Sound of Charlotte Blog
Below, we hear from CSO violinist Jenny Topilow, educator/artist/social activist Ricky Singh, and Charlotte-based artists on how the collaboration was conceived, their reactions, and what comes next.
"We have been referring to the project as CLTSymphony X Beatties Ford Strong" Ricky says. "The X is intentional, for we feel that a title that is purposefully not combined respects each entity as having its own identity, and also allows for either side of the equation to be replaced or modified as the project evolves to encourage further community engagement."
"I've always been enamored with public art," Jenny shares, "murals and such that everyone can enjoy by simply being a member of the community; beautiful pieces by talented artists that become interwoven throughout the landscape and make a place more vibrant and colorful."
In February of this year, a quartet of CSO musicians played Jessie Montgomery's Strum for a CSO Off the Rails concert at Snug Harbor. According to Jenny:
Excited about the idea, I reached out to a muralist friend of mine, who got me in touch with Ricky Singh. Ricky is an artist, educator, community leader/activist, and one of the founders of the Beatties Ford Strong/Historic West End Project, an initiative to beautify neglected areas of the city through public art paired with community ownership, brought about as a reaction to the June 19, 2020 massacre on Beatties Ford Road, where four people were killed and several others injured.
My introduction to Ricky was the catalyst for the project to really take flight through intentional collaboration. We communicate well and ended up making a good team; we are mutually intent on the vision and are invested in being proactive and bringing the best of what we know to the table. All that being said, there is no way for me to truly express how grateful I am to Ricky. He is a beacon within the Charlotte community, and I feel incredibly fortunate to have formed a partnership with him.
There are so many artistic circles throughout Charlotte that are too often separated by class and race. The purpose of this project is to bring some of those circles together; not for one to overshadow another, not for one to do the other a favor, not for one to mold to the other, but for local creatives to do what they love all within the same space. We are committed to having more multi-faceted performances throughout Charlotte, through the lens of all art being accessible to all people, and with the ultimate objective of limitless circles overlapping to create a more connected city.
"My experience with the project was nothing like I ever experienced before," Artist Michael Grant shares. "This project captured both classical art and visual arts simultaneously. As an artist this project made me feel valuable and appreciated. It was such an honor to be a part of this moment of history and to collaborate with great artists as well."
Artist Makayla Binter also shares that "[the project] was just so pure and enjoyable because of the connection between artistic forms, and just the positive energy that creating makes. It was a great experience to live paint and also meet some very talented artists in music that I had never met before."
Ricky and Jenny plan to unveil the finished video at an event on a large screen, where they would also auction off the pieces of art created during filming. It is not finalized, but they are hoping to utilize a space like Camp Northend, where people can come to a beautiful outdoor area and celebrate in a Covid-safe way. All proceeds would go to provide local youth programming tied to the arts.
Organized by Ricky Singh and Jenny Topilow
Michael Grant (@infamous_kiddo)
Makayla Binter (@mkay_15)
Ricky Singh (@mrrickysingh)
DJ Pauly Guwop (@djpaulyguwop)
Lord Phly (@lordphly)
Lute West (@lute_west9)
Dancer: Jessica Thompson (@babyhairprincess)
Spoken Word: Hannah Hasan (@iamhannahhasan)
CSO Musicians: Jenny Topilow, violin; Lenora Leggatt, violin; Ben Geller, viola; and Sarah Markle, cello
Videographer/video & sound editor:
A Purchaser's/Subscriber's Guide to Accessing CSO Virtual Concerts
We are thrilled to offer you the best seat in YOUR house to our new virtual series, CSO On Demand and On Tap Live @ NoDa. If you're tuning in for the first time or coming back to watch again, keep reading for more information on how to enjoy the concert from the comfort of your own home.
How to Access CSO Virtual Concerts
After clicking the access link, enter the username and password provided in the email. Important: The username and password are case sensitive. Copy and paste when possible to avoid mistakes.
You're in! After successfully entering the login credentials, you will be able to view the concert on our website. Press the play button and enjoy! Important: The concert video will appear exactly at the stated start time. You may need to refresh the page (This icon next to your address bar) for the video to appear.
Your access to each concert lasts for seven days, so feel free to watch again and again!
For more information about how to access CSO On Demand or On Tap Live @ NoDa from a variety of devices, including your computer, phone, or smart TV, please click here.
If you have any issues accessing the stream, please contact Patron Services at 704.972.2000 or email@example.com. Read more
Your Charlotte Symphony hit a home run at Truist Field on Saturday! Concert-goers were greeted by Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles and enjoyed a beautiful program celebrating Charlotte with special appearances by mezzo-soprano Jennifer Wiggins, Charlotte Symphony Brass, and Charlotte Knight's mascot Homer the Dragon before enjoying a big fireworks finale. (Photos by Laura Wolff/Charlotte Knights unless otherwise noted.)
