Sound of Charlotte Blog
Spotlight: Branford MarsalisApril 8, 2021
Branford Marsalis hails from the musically rich and diverse city of New Orleans and was raised in a house of jazz royalty - his father, Ellis, was one of New Orleans' most esteemed pianists and music educators, and he's the oldest among jazz siblings Wynton, Delfeayo, and Jason Marsalis. The New York Times described the Marsalis family as "jazz's most storied living dynasty."
Marsalis has performed with countless jazz legends, formed his own quartet in 1986, and is the winner of three Grammy awards, but his musical interests are not confined to jazz, he is also an accomplished and dedicated performer of classical music and has made a name for himself as a soloist in the orchestral world.
Though he bridges these two musical worlds, his approach is different when playing classical music, "I have to be less loud," Marsalis said in a 2019 interview for artsfile. "I need to have a mouthpiece that allows me to control the tone. Non-classical music never really gets to pianissimo. It never gets softer than super loud. To get that you have to practice in a different way. I played clarinet first. My clarinet teacher was always on me about my tone."
When asked which genre was more difficult, Marsalis didn't hesitate, "Classical is harder. Jazz is like a story that you personalize, but classical is a story where you can't use your own words. It's like reading Shakespeare or Chaucer. You have to develop the characters to make them believable, but the words aren't yours, and you're not going to change Shakespeare. You can't. In classical music, you don't play your own notes, you play theirs."
Branford Marsalis performs the first movement of Ibert's Concertino da Camera.
Reflecting on the growth of his classical music career, Marsalis said "Classical music in my 40s got me to a place where I was going to have to practice and become a better player. It made me a better musician."
Branford Marsalis will join Christopher Warren-Green and your Charlotte Symphony at the Belk Theater on May 14 & 15 to perform Ibert's lyrical and soaring Concertino da camera and Schulhoff's jazz-inspired Hot Sonate. >> Get Tickets
A powerful message from Cherokee Nation youth: Si Otsedoha (We're Still Here)January 29, 2020
The Cherokee Chamber Singers have a powerful message to share: Si Otsedoha (We're Still Here). Nestled in an all-American Classical Series concert on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, 2020, below is everything that you need to know about this powerful work and our collaboration.
Si Otsedoha (We're Still Here) sprang from the minds and hearts of students of Cherokee Middle and High Schools under the guidance of the Cherokee Chamber Singers. Composed in 2018 by contemporary American composer (and NC native) William Brittelle, Si Otsedoha (We're Still Here) is sung in the Cherokee language and musically documents the past, present, and future of the Cherokee people who have lived in the mountains of Western North Carolina for several thousand years.
The Cherokee Chamber Singers vocal group was formed in 2016 as the advanced vocal group from the Performing Arts Department at Cherokee High School, the Native American high school in the Qualla Boundary in Cherokee, NC (also known as the Cherokee Indian Reservation). Under the direction of Michael Yannette, the singers' unique and varied repertoire offers audiences both traditional and modern Native American music, as well as choral, classical, musical theater, and pop/rock genres.
"I have been a teacher for 33 years and have never been part of something with the impact of this work," Yannette said. "The audience reaction has been overwhelmingly positive; I thought people might be disturbed by it in Raleigh, but it had universal acceptance. They were open to what these kids had to say: 'We're still here, and we're always going to be.'"
This concert serves as a continuation of the Symphony's commitment to use music to both explore issues of systematic injustice, and to look to a more equitable future for all people. Under the baton of Music Director Christopher Warren-Green, the orchestra will perform this powerful work that celebrates the creativity and cultural heritage of the original citizens of North Carolina, but also amplifies their voices.
"Si Otsedoha (We're Still Here) is not only an artistically excellent work that shines a light on North Carolina music and composers, but it also gives voice to a group of people in our home state who feel forgotten," Michelle Hamilton, Charlotte Symphony Interim President and CEO, said. "The Charlotte Symphony is proud to share the stage with these young singers and provide a platform for their voices."
Hear their message: Join us on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 at Belk Theater. Also on the program: Copland's Appalachian Spring and Barber's Adagio for Strings.
Father and daughter share the stage at Stars, Stripes and SousaOctober 25, 2019
Violinist Jenny Topilow has a special connection to our upcoming Stars, Stripes and Sousa concert on Nov. 15 & 16: her father is the guest conductor! Find out in our interview below what it's like for Jenny to see her dad on the podium, and how Carl Topilow creates his patriotic clarinet for this concert.
|Jenny, what's it like to have your father on the podium as your conductor? Have you worked together like this before?
JT: My Dad was my primary conductor when I was 18-22 years old. During that time, I wouldn't say we "worked" together as much as I was a student learning from him as a teacher, which he's great at. He did give me a B in conducting class [at the Cleveland Institute of Music], though (he was probably being generous!).
