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Sound of Charlotte Blog

Memorial Service for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II



On September 29 at 4 pm, Maestro Christopher Warren-Green will lead musicians of the Charlotte Symphony at the memorial service of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II at Myers Park United Methodist Church. 

This service is open to the general public for anyone who wishes to pay their respects following the Queen's passing on September 8.

If you're unable to attend the service, you can watch the livestream and recording below. 

Read more

Posted in Community.

“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 wdav.org and enjoy the sounds of your Charlotte Symphony.

 

Schedule:




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 
LEONARD MARK LEWIS I Will Wade Out 

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 
JOHN CORIGLIANO Symphony No. 1

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 
VAUGHAN WILLIAMS Dona Nobis Pacem 

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 

JESSE MONTGOMERY Strum 
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. Read more

Posted in Community. Tagged as community.

“A Historic Event” the CSO Debuts at Little Rock AME Zion Church



This month, the Charlotte Symphony will make its debut at Little Rock AME Zion Church with a free concert filled with uplifting works that unite us all during challenging times. The Symphony, led by Resident Conductor Christopher James Lees, will perform works by Barber, Mozart, and John Williams and will join forces with the Little Rock AME Zion Church Choir to perform favorites like, "Oh, Happy Day" and "Amazing Grace."

"It's an honor to join the beautiful singing heard every week at Little Rock AME Zion with the artists within the Charlotte Symphony string section," said Christopher James Lees. In a time when we as a society are faced with images of inhumanity on a weekly basis, music & this program will be a vehicle for healing, inspiration, and peace. From the sorrowful sounds of Barber's Adagio for Strings to the full assembly of forces singing 'Oh Happy Day' at the top of their lungs, emotions will run deep in this cathartic & uplifting program. The choir at Little Rock AME Zion Church, led beautifully by Sidney Oliver, has vocal power which matches the potency of their message, and we are privileged to come together with them for this evening of beauty & light."

It will be a celebration of the unity found in our diversity!
~ Rev. Dr. Dwayne A. Walker

Little Rock AME Zion Church was founded in 1884 and has been located in Uptown Charlotte for over one hundred years. It is a church that has sought to open its doors to the community in an effort to uplift and empower those it is called to serve.

"We are delighted and excited to partner with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra!" said Rev. Dr. Dwayne A. Walker. "This will be a historic event. Our Minister of Music, Mr. Sidney Oliver and members of The Little Rock Choirs join me in looking forward to this collaboration. It will be a celebration of the unity found in our diversity! The Charlotte Symphony Orchestra is to be commended for their willingness to reach out to the community. We are honored to be a part of that effort."

The concert will take place at Little Rock AME Zion Church (401 N. McDowell Street) on June 8, 2022, at 7:30 pm. >> Learn more Read more

Posted in Community. Tagged as community.

Amy Orsinger Whitehead Lends a Healing Hand



For over 20 years the Charlotte Symphony's Healing Hands program has sent musicians to perform in area hospitals, libraries, senior care centers, and shelters for people experiencing homelessness. Since the program's inception, CSO Flutist Amy Orsinger Whitehead, violinist Elizabeth Pistolesi, and cellist Deborah Kauffman Mishoe -- named The Laurel Trio -- have been using their music to enrich the lives of patients, residents, and community members throughout Charlotte. We recently caught up with Amy to discuss what makes this program so unique and special.  

Why is the Healing Hands program so important to you? 
Our trio has done lots and lots of Healing Hands performances throughout the years taking our music on the road to wherever the need exists. I think it's very important to meet people where they are because some get to a certain point where they're not able to come to the concert hall to hear us play. If we are able to take ourselves to where people live and give them the gift of beautiful music something they've enjoyed all their lives it's a privilege for us. I think, honestly, that we get as much out of it as the people we perform for. It's really a lot of fun and it's quite meaningful for us because we enjoy being able to make a little bit of a difference in someone's day with our music.  



