor 
Benjamin Beilman, violin 

WAGNER Siegfried Idyll 
MOZART Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Major 
BRAHMS Serenade No. 2 in A Major 

This concert was recorded in the Knight Theater on October 29 & 30, 2021.

Vivaldi Four Seasons 

Air date: August 20, 2022, at 6 pm

Christopher Warren-Green, conductor 
Paul Huang, violin 

RESPIGHI Trittico Botticelliano 
MASCAGNI Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana 
BIBER Battalia 
VIVALDI The Four Seasons 

This concert was recorded in the Knight Theater on October 15 & 16, 2021.

Tchaikovsky's Pathétique 

Air date: August 27, 2022, at 6 pm

Kensho Watanabe, conductor 
Sara Davis Buechner, piano 

ANNA CLYNE Within Her Arms 
CLARA SCHUMANN Piano Concerto in A Minor 
TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 6, "Pathétique"

This concert was recorded in the Belk Theater on February 11 & 12, 2022.

Mahler Symphony No. 9 

Air date: September 3, 2022, at 6 pm

Christopher Warren-Green, conductor (Mahler) 
Christopher James Lees, conductor (Leonard Mark Lewis) 
Alan Black, cello (Leonard Mark Lewis) 

MAHLER Symphony No. 9 

Mahler's Symphony No. 9 was recorded in the Belk Theater on January 14 & 15, 2022. Leonard Mark Lewis's I Will Wade Out was recorded at Queens University on April 3, 2022.

Kabalevsky Cello Concerto 

Air date: September 10, 2022, at 6 pm

Paolo Bortolameolli, conductor 
Christine Lamprea, cello 

GABRIELA ORTIZ Téenek-Invenciones de Territorio 
DMITRI KABALEVSKY Cello Concerto in G Minor, Opus 49 

This concert was recorded in the Belk Theater on February 25 & 26, 2022.

90th Anniversary Concert: Vaughan Williams Dona Nobis Pacem 

Air date: September 17, 2022, at 6 pm

Christopher Warren-Green, conductor 
Christina Pier, soprano 
Daniel Okulitch, bass 

THOMAS BURGE Charlotte Symphony Fanfare 
HOLST Walt Whitman Overture 
MALCOLM ARNOLD Four Scottish Dances 
VAUGHAN WILLIAMS Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis 

This concert was recorded in the Belk Theater on March 11 & 12, 2022.

Ravel Piano Concerto 

Air date: September 24, 2022, at 6 pm

Jessica Cottis, conductor 
Stewart Goodyear, piano 
Lindsay Kesselman, soprano
William Edwards, tenor
Zachary Taylor, tenor
Robert Wells, baritone
Reginald Powell, bass-baritone 

RAVEL Piano Concerto in G Major 
STRAVINSKY Circus Polka 
KURT WEILL The Seven Deadly Sins 

This concert was recorded in the Knight Theater on January 28 & 29, 2022.

Beethoven Symphony No. 9 

Air date: October 1, 2022 at 6 pm

Christopher Warren-Green, conductor 
Alicia Russell Tagert, soprano
Sara Larsen, mezzo-soprano
Sean Panikkar, tenor
Jordan Bisch, bass
Charlotte Master Chorale 

BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 9  

This concert was recorded in the Belk Theater on May 20-22, 2022.

Posted in Community. Tagged as community.