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Sound of Charlotte Blog

Spotlight On: Soprano Lindsay Kesselman

On April 20, 2018, your Charlotte Symphony presented the altsounds series finale: Rockin' with Dylan. The centerpiece of the program is a work by contemporary composer John Corigliano, inspired by Dylan's poems, featuring new music soprano Lindsay Kesselman. Read more about Kesselman below.

Hailed by Fanfare Magazine as an "artist of growing reputation for her artistry and intelligence...with a voice of goddess-like splendor," Lindsay Kesselman is a soprano who passionately advocates for contemporary music.

This season Kesselman has the honor of being the featured singer at John Corigliano's 80th birthday concert celebration at National Sawdust in NYC. Other season highlights include her debuts with the North Carolina Symphony and the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, as well as the 2017 release of Antique Violences on Blue Griffin, featuring Songs from the End of the World by John Mackey, written for Kesselman and chamber winds.

During the 2015-16 season, Kesselman made her debut with both the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Dutch National Opera in a leading role of a new opera by composer Louis Andriessen entitled Theatre of the World. A live audio recording was released on Nonesuch Records in September 2017.

From 2012-15, she sang with the Philip Glass Ensemble on an international tour of Philip Glass' opera Einstein on the Beach. Kesselman is also the resident soprano with the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble. Other recent and upcoming performances include her debut at Carnegie Hall singing Corigliano's Mr. Tambourine Man, premieres of new works for soprano and wind symphony by D.J. Sparr and Robert Beaser, and on Bright Angel and Atonement, recordings of American contemporary music released on the Fleur de Son Classics.

Kesselman holds degrees in voice performance from Rice University and Michigan State University. More information can be found at: www.lindsaykesselman.com Read more

Tagged as guest artists, KnightSounds.

5 Questions With: Lonnie Davis, co-founder and president of Charlotte’s Jazz Arts Initiative

The Charlotte Symphony brings The Jazz Room to Knight Theater on Friday, April 15 for an exciting KnightSounds collaboration. We caught up with Lonnie Davis, co-founder and president of Charlotte's Jazz Arts Initiative to chat about Charlotte's jazz scene and our upcoming collaboration.

Tell us a little bit about how orchestral music influenced jazz.
The Swing and Big Band era was heavily influenced by classical music, with intricate arrangements from band leaders like Duke Ellington, Fletcher Henderson, and others. Instruments that were used primarily in classical music have also been played by many jazz musicians--contrabass, violin, flute, oboe, and even bassoon. Many of George Gershwin's compositions have been adopted into the standard repertoire of jazz musicians and the American Song Book.

What will this collaboration be like?
For JAI, the collaboration will be fun. It will certainly be a new approach to the music, and we are really looking forward to it! Ocie Davis and his quartet sees this opportunity for great musicians to get together for a unique and fulfilling musical exchange between and across disciplines.

Does Charlotte have a good jazz scene?
Charlotte has a growing jazz scene. There is a lot of momentum around jazz and jazz-influenced programs in the Queen City--it's a very exciting time for jazz musicians and supporters in Charlotte!

Why is it important for a city like Charlotte to support the jazz scene?
Jazz is America's gift to the world--a true and original art form. Jazz is America's classical music. Charlotteans should support jazz and the musicians that perform it, because this music brings people together, and represents the American experience.

What should Charlotteans know about jazz?
Many prominent and legendary figures in jazz are from the Carolinas (Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Nina Simone). We must support the continuation of this great local jazz legacy.

Tagged as interview, Jazz, KnightSounds.

Strauss vs Strauss

In our current season, we are celebrating the 150th birthday of Richard Strauss by performing his works throughout the Classics series. In this weekend's KnightSounds concert, A Waltz to Remember, we fill the program with works from Johann Strauss II, "The Waltz King." Learn more about these composers which shared the same occupation, the same last name, and absolutely no relation!

Full name Johann Strauss II Richard Georg Strauss 
Life 1825-1899 1864-1949
Nationality  Austrian German
Born Vienna Munich
Father Johann, composer of more than 250 works Franz, principal horn player of the Bavarian Court Opera
Known for  Waltzes Symphonic poems and operas 
Age of first composition 6 6
Famous piece  On the Beautiful Blue Danube Don Quixote
Works in CSO 2014-15 season Overture to Die Fledermaus, Annen Polka, The Laughing Song from Die Fledermaus, Emperor Waltz, The Audition Song from Die FledermausOn the Beautiful Blue Danube Ein Heldenleben (A Hero's Life)Don Quixote, Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme

Posted in Classics. Tagged as composer, KnightSounds, Strauss.

Rondo from Mozart’s Concerto for Flute and Harp

Principal Flutist, Elizabeth Landon and Principal Harpist, Andrea Mumm perform the Rondo from Mozart's Concerto for Flute and Harp during the performances of "A Little Knight Music" on March 28. The piece is one of only two true double concertos that the composer wrote. The full concerto contains three movements: Allegro, Andantino and Rondo Allegro.
Your Charlotte Symphony has only played the full concerto once, back in March of 1965. Since this a somewhat rare piece for the orchestra to perform, we asked Elizabeth and Andrea their thoughts.

Andrea "I'm excited to play this Mozart concerto since it is the only piece of music he ever composed for harp! This piece was a commission by a Parisian duke for himself (a flutist) and his eldest daughter who was a harpist. At the time, the combination of flute and harp was not common, and even considered an odd pairing since the harp wasn't an orchestral instrument and wasn't highly regarded by Mozart. Thanks to this concerto and many other pieces since, the combination of flute and harp is now standard in literature (good for me and Liz!)."