Since becoming a member of the Charlotte Symphony, I have worked with my Dad many times. Often it's just us playing duets (with him on the clarinet), but also in [an orchestral setting] a few times, too.
I'm very proud of my dad and his amazing career, and it is special when he is on the podium, but he's very cognizant about not treating me any differently when we are in a professional setting. Maybe he'll point out that I'm his kid and he's excited to have me in the band, but then it's down to business. As he says "I've worked with hundreds of violinists, and you're definitely one of them."
Carl and Jenny, what inspired you to choose a career in music?
CT: My love of music and my desire to pass this passion on to other people as teacher and performer was my inspiration to make this a full-time profession.
JT: I started violin at age three after seeing Itzhak Perlman on Sesame Street (a surprisingly common story!). It's been simply amazing to share the stage with him recently.
My dad being a conductor and my mom being a ballet dancer, they basically had the 16th sized violin waiting for me in the closet. I was pretty talented and practiced pretty diligently, but as a professional musician and a teacher at a conservatory, my dad knows just how hard it is to have a successful career in music, and never pushed me to go into it. He didn't exactly stand in my way, but he made sure I knew how competitive it is.
When I won my job with the CSO, he was the first person I called and he was the one person who cried happy tears with me, because he really understands how rare it is to win a job and how hard musicians work to prepare for auditions.
Is anyone else in your family musical?
CT: My brother, Arthur, is an excellent jazz pianist. He's also a much-respected hematologist/oncologist. My younger daughter Emily enjoyed performing as violinist with her college orchestra for 4 years and is now playing with a community orchestra in Cleveland. I recently appeared as guest conductor with that orchestra, and it was very rewarding to perform together!
|JT: Like my dad said, my Uncle is a fantastic jazz pianist and my little sister plays the violin. My mom was a ballet dancer with Joffrey and the Metropolitan Opera in NYC before I was born and is a great lover of classical music (especially opera), and my stepmom, Shirley, is a professional tap dancer and also started the Cleveland Pops.
Carl, this kind of patriotic concert is one of your specialties. How did that come to be?
CT: These concerts do so much to instill a sense of pride and privilege to be living in the U.S.
We hear you have a very patriotic clarinet... What's the story behind that?
CT: I have red, white, blue, and green clarinets, and can assemble parts of each to come up with multicolored clarinets. I always play the piccolo obbligato to the Stars and Stripes along with the orchestra piccolo players on a red, white, and blue clarinet. Read more
Meet the women taking the classical world (and your CSO) by stormJuly 22, 2019
This season, we're thrilled to have two outstanding women conductors lead the orchestra in concerts featuring masterworks by Beethoven and Bach. Find out how these women broke the "Glass Podium" and became trailblazers in the industry.
JoAnn Falletta: Classical Woman of the Year
JoAnn Falletta is the Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the Brevard Music Center and Music Advisor to the Hawaii Symphony. This year, she was named by Performance Today Classical Women of the Year. Falletta joins us April 3-5, 2020 to guest conduct Beethoven's Pastoral at Knight Theater.
Here's how Falletta is making waves in the industry:
- Upon her appointment as Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic, she became the first woman to lead a major American ensemble. She has since been credited with bringing the Philharmonic to a new level of national and international prominence.
- In 2018, she made history as the first American woman conductor to lead an orchestra at the prestigious Beethoven Easter Festival.
- She has a discography of 115 titles, 2 of which won GRAMMY® Awards and 10 received nominations.
- She is acclaimed by The Washington Post as having "Toscanini's tight control over ensemble, Walter's affectionate balancing of inner voices, Stokowski's gutsy showmanship, and a controlled frenzy worthy of Bernstein."
- She has guest conducted over a 100 orchestras in North America, and many of the most prominent orchestras in Europe, Asia, South America and Africa.
- She has introduced over 500 works by American composers, including well over 100 world premieres.
Jeannette Sorrell brings fire to Baroque
GRAMMY®-winning conductor and harpsichordist Jeannette Sorrell is recognized internationally as one of today's most compelling interpreters of Baroque and Classical repertoire. She joins us April 17-18, 2020 to guest conduct Bach Brandenburg Concertos at Knight Theater.
What makes Sorrell extraordinary?
- She is the founder and artistic director of the renowned period ensemble APOLLO'S FIRE, with which has one of the largest audiences of any baroque orchestra in North America and sold-out concerts at Carnegie Hall, London's BBC Proms, Madrid's Royal Theatre, the Library of Congress, the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), and more.
- She, with APOLLO'S FIRE, has achieved 8 bestsellers on the Billboard classical chart and a 2019 GRAMMY®-winner.
- She studied conducting under Leonard Bernstein and Roger Norrington; and studied harpsichord with pioneer and pillar of the early music movement Gustav Leonhardt.