How does the audience respond to your performances? 
This has been quite powerful for us. In a situation where we're playing in a dementia setting, you might see a resident that doesn't seem to be responding to anything around them, but you'll see them react and respond to the music and even start singing along! We have a Motown medley that has inspired a lot of spontaneous dance parties, too! The music reaches deep inside people and has an impact that might not be easily achieved outside of music, and that is just so incredible. It's actually pretty hard to play the flute when you feel like you're getting choked up or teary-eyed, and so it can be a bit hard for me, I have to tell myself not to get swept away by the emotion of it. Seeing the immediate impact that we're having to think that we're making even the tiniest difference for people is really wonderful, and we feel so fortunate to get to have that experience.  

Your trio performs a lot at senior care facilities and senior centers, but you've also performed at Moore Place, a supportive housing residence for chronically unhoused adults. 
Yes, we have! It's a whole different age range than we usually play for, and we love to hear them tell us about their stories and musical connections the songs they remember and the instruments they played in school. Music can help ground us to where we are currently, moment by moment, but it has such a great way to take us back to a previous time in our lives. It's pretty incredible when we get to see this happening and experience the music the way the people listening are experiencing it. It's nice to relive people's memories with them. 



How was the program able to adapt during the pandemic? 
We were able to pre-record two programs, one holiday program and another non-holiday program for people of all ages. We provided online performances where the video was played and each one of us would announce the next piece live. It was a really great mix of technology and heartfelt love between all of us! We loved being able to interact with the people who were zooming in and we always had a really fun chat thread during the performance. People were really needing something like this in their lives at that moment. And to be able to have a holiday concert in December, when we were so closed off from each other for so long was extra meaningful.  



Do you have a favorite memory from a Healing Hands performance?  
I think my favorite moment ever was when we were playing at a senior living facility called Renaissance West. That's the place where they have been known to break into spontaneous dance parties and they love to sing along! One time, during a holiday concert, I could see a lady moving from person to person and I could tell she was on a mission to get everyone in the room to do something. We didn't think much of it, but at the end of the concert they brought up to us a Christmas card that they had all signed. It was just so sweet, and I carry that with me in my folder because it's such a special memory. That was such a great day, I can't think of it without smiling.  

Learn more about the Charlotte Symphony's Healing Hands Program. Read more

Posted in Community. Tagged as community, CSO Musicians, interview.

Alan Black on Stepping Back with Grace



A fixture of the Charlotte Symphony since 1986, Principal Cellist Alan Black is stepping back from his role of leading the cellists to continue playing in the section. Black will be ending his tenure on a high note at the end of our 2021-22 season, having played the solo in John Corigliano's Symphony No. 1 and capping off with his feature in the Music & Healing concert at Queens University on April 3. We talked with Alan about his decision to step back now, his favorite memory with the CSO, and his hopes for the section as he ends his tenure as Principal Cellist and begins the 2022-23 season as Principal Cello Emeritis.

Why have you decided to step back into the section at this time?
Well you know, I've been thinking about this for a couple years. I'm going to be 65 in a month and I'm thinking to myself, well, what else do I need to accomplish as a principal player? I've done all the solos....my colleagues are great cellists and I feel the talent level has risen. They're great players and so it's time for somebody else to do it. And the stress of sitting principal is actually fairly strong.... I want to enjoy playing without the stress of the job. And since I've done basically everything I've wanted to do and checked off all those boxes, I feel like it's kind of time for me to let somebody else take over the mantle; let somebody younger come on in and provide a fresh vision. 



How have the other players reacted to your decision?
I think a lot of them were surprised, which makes me feel good because they were like, "Wait a minute, what? Why are you doing that?" A lot of them didn't realize I was going to be 65 and that makes me feel good....I think my cello colleagues were surprised and they've been very gracious about it.

After so many years as Principal, you must have some great memories.
Oh, yes! The highlight of my career was in 2000 when Yo-Yo Ma was in town performing with us and I got to play the Vivaldi Concerto for Two Cellos with him. Aside from being the most visible and famous musician on the planet, he is also an amazing human being -- warm, engaging, and filled with humility. We had a great time together and hung out at the after-party on the 60th floor of the Bank of America center. I had a great time and will never forget this moment. Ultimately, it was because of this concert that five years later I was able to purchase the cello I bought from him. In many ways, he has been the most influential person in my musical life, and I am filled with gratitude for this. 



Do you have any words of wisdom for your successor?
I felt like as a principal the most important thing I could do is manage the section in a way that creates a great working atmosphere; a collegiality within the section. That's been my most important goal for the last twenty years, that I want us to all get along and be happy together....To me, the most important thing is that you've got to treat your colleagues with respect and you've got to treat them right.