Find out how you can experience your Charlotte Symphony in-person or from the comfort of your own home! Explore our Reimagined Fall Season here. Read more
The Charlotte Symphony will be sliding into a new home base on October 24 when we perform "A Concert for Charlotte" a special live event presented in partnership with the Charlotte Knights at Truist Field. The event is designed to celebrate Charlotte and bring our community back together safely through the power of music.
Under the baton of Music Director Christopher Warren-Green, "A Concert for Charlotte" will open with the Star Spangled Banner, sung by Charlotte-based opera singer Jennifer Wiggins. Wiggins will also step up to the plate to perform Che faro senza Euridice from the opera Orfeo ed Euridice. She had this to say about being part of this special event:
|"This performance at Truist Field will not only be my debut with CSO, but also will be the first time I've performed for a live audience since February. I'm excited for the opportunity to share my voice with Charlotte and to collaborate with an amazing group of world class musicians. I hope that the piece that I perform will allow people to find closure from any heartbreak they might be experiencing and help them realize it's okay to mourn the ones you've loved and lost."||
Finish the night with some peanuts and Cracker Jacks and enjoy a brilliant fireworks display that will light up the Uptown sky.
Music Director Christopher Warren-Green said, "My hope is that everyone will join us at A Concert for Charlotte so that we can come together again through the power of music." Read more
By Gene Kavadlo, former principal clarinetist of the Charlotte Symphony
As the orchestra was rehearsing, the loud sound of a vacuum cleaner in the lobby was becoming increasingly annoying. Finally, the conductor asked his assistant, a rather diminutive fellow, to see if he could do something about it. Jordan went to the lobby. Suddenly there was a THWAP! and the annoying sound stopped abruptly. Without missing a beat, Jim said "Oh no, now we're going to have to get Jordan out of the bag." Anyone who knew Jim knew that he was the sharpest wit in the room. My children, now in their 40's, always referred to him as "our Jim." Our Jim succumbed to a 17 year battle with cancer on August 11, 2020.
I first met Jim in our student days at Indiana University during the 1960's. After college Jim served four years in the military as a member of the US Marine Band and White House Orchestra, and I went on to become the Principal Clarinetist of the Charlotte Symphony in N.C. One day I got a call that started with "You probably don't remember me..." It was Jim, and of course I knew exactly who he was. He had taken an audition with the Charlotte Symphony and won the job - beginning a fabulous eight year relationship as colleagues in the same Orchestra. It was in the Charlotte Symphony that Jim started playing the bass clarinet. There had been an older gentleman playing, but his skills were declining. One day the instrument fell over as it was resting in its stand, and Jim declared that it had committed suicide.
When Jim won a job at the MET I had very mixed feelings. I didn't want to lose my dear colleague, but he certainly couldn't pass up a career move like that. Before leaving Charlotte Jim found out that one of his first assignments would be to play the basset horn obligato from Mozart's Clemenza di Tito. Jim had never played the basset horn, nor heard Clemenza di Tito. We listened to a recording in my living room (before YouTube days), and Jim burst out laughing. When I asked him what was so funny, he said "I'm so glad I get to play this at the MET before I play it someplace really important." Naturally, his performance several weeks later was superb. Thus began his 33 year tenure as Principal Bass Clarinetist with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Jim's playing can be heard on numerous Grammy award winning Metropolitan Orchestra recordings, including Wagner's Ring Cycle on Deutsche Gramophone. He was also a member of the All-Star Orchestra made up of leading players from major American Orchestras. He served many summers in the Spoleto, Grand Teton, Bard, Napa Valley and Verbier festivals, and was an instructor at Julliard.
Former Principal Oboist of the MET, John Ferrillo, visited Jim a few days before he passed and played some beautiful oboe music for him. This is a story from John: "When Jim was stationed with the Marine Band in DC, he was dating an oboist. On a number of occasions he would make the 3 hour drive to Philly to bring her to her lesson with John deLancie, first oboist for the Philadelphia Orchestra. On one of those drives he needed to use the bathroom; when he asked permission, Mr. deLanci told him no.
"Years later, Mr. and Madame deLancie came to the MET. They were ardent opera fans. At the end of one of the performances, they met me at the gift shop. Before we parted company, he asked me who was playing the basset horn in Clemenza di Tito two broadcasts ago. I was delighted - 'funny you should mention him; that was my close friend, Jim Ognibene.' 'Well...let me tell you - that was some of the finest woodwind playing I have ever heard!' 'Why, Mr. deLancie, that's Jim coming through the doors right there.' Mr. deLancie insisted on taking Jim aside and spoke avidly to him for a number of minutes. For Jim it was one of the greatest accolades he'd ever received."