- She won both First Prize and the Audience Choice Award in the Spivey International Harpsichord Competition, competing against over 70 harpsichordists from Europe, Israel, the U.S., and the Soviet Union.
- She has attracted national attention and awards for her creative programming, which has brought many new listeners to early music.
- In demand with topnotch symphony orchestras and period groups alike, Sorrell has led the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, Handel & Haydn Society, and more.
See these women in action at Knight Theater on April 3-5, 2020 for Beethoven's Pastoral and April 17-18, 2020 for Bach Brandenburg Concertos. Read more
Street Dance meets Classical MusicJune 10, 2019
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, 2019 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 DirectorJorge 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, DirectorChris 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 DancerChadwick 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 DancerJesse 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 DancerAn 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 DancerSidney 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 DancerAdam 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 DancerMrince 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.
Meet the Mozart Requiem SoloistsApril 8, 2019
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.
Meet China Forbes of Pink MartiniJanuary 14, 2019
China Forbes (vocals) was born and raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts where she graduated cum laude from Harvard and was awarded the Jonathan Levy Prize for acting. She appeared in New York regional theatre and off-off Broadway productions, earning her Equity card alongside future stars of stage and screen such as Norm Lewis, Peter Jacobson and Rainn Wilson.
Soon after college China formed and sang with her first band. They regularly performed at NYC clubs CBGB's Gallery, Mercury Lounge and Brownies. Her first solo album Love Handle was released in 1995 and she was chosen to sing "Ordinary Girl," the theme song to the TV show Clueless.
In 1995, she 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 with Lauderdale, including "Sympathique," "Lilly," "Clementine," "Let's Never Stop Falling in Love," "Over the Valley" and "A Snowglobe Christmas," which can be heard on Pink Martini's holiday album Joy to the World. 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. She sang "Qué Será Será" over the opening and closing credits of Jane Campion's film In the Cut and her original song "The Northern Line" appears at the end of sister Maya Forbes' directorial debut Infinitely Polar Bear, which was released in 2015 by Sony Pictures Classics.
With Pink Martini, Forbes has appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Later with Jools Holland. She has performed songs in over twenty languages and has sung duets with Michael Feinstein, Jimmy Scott, Georges Moustaki, Henri Salvador, Saori Yuki, Faith Prince, Carol Channing and Rufus Wainwright among others. She has performed in venues from Carnegie Hall to Red Rocks, the Sydney Opera House to the Grand Rex in Paris. She released her second solo album '78 on Heinz Records in 2008, a collection of autobiographical folk-rock songs.
Meet our Guest: Sergej KrylovOctober 26, 2018
|Effervescent musicianship, intense lyricism and beguiling tonal beauty belong to the qualities that have secured Sergei Krylov's place among today's most renowned performers. The Russian-born violinist directs breath-taking virtuosity to reveal profound expressive insights into the works in his strikingly broad repertoire.
'Krylov articulated concisely, with humour, sometimes incisive but never defiant,' observed DiePresse.com following a recent performance of Prokofiev's First Violin Concerto. Other commentators have praised the intelligence, imagination and intuitive power of his musicianship.
In recent seasons, Sergei Krylov has become a regular guest with several major institutions and collaborated with many of the world's leading orchestras.
Among the prominent personalities with whom he has worked, Krylov's friendship with Mstislav Rostropovich stands among the most important influences on his artistic life. Over the past decade he has collaborated with many leading conductors, from Dmitri Kitayenko, Mikhail Pletnev, Valery Gergiev, Andrey Boreyko, Vasily Petrenko and Vladimir Jurowski to Fabio Luisi, Roberto Abbado, Yuri Temirkanov, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Dmitry Liss, Yuri Bashmet and Michał Nesterowicz.
Highlights of Sergei Krylov's 2017/18 season included Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Vasily Petrenko, Prokofiev's Second Violin Concerto with the Konzerthaus Orchester Berlin and Dmitri Kitayenko, and performances with the Russian National Orchestra, Prague Radio Symphony, Copenhagen Philharmonic, Turin's Rai Orchestra, and the Orchestra of the Teatro San Carlo, Naples. Read more
Meet our Guest: Roberto AbbadoOctober 25, 2018
|Roberto Abbado, awarded the prestigious "Premio Abbiati" by the Italian Music Critics Association for his "accomplished interpretative maturity, the extent and the peculiarity of a repertoire where he has offered remarkable results through an intense season", is Musical Director of the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía in Valencia and of Parma's Festival Verdi. He studied orchestra conducting under Franco Ferrara at the Teatro La Fenice in Venice and at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, where he was invited the only student in the history of the Academy to lead the Orchestra di Santa Cecilia. He made his debut in the United States in 1991 in New York conducting the St. Luke's Orchestra.|
He was Musical Director of the Münchner Rundfunkorchester from 1991 to 1998, completing seven album recordings with the orchestra. He has worked with many ensembles, including Amsterdam's Concertgebouworkest, the Wiener Symphoniker, the Orchestre national de France, the Orchestre de Paris, the Staatskapelle Dresden, the Gewandhausorchester (Leipzig), the NDR Sinfonieorchester (Hamburg), the Sveriges Radios Symfoniorkester (Stockholm), the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestra di Santa Cecilia, the Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai, the Filarmonica della Scala, the Orchestra of Teatro Comunale di Bologna, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the New World Symphony Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra and the Taipei Symphony Orchestra.