What are your hopes for the cello section, and the CSO as a whole, for the coming years?
I hope we can continue to have great dialogue with our management and the board; that we continue to work as a team the way we did during COVID. These have been the best two years of my entire career in terms of our working relationship....it's been great and that's what we should have. We should have a great working relationship: between the players, the management, and the board. We need to do that....and I'm really hopeful for that going forward.



What can you tell us about your part in Music and Healing?
Two years ago I commissioned Leonard Mark Lewis to write [I Will Wade Out] for cello and piano, and we played it at Davidson [College] when I was on faculty there. And I really loved that piece. So I was thinking about what I wanted to do -- because I want to go out strong, like "Yeah, I'm making this decision. I don't have to, but I am because I just want to go out on a high note." And I thought, "You know, the perfect thing to do was play Mark's piece," because Mark and I are very close friends. I really like it, and it will give him a chance as a local composer to be showcased and to have another orchestral piece out there. So I'm really excited about us being able to do that. We've done a lot of tinkering with it since we played it two years ago. So it's been really neat to sort of reconnect with it and find more things that are amazing about it. So yeah, it's going to be fun. I'm really excited about it and it's a new venue that we've never played in, so I think it will be a really nice addition to the program.

Is there anything you'd like to say to the audiences who have been with you for so many years?
I want to say thank you to everyone, it's been such an honor to be Principal Cellist of the Charlotte Symphony. It's been an absolute joy!


Join us at Queens University for Alan's final solo performance as Principal Cellist of the Charlotte Symphony.
  Read more

Posted in Community. Tagged as community, CSO Musicians, interview.

I Am Queen Charlotte: Dr. Shanté Williams

As the Charlotte Symphony supports I Am Queen Charlotte, we're highlighting stories, experiences, and lives of Black Women who are part of the CSO, from the stage to the boardroom. We asked Dr. Shanté Williams some questions about her personal and professional background and her experience with the CSO.

What is your role with the Charlotte Symphony?
Member of the Board of Directors.

What is your background? How did you get to where you are today? 
Born and raised here in Charlotte. By training, I am a former Neuro-Oncology Translational Scientist. I am now the CEO of my own Healthcare Investment Firm. I got where I am today with a lot of hard work, persistence, faith, and most importantly, community. I come from a close-knit family that has supported me every step of the way.

What drives you?
Two things drive me: curiosity and justice.

I have always been a curious person. I often will watch a documentary or read a book just because I've never heard of the topic or the person.

A business owner I used to work with that became a friend of mine called me a peacemaker and a healer once. I thought that was a bit strange. She said, "peacemakers are warriors and warriors seek justice; justice brings healing and that healing gives communities a voice. You do that for many of us." That was incredibly humbling to hear. I hope to live up to that description. 

How do you connect with classical music?
I got introduced to classical music and opera in grad school. They both would transport me to a different place and help me unwind when I became stressed with studying. I began to realize the music seemed to activate my brain in a different way. 

What inspired you to join the CSO's Board of Directors?
In Charlotte, there had not been much diversity on some of the fine arts boards. I have a 16-year-old nephew and he has gotten to experience many new things that I was never exposed to. I wanted to make sure that other Black children saw the CSO as a place for them because there were people there that looked like them.

What is your favorite part of being involved with the CSO?
I have an opportunity to listen to and learn from so many different people. 

What do you appreciate most about the CSO's role in the community?
CSO is continuing to make strides in listening to the community and co-creating with the community an organization that will last for years to come.

What inspires you, and where do you find it in your everyday life?
I have the opportunity to speak with entrepreneurs on a daily basis, many asking for my help in securing funding for their dreams. That inspires me. It inspires me to see people, who may be experiencing a hardship or are on the receiving end of the inequity of the world, see an opportunity to help others who may be suffering. I like to sleep with the blinds in my bedroom open, and every morning when the sun rays peek through, that inspires me because it reminds me that despite the brokenness of the world, there is another day to build and make things better. 
  Read more

Posted in Community.