Later that night, I called Jim. Of course, I knew the line was coming. "I thought the time was right for me to ask if I could use his bathroom now."
Now you can enjoy your Charlotte Symphony from the best seat in the house your favorite living room chair!
We understand that not everyone will feel comfortable attending concerts in person at this time, but we're committed to bringing music to you, wherever you are! If technology feels like a barrier, we want to help. Check out our tips below and you'll be able to live stream the CSO right to your preferred device.
Watch on your phone, tablet, or computerWhen you purchase tickets to a CSO live stream or recorded performance, you will be provided a link CSO (sent via email up to 2 days prior to the concert date) and login information to a CSO website page. Simply click or tap on the link in your email, login in using credentials provided in the email, and enjoy the performance.
Watch on your TV
Connect your device to the same Wi-Fi network as your Android TV, access the video using your device (using the directions above), tap on the Cast icon on the video, and select the name of your TV. When Cast changes color, you have successfully connected.
Connect your device to the same Wi-Fi network as your Apple TV or AirPlay 2-compatible smart TV, access the video using your device (using the directions above), tap the Cast icon on the video, and then choose your Apple TV or AirPlay 2-compatible smart TV to connect.
If you have a Chromecast connected to your TV, simply connect your device to the same Wi-Fi network as your Chromecast, download the Google Home app on your device (not necessary for computers), access the video on your device (using the directions above), tap on the Cast icon on the video, and select your Chromecast or TV name.
Smart TV Internet App
To watch on your smart TV, locate the internet or preferred search engine app (i.e. Chrome, Firefox, Samsung TV Web Browser, etc.) on your TV's home screen and enter in the link URL provided by your CSO (sent via email up to 2 days prior to the concert date). From there, enter in the login information to access the page, and then click the full screen icon on the video.
Music Director Christopher Warren-Green has some of his own advice for how to enjoy our virtual concerts: "Get dressed, go into your living room, have a glass of wine, sit down and make sure no one interrupts you. Do that and watch our virtual concerts, and you'll get something extraordinary from it."
Your Charlotte Symphony held its first live concert since March on Tuesday night, and boy did it feel good! A little drizzle couldn't stop the music or the smiles on the faces of CSO musicians, staff, and excited concertgoers.
We hope you'll join us for another On Tap Live @ NoDa, either in person or virtually! Visit charlottesymphony.org/ontap for details. Read more
This season, you'll notice a few new faces in the orchestra! We caught up with Judson Baines, Jacob Lipham, Alaina Rea, and Gabriel Slesinger to welcome them to the CSO and learn a little more about who they are.
Judson Baines, Assistant Principal Double Bassist
|Where did you grow up?
I was born in Wilmington, NC and grew up in the Raleigh area. I've spent a considerable amount of time in the mountains of western part of the state, as well as the coast, enjoying the merits of living in North Carolina throughout my life!
What do you look forward to most about living and working in Charlotte?
I think it's really awesome that I can be in my home state and have my family easily visit me and vice versa, so I'm really looking forward to that.
What else should we know about you?
I would love the audience to know that I am genuinely so excited to join the CSO and play music with other people again after a long hiatus due to the virus!
Learn more about Judson.
Jacob Lipham, Principal Timpanist
|How were you introduced to music and the timpani?
I began studying piano at a young age, around five, and really enjoyed it. When I got to middle school I decided to join the band. When it was time to pick my instrument for the band, the array of percussion instruments in the back of the room looked very enticing to play! Many of the kids wanted to play percussion, so my middle school band director prioritized students who had studied piano to join the percussion section. Thankfully I had studied piano, so I was able to begin playing percussion, and the rest is history! My decision to pursue orchestral timpani happened in my collegiate studies. I received my Bachelor's Degree in Percussion Performance at The Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University.
While at Indiana University, I was introduced to a diverse range of percussion styles and fields of work. The experience I found the most excitement and joy through was playing timpani in the orchestra. The diverse sounds, colors, and roles the timpani can provide within an orchestra, in addition to the thrill of creating music beside colleagues, was more than enough to convince myself to narrow my pursuit to an orchestral career.
What do you look forward to most about living and working in Charlotte?
I moved to Charlotte recently, and I am very excited to explore and get to know the city more. The culture seems vibrant, diverse, and welcoming. I can't wait to explore the vast restaurant and brewery scene, and check out the local sport teams! I am so thrilled to be a new member of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, to begin making music with my new fantastic colleagues, and seeing you all from the stage hopefully soon!
Learn more about Jacob.
Alaina Rea, Assistant Principal Violist
|How were you first introduced to the viola?
I started playing the violin at the age of 4 in the Suzuki method. During high school, my teacher suggested that I learn the viola. At first I reluctantly agreed but ended up loving it and decided to make the switch.
