Health & Safety updates from your Charlotte Symphony >> CLICK HERE

Charlotte Symphony Music Directors


Guillermo S. de Roxlo

Tenure: 1932-1944 

Guillermo de Roxlo was a celebrated conductor, composer, and violinist in his home country of Spain. He immigrated to Charlotte, via Cuba, with his family after fleeing the Spanish Civil War. Upon learning that there was no symphony orchestra in Charlotte, he replied "All right. That is my place." During his twelve-year tenure, de Roxlo consistently grew the Orchestra, adding concerts, a subscriber base, and taking the group on the road to perform in nearby towns in North and South Carolina.

Guy Hutchins

Tenure: 1945-1948 

Following de Roxlo's abrupt departure, a member of the Orchestra stepped up to the job. Guy Hutchins had organized three orchestras in his home state of South Carolina before becoming a music teacher in the Charlotte public schools and joining the CSO as a wind player. He was known for being able to play "almost any instrument that you could blow." His tenure saw the end of WWII and returning soldiers grew the Orchestra to near eighty players. 

Lamar Stringfield

Tenure: 1948-1949 

Flutist Lamar Stringfield was the founding Music Director of the North Carolina Symphony and studied composition with renowned French teacher Nadia Boulanger. His 1927 orchestral suite From the Southern Mountains won a Pulitzer Traveling Fellowship for the subsequent year. "Good Music with a Southern Accent" became Stringfield's motto for the Charlotte Symphony. His tenure ended abruptly after only one year over disagreements with the Symphony's board.  

James Christian Pfohl

Tenure: 1949-1957 

As Chairman of the music department at Davidson College, James Christian Pfohl was already a staple of the local music community. As Music Director he advocated for moving out of the barn-like Armory to Piedmont Junior High School Auditorium and for musicians to be paid ($2.50 per rehearsal / $5 per concert). During his tenure, the Symphony performed its first concerts for schoolchildren, added a sixth subscription concert, and began a wildly successful partnership with WBTV. 

Henry Janiec

Tenure: 1958-1963 

Henry Janiec came to the Symphony during perilous times. The budget had been sliced nearly in half and debt was continuing to mount. In an attempt to grow audiences, Janiec expanded the Orchestra's offerings - performing a fundraising concert with "Captain Kangaroo," engaging the Women's Association to arrange for elegant balls, and encouraging the establishment of the Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra.  

Richard Cormier

Tenure: 1963-1967 

A former Marine and native of Massachusetts, Richard Cormier was the Symphony's first full-time Music Director. More than 2,100 people filled Ovens Auditorium to hear his first opening concert. During Cormier's tenure, the Orchestra's budget grew to $70,000, the Orchestra performed in sold-out auditoriums, school concerts were expanded, and run-out concerts returned. Cormier hired the first two African-American musicians, integrating the Charlotte Symphony in 1963. 

Jacques Brourman

Tenure: 1967-1976 

The Charlotte Symphony saw unprecedented growth under the baton of violinist Jacques Brourman. The number of concerts per season increased, the orchestra musicians became unionized, and the American Symphony Orchestra League promoted the Orchestra from "community" to "regional" status. Brourman raised the quality of soloists and was known for his eclectic programming, challenging both the musicians and the audience.  

Leo Driehuys

Tenure: 1977-1993 

A former oboist and conductor of the Dutch Radio Philharmonic, Radio Chamber, and Radio Opera Orchestras, Leo Driehuys had the longest tenure of any Music Director in Charlotte Symphony history. During his time, the Orchestra expanded to sixty full-time musicians, grew its subscription season and added family and "pops" concerts to the Orchestra's offerings. He also presided over the Orchestra's first tour of Europe and saw the Orchestra into it's current home at Belk Theater. 

Peter McCoppin

Tenure: 1993-2000 

Organist and Music Director of the Victoria Symphony Orchestra, Peter McCoppin was known for his charisma and the energy he brought to the podium. An evangelist for the CSO, he brought the Symphony out into the community, launching a series of concerts in houses of worship all around the city. His tenure brought in celebrated guest artists like Luciano Pavarotti, Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Ray Charles, and more.  

Christof Perick

Tenure: 2001-2010 

Christof Perick came to the CSO with decades of experience as a conductor, much of it in opera houses throughout Germany. His strong foundation in the music of the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries shaped the Orchestra's sound and improved the quality of its music-making. Perick conducted the first CSO concert following September 11, 2001, just shortly after his appointment. The program was Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. 

Christopher Warren-Green

Tenure: 2010-2022 

Following twelve years as Music Director, British conductor Christopher Warren-Green now serves as Conductor