I Am Queen Charlotte: Denielle Wilson

As the Charlotte Symphony supports I Am Queen Charlotte, we're highlighting stories, experiences, and lives of Black Women who are part of the CSO, from the stage to the boardroom. We asked Denielle Wilson some questions about her personal and professional background and her experience with the CSO.

What is your role with the Charlotte Symphony?
Acting Section Cellist.

How did you find out about the open position in Charlotte, and what was the process like for being hired?
Last year, after becoming the string division winner of Sphinx's Orchestra Partners Audition Excerpt Competition, Charlotte was the first Symphony to offer me a one-year contract.

I did not know of the position beforehand, but I was extremely grateful for the opportunity. There were barely any auditions happening anywhere around that time. 

What inspired you to play cello?
My father chose the instrument for me, and I grew to like playing it quickly. The musicians who inspired me early on were Yo-Yo Ma and Jaqueline du Pré.

Did you always know you wanted to perform professionally in a symphony orchestra?
Not at first. I began playing in a youth symphony during high school, and it was a tough learning process for me. It wasn't until my last two years in undergrad that I decided to pursue an orchestral career seriously.

What do you like best about being part of the CSO?
The community -- I feel very welcomed here.

Do you have a favorite piece to play or a favorite CSO concert you've performed in?
I am looking forward to playing Sibelius' Second Symphony in April.

How do you hope to see audiences engaging with classical music?
I would like to see audiences ask more questions about it. I know it is not always familiar to everyone, but I sense that audience members don't think there is more to figure out about it after the live performance experience. I am curious to hear about what aspects of certain pieces stood out to them, or made them wonder. 

What inspires you, and where do you find it in your everyday life?
I am inspired by happiness being found. I seek to find it for myself and others in small ways every day, whether it is through a shared meal or a friendly wave.
  Read more

Posted in Community.

Visionary: Valerie Coleman



A visionary composer, flutist, and entrepreneur, Valerie Coleman has made significant contributions to modern music. From being named 2020 Classical Woman of the Year (Performance Today) to receiving a nod as one of the Top 35 Woman Composers in Classical Music (Anne Midgette, Washington Post) and a Grammy nomination, Coleman has earned high acclaim, and for good reason.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1970, Coleman had an interest in composing music from an early age. She began formal music education at age 11, and started writing symphonies on a portable organ. Advancing her hobby, by the age of 14 she had written three full-length symphonies and won local and state competitions. She studied music at Boston University and earned a Master's degree in flute from Mannes College of Music. Debuting as a flutist/composer at Carnegie Hall, Coleman has since regularly performed at major music halls across the United States and has collaborated with other performers including Yo-Yo Ma, Chick Corea, Paquito D'Rivera, David Shifrin, Orion String Quartet, Harlem Quartet, Miami String Quartet, Dover Quartet, Wu Han, and many more. With enormous interest in her work as a composer, many orchestras, ensembles, associations, and festivals have commissioned her work; notably, Coleman became the first African-American woman to be commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Metropolitan Opera. 



Coleman's composition style infuses modern orchestration with jazz and Afro-Cuban traditions, ideas, and social commentary. She incorporates poems and speeches from such diverse figures as African American poet Margaret Danner, Cesar Chavez, Robert F. Kennedy, and A. Philip Randolph in some of her works. Josephine Baker: A Life of le Jazz Hot celebrates the life of Josephine Baker. She honors "the legacy of Native Americans and former African slaves (adopted into Native American tribal membership through emancipation or marriage)" in a chamber piece and recounts stories of trafficked humans in a flute sonata. Coleman is among the most-played composers living today, and her works are deeply relevant contributions to modern music . Umoja, her signature piece for wind quartet, is named after the Swahili word for unity and is listed by Chamber Music America as one of the "Top 101 Great American Ensemble Works".

Coleman's experiences in music from childhood to college inspired her to establish her own chamber music ensemble, Imani Winds, for which she is the resident composer. Using the name "Imani", the Swahili word for faith, she formed the chamber ensemble with African American woodwind players who might approach the music from a similar cultural background. From its beginning, they focused on repertoire inspired by African, Latin American, and North American cultures, and championed non-European composers that were underrepresented in contemporary music. In an interview with NPR, she recollected, "I used to be in the youth orchestra [as a child], and there were so many African Americans. But somewhere along the line, when I got to college, I was the only one in the orchestra. So I wondered what in the world happened here? It came to my mind that role models are needed."