What are you looking forward to about being part of the Charlotte Symphony?
I am most looking forward to making music with talented colleagues and exploring different parts of the city.
What do you do for fun when you're not practicing or performing?
Outside of music, I enjoy hiking, cooking, and spending time outside.
Learn more about Alaina.
Gabriel Slesinger, Third/Associate Principal Trumpet
|How were you introduced to music and the trumpet?
My parents both value music and it was important to them that my siblings and I all learn instruments. My two older sisters played the piano and my older brother played the violin. My earliest musical memories are of hearing them practice every day, overhearing their lessons and recitals, and listening to the classical station on every car ride. As the youngest, I think I picked the trumpet because I wanted my instrument to be louder than theirs. My parents are fans of Louis Armstrong and Herb Alpert, so I had a little bit of awareness of these great trumpet players before starting.
I really like the people in this orchestra. There is a very high level of playing here, but it's also like a family. The musicians here really stretch themselves and take risks in concerts. I love closing my eyes during a rest in a concert and pretending I'm an audience member, and I can't wait to be onstage again. The first concert back is going to be absolutely electric. I'm happy to live in a city where people value live music. The Charlotte Symphony has a wonderfully supportive audience.
Do you have any hidden talents?
I can name all the US presidents in less than 10 seconds.
Learn more about Gabriel. Read more
This summer, a number of the Charlotte Symphony's talented musicians participated in the 2020 virtual Colorado Music Festival.
Concertmaster Calin Lupanu was joined by Associate Concertmaster Joseph Meyer, Second Violinist Monica Boboc, Cellist Marlene Ballena, and Principal Harpist Andrea Mumm to perform Ravel's Introduction and Allegro and Dvořák's Terzetto in C Major, Op. 74 (I. Introduzione: Allegro ma non troppo & II. Larghetto).
Today marks the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which prohibits states and the federal government from denying U.S. citizens the right to vote on the basis of sex. To celebrate this historic achievement, the Charlotte Symphony is using its platform to highlight the many contributions of women in classical music. We asked a few CSO musicians and conductors to share with us a list of women composers who they wish everyone knew more about.
"She's an extremely talented individual, an accomplished violinist and chamber musician in the Catalyst Quartet, and I've been so proud to perform her wonderful music alongside the rest of our canon of timeless art pieces. I hope we will continue to share her beautiful work with our Charlotte community!" - Principal Violist Benjamin Geller
"Gabriela Lena Frank is a varied & important fixture in American composition, has numerous awards & Composer in Residence credentials, and has founded a Creative Academy of Music which enables opportunity for dozens of up & coming composers. Her string orchestra piece 'An Andean Walkabout,' written for A Far Cry in Boston, is both visceral in energy & jarring rhythmically. A terrific, monumental piece that I love." - Resident Conductor Christopher James Lees
"I think her music is important to be celebrated because, to be honest, I just really like it. When I have performed some of her solo pieces, they have spoken personally to me, and I found myself lost in tunes that I wish I had written myself." - Trombonist Thomas Burge
"When I was 13 years old, Chaminade's Concertino for Flute and Orchestra was one of the first big flute solos that I had ever performed. It's a very popular piece for young flutists, and I didn't realize until years after playing it that Chaminade is actually female!" - Youth Philharmonic Conductor Jessica Morel
"Chaminade composed more than 400 pieces, but the Concertino is her most beloved and remains an important piece in the flute repertoire. Though her father did not permit her to attend the Conservatoire de Paris, she was able to study composition privately and eventually gained popularity as a composer and pianist." - Flutist Amy Orsinger Whitehead
an orchestral piece in celebration of the city's 250th anniversary.
"I think Nkeiru Okoye is important because her works incorporate many different sounds and styles from cultural areas that are both part of her own personal journey, and also are part of a larger narrative regarding the history of African American people. Spending her youth divided between living in New York and Nigeria, she offers an important personal perspective through her music that also highlights a broader cultural connection that resonates with many Americans." - Trombonist Thomas Burge
Inspired to learn about more women composers? A great place to start is Music Critic Anne Midgette's list of the top women composers in classical music from The Washington Post. Read more
|Older Posts »|
- Clarinetist Allan Rosenfeld’s Top 10 Orchestral Clarinet Solos
- CLTSymphony X Beatties Ford Strong
- What Christopher Warren-Green Loves About CSO On Demand
- How to Access CSO Virtual Concerts
- SLIDESHOW: A Home Run at Truist Field
- A Home Run for Charlotte
- Remembering Former CSO Bass Clarinetist Jim Ognibene
- How to Stream Your CSO from the Best Seat in YOUR House
- SLIDESHOW: A Joyful Return to Live Music
- A thank you to arts educators, from CSO Musicians