Elizabeth "The sound and color combination of the flute and harp is very special. What a treat to perform this work in the intimate Knight Theater which has been fashioned to resemble a palatial living room. Our patrons will feel like royalty!"

Apparently, after hearing the Mozart 'Concerto for Flute and Harp,' Viennese composer Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf remarked, "I have never yet met a composer who had such an amazing wealth of ideas: I could almost wish he were not so lavish in using them. He leaves his hearer out of breath; for hardly has he grasped one beautiful thought when one of greater fascination dispels the first, and this goes on throughout." [1]  We look forward to grasping many beautiful thoughts with Andrea, Elizabeth and your Charlotte Symphony when they perform this piece Friday evening.  

Posted in Classics. Tagged as Classical, CSO Musicians, KnightSounds, Musicians.

A Little Knight Music, with Lunch

Photo by Logan Cyrus
It's not music or lunch, it's music and lunch (or music and cocktails if you attend the evening concert)! With the Brown Bag Matinees and KnightSounds, Charlotte Symphony Music Director Christopher Warren-Green says "it's all about making classical music accessible to as many people as possible."

Maestro Warren-Green and the Charlotte Symphony will perform A Little Knight Music at noon and again at 7:30 pm on Friday, March 28 in Knight Theater at the Levine Center for the Performing Arts.

Starry pieces Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (A Little Night Music) and two movements from Serenata Notturna, as well as the rondo from Mozart's Concerto for Flute and Harp featuring Principal Flute Elizabeth Landon and Principal Harp Andrea Mumm, comprise the mostly-Mozart program. The concerts will aptly close with Joseph Haydn's "Farewell" Symphony, complete with the ceremonial disappearance of the musicians, true to Haydn's original intent (that's a whole other story!).

If you've never been to the symphony, you might be concerned about what to wear or when to clap. If you're a regular concertgoer, you might dread the thought of stifling a cough, especially if you forget to--gasp--unwrap your throat lozenges before the music starts!

Forget all that.

Now try to imagine a maestro welcoming your peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich in the concert hall...Starting at noon and lasting just under an hour, the Brown Bag Matinee is a perfect mid-day break. And yes, you can actually eat in the theater while the Symphony plays.

The Charlotte Symphony is dedicated to enriching the community through live orchestral music. To that end, Warren-Green wanted to relieve barriers of budget, time and comfort with the matinees.

For only $12, the short, noon-time concerts compete less with lunch, work and weekend schedules and do not require a late-night outing. Such a package is a win for many music lovers, including uptown professionals, savvy spenders, senior citizens, symphony newcomers, families with pre-school aged children and student groups.

The Symphony had a successful soft launch of the Brown Bag Matinees this past October; the March 28 matinee is the second, and the next corresponds with the May 9, 2014 Carnivale KnightSounds.

Like all KnightSounds programs, $29 general admission to the 7:30 pm performance includes a free drink and pre-and-post-concert happenings. Discovery Place, Charlotte's science and technology museum, is cohosting the evening event and will provide activities and demonstrations related to luminescence.

Tagged as Christopher Warren-Green, KnightSounds.

From the Feet Up

If you've attended a Charlotte Symphony concert, you know we're quite loyal to the classic black concert attire. However, as we move into the third season of our innovative KnightSounds Series, a series of concerts intended to put a fresh, intelligent, and audience-engaging spin on classical repertoire, we are beginning to experiment with our attire from the ground or shall we say 'feet' up.

On January 25, 2013, the symphony will partner with the Metropolitan Ballroom but the dancers aren't the only ones who will be sporting impressive footwear at the "Ballroom!" performance. The audience, conductor and orchestra musicians are all invited to wear their dressiest, wackiest, or fanciest shoes of all styles and colors for both the performance and the post-concert dance party.
If you've attended a Charlotte Symphony concert, you might have noticed that Assistant Concertmaster Kari Giles already wears pretty fancy shoes at her seat during concerts. We asked her a few questions on the topic 'at feet.'

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

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

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

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

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

Colors of Music

After last weekend's concerts, in which the Charlotte Symphony featured Disney tunes including Colors of the Wind, this weekend's performances will touch on colors of music!

The CSO recently explored the experience of synesthesia in its October KnightSounds concert, which paired paintings by Romare Bearden with pieces from the artist's lifetime. (Read more on synesthesia and the concert here.)

Pianist Joyce Yang has also explored synesthesia through her playing and recent album, Collages.

Ms. Yang will perform with the Charlotte Symphony on January 13 and 14, performing, among other pieces, Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. Under the conducting prowess of of North Carolina Symphony Conductor Grant Llewellyn, Ms. Yang will perform works by composers Rachmaninoff and Liszt.

Liszt himself experienced synesthesia, and is recorded as asking for specific colors from an orchestra.

"When Liszt first began as Kappellmeister in Weimar (1842), it astonished the orchestra that he said: 'O please, gentlemen, a little bluer, if you please! This tone type requires it!' Or: 'That is a deep violet, please, depend on it! Not so rose!' First the orchestra believed Liszt just joked; later they got accustomed to the fact that the great musician seemed to see colors where there were only tones." -Anonymous, as quoted in Friedrich Mahling

People experience sensations of all kinds while listening to and playing music. The musical correlation to color is only one aspect of the web-like ties music has to many other sensory experiences.
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Posted in Classics. Tagged as guest artists, KnightSounds, Liszt, piano.