The ensemble and their music has been met with high honors: winner of the Concert Artists Guild competition, resident-artists of Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and winner of multiple ASCAP awards. The music industry recognized not only the musical qualities of Imani Winds' performances and studio albums, but the significance of their work. NPR Music acknowledged, "Imani Winds' members have earned a reputation for expanding the recorded wind-quintet repertoire, but in a way that's culturally significant." In advocacy and mentorship of emerging artists and ensembles, Coleman created the Imani Winds Chamber Music Festival in 2011, a summer mentorship program, which invites musicians from over 100 institutions around the world to advance their own careers from the ensemble Coleman created with her vision of raising up underrepresented musicians. Read more

Posted in Community. Tagged as composer.

SLIDESHOW: Spoon River Anthology


The Charlotte Symphony kicked off spooky season with the premiere of a new stage adaptation of Edgar Lee Masters' Spoon River Anthology, a series of monologues that collectively tell the story of Spoon River, a fictional small town in Illinois, spoken from beyond the grave by the town's former residents who provide accounts of their lives, losses, and deaths. Charlotte's Elmwood Cemetery provided the perfect backdrop for this supernatural performance.

1 / 8
The audience gathers around tombstones in Charlotte's historic Elmwood Cemetery, surrounded by the graves of those that lived, worked, and died in the same era as our Spoon River residents.
2 / 8
Nearby, the cast and crew assemble for a quick photo op (From L-R: Frank Dominguez, Melissa Bowden, Nancy Cottingham, Haley Harkins, Nick Asa, Morgan McDonald, Anthony Neal, Isabel Gonzalez, Tyler Hope Milton, Kat Brown, Chris Stonnell, Hank West, Gray Rodgers)
3 / 8
Writer and Director of the production, Chris Stonnell, who is also the CSO's Director of Education and Community Engagement, sets the stage before the performance begins.
4 / 8
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse - Michael Hosford, Joe Brown, Scott Hartman, and Tom Burge - pose for a quick photo. The unique trombone quartet brings the show to life, weaving music throughout the dialogue.
5 / 8
In the distance, actress Morgan McDonald stands next to her character's resting place - poised to return to Spoon River and speak of her earthly travails. 
6 / 8
The audience sits at attention as the spirits of Spoon River gather once again to spin old tales.
7 / 8
The Four Horsemen delight with tunes evoking turn-of-the-century America including selections by John Phillip Sousa, Scott Joplin, and W.C. Handy.
8 / 8
As the final strains of "Going Home" from Dvorak's New World Symphony die down, the ghosts of Spoon River head back to their eternal resting places while the audience erupts in applause.
 
 
Read more

Posted in Community. Tagged as community.

Meet the Charlotte Symphony’s Newest Musicians, Part I



You might notice a few new faces in the Orchestra this season! We caught up with six of the new members to welcome them to the CSO and learn a little more about who they are. Stay tuned next month when we meet the remaining four. 

Drew Dansby, Acting Section Cello

 
How were you introduced to music and the cello?
My parents, neither of whom played an instrument, started me on violin lessons on my fourth birthday after I begged them to start playing when I saw a violinist perform at our church. Six months later, I saw another student having a cello lesson before me, and I begged my parents again to add cello. My teacher rented us both instruments and split my lesson time into half violin and half cello. I continue to play both instruments to this day!

What do you look forward to most about living and working in Charlotte?
I'm really looking forward to spending a year in my hometown with family very close, and exploring more of this constantly changing city.
 
I grew up going to CSO concerts and already feel like I know so many of the people, and it's surreal to finally get to join the orchestra myself. It will also be pretty intimidating to be colleagues with many of the musicians I studied with and was coached by when I was a kid.

What do you do for fun when you're not performing/practicing?
I'm an avid reader, and I also love spending time in nature, doing Sudoku puzzles, volunteering for Crisis Text Line, and continuing my quest to find the best chicken and waffles in Charlotte.

>> Learn more about Drew

Leah Latorraca, Acting Section First Violin

 
Where were you born? 
I was born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin.

How were you introduced to music and the violin?
I started playing violin when I was four. My older sister had started taking violin lessons, and naturally, I wanted to copy everything that she was doing!