Roberto Abbado has conducted numerous world premieres and new opera productions, including Fedora and Ernani at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York; I vespri sicilianiat the Wiener Staatsoper; La Gioconda, Lucia di Lammermoor, La donna del lago, and the world premiere of Fabio Vacchi's Teneke at La Scala; L'amour des trois oranges, Aida, and La traviata at the Bayerische Staatsoper; Le Comte Ory, Attila, I Lombardi alla prima crociata, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Henze's Phaedra at its Italian premiere and Anna Bolena at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino; Don Giovanni at the Deutsche Oper Berlin; Simon Boccanegra, and La clemenza di Tito at the Teatro Regio of Turin; La donna del lago at the Opéra Garnier in Paris; Ermione, Zelmira, and Mosè in Egitto at the Rossini Opera Festival; the Italian premiere of Marschner's Der Vampyr at the Teatro Comunale in Bologna.
A passionate interpreter of contemporary music, Abbado's repertoire includes composers like Luciano Berio, Bruno Maderna, Goffredo Petrassi, Sylvano Bussotti, Niccolò Castiglioni, Azio Corghi, Ivan Fedele, Luca Francesconi, Giorgio Battistelli, Michele dall'Ongaro, Giacomo Manzoni, Salvatore Sciarrino, Fabio Vacchi, Pascal Dusapin, Henri Dutilleux, Olivier Messiaen, Alfred Schnittke, Hans Werner Henze, Helmut Lachenmann, John Adams, Ned Rorem, Christopher Rouse, Steven Stucky, and Charles Wuorinen. Read more
Get to know the Broadway Singers for The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber and MoreOctober 5, 2018
We caught up with our three soloists for The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber and More, Morgan James, Hugh Panaro, and Debbie Gravitte. Each brings his or her own special Broadway experience to the Charlotte stage.
Have you ever been to Charlotte? If not, what are you most excited for duing your visit?
MJ: I was in Charlotte last fall with my band. I always love coming through and I'm excited to make some new fans, and eat some great food!
DG: You bet! My husband was born in Goldsboro. We have family all over the area, who will be attending the show, and we vacation every year on Ocracoke. Can't wait!
HP: I don't think the airport counts so I'm pretty sure this will be my first time performing in Charlotte! I have performed in Garner twice with my solo show. But there's nothing like singing with a Symphomy orchestra and I've already heard great things! I'm also a HUGE "foodie," so I can't wait to eat my way through Charlotte!
How many shows were you in?
HP: Wow, I don't know! I started acting professionally when I was 13 years old as Friedrich Von Trapp in The Sound of Music so I had already been in at least 13 productions before making my Broadway debut as Marius in Les Miserables. And here I am all these years later and I STILL get the same joy from performing!
DG: This is a trick question for me. Whether it's the Broadway stage, a movie set, a television set, a nightclub or a Symphony Hall, it's all performance! I have been lucky to be in 8 Broadway shows and numerous other productions.
MJ: I've been working on stage in some capacity for 20 years. I did four original companies on Broadway, and countless readings, workshops, and regional productions.
Hugh, what was it like performing in Phantom of the Opera, first as Raoul, then coming back to play Phantom years later?
HP: I loved playing both roles! I think I was cast in the right roles at the right time. Hal Prince cast me as Raoul in my early 20's and I was kind of an impetuous "puppy" with a lot of energy and confidence. I don't think I had the "weight" or life experience to play the Phantom back then. Going back to play the Phantom many years later I had a lot more life experience to draw from so that I could fully embody a more complex character Every experience we have hopefully helps us grow and allows us the opportunity to bring more of ourselves to a role.
Morgan, What was the stage show that has most influenced you and how has that shaped you as an artist?
MJ: I did a production of hair 10 years ago that really shaped me. It was one of my favorite leading roles out of town, right before I got my first Broadway show, and I think I really grew as an artist and became a true leader. I'm very grateful for my years of doing regional theater and learning how to be a leading lady out of town.
Debbie, Being that you have performed with over 175 orchestras, what is your favorite aspect of performing for Symphony audiences?
DG: Every Symphony performance is different depending on the city it takes place! Read more
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