What do you look forward to most about living and working in Charlotte?
I am looking forward to meeting and playing with a new group of wonderful colleagues. Outside of work, I am excited to explore Charlotte and see what North Carolina has to offer! 
 
What do you do for fun when you're not performing/practicing?
Outside of violin, I enjoy running, baking, traveling, and hanging out with friends!

>> Learn more about Leah

Margaret O'Leary, Acting Section Bassoon

 
How were you introduced to music and the bassoon?
When I was in fourth grade I started guitar lessons because I wanted to be in a rock band. However, practicing took way more discipline than I expected and after a year or so I gave up. In middle school I decided to give playing music another try and joined the school band program on the clarinet. A few months later I went to a Boston Pops concert, which was my first time ever seeing or hearing a bassoon. I was intrigued by how many keys it had, and liked the way it sounded. I doubled on clarinet and bassoon for about a year before deciding I wanted to focus on bassoon.
 
What do you look forward to most about living and working in Charlotte?
I'm looking forward to trying new restaurants and visiting Charlotte's museums, but I am most excited just to be playing in an orchestra again. Like most musicians, I haven't had many chances to play with other people over the past year and a half, so I really can't wait to perform more regularly. I feel lucky to be a part of this community; everyone in the orchestra has been very warm and welcoming, and I can't wait to make music with everybody!

What do you do for fun when you're not performing/practicing?
I really like to read, and I'm lucky to live just a short walk away from a branch of the Charlotte Public Library. One new hobby I have picked up recently is playing chess. I'm slowly studying up on strategies, but I also enjoy just playing for fun and seeing what happens.

>> Learn more about Margaret

Alice Silva, Acting Section Violin

 
Where were you born? 
I was born and raised in Fortaleza Brazil and came to the U.S. in 2007 to go to college.

How were you introduced to music and the violin?
I was introduced to music and the violin in my hometown through an afterschool program for underprivileged children. 
 
What do you do for fun when you're not performing/practicing?
Performing is my fun! Besides the symphony, I love playing Broadway shows, operas, weddings, Christmas concerts, chamber music, and in new music ensembles. But I also like to hang out with friends, discover different coffee shops in town, and travel when I can. I am a licensed Realtor in NC and SC and I am also a reservist in the U.S. Army. I am very excited to join CSO for the season!

>> Learn more about Alice

Denielle Wilson, Acting Section Cello

 
How were you introduced to music and the cello?
I was primarily introduced to music at church. My father loves singing, and started me and my siblings on piano lessons when we turned five years old. The classical station was often our radio listening of choice, and by the time I was ten, my dad started taking me to cello lessons.

What do you look forward to most about living and working in Charlotte?
I look forward to getting to know the outdoor beauty of Charlotte, making new friends, and growing more familiar with the feelings of playing in an orchestra full-time. I am hoping to find at least one good vegan/vegetarian Caribbean restaurant.
 
What do you do for fun when you're not performing/practicing?
I enjoy eating out, listening to music, reading, and having long telephone conversations with my siblings. An occasional visit to the movie theater is also nice.

>> Learn more about Denielle

Naho Zhu, Acting Section Bassoon

 
Where were you born? 
I was born in Kyoto, Japan, where I lived until I was 7 years old. After that we moved to Massachusetts, where my parents still live.

How were you introduced to music and the bassoon? 
My mom had me start piano lessons when I was three years old and, apparently, I fell asleep at my first lesson. The bassoon was something I became interested in after I joined the middle school band on the flute. We were working on a piece that had several measures of silence where a bassoon solo was supposed to be but we had no bassoonist at the time, so I volunteered to play it!
 
What do you look forward to most about living and working in Charlotte? 
I got a pandemic puppy last year, so I'm excited to explore parks and walking trails around Charlotte with him! Coming from Boston, I'm also looking forward to warmer weather, especially during the winter.

What would like the audience to know about you? 
That I'm so grateful for their passion and interest in music! As much time as we spend practicing by ourselves, what really gives our work meaning is the fact that we have people in the audience who are receptive to it, and who hopefully each take away something personal from the collective experience.

>> Learn more about Naho Read more

Posted in Community. Tagged as CSO Musicians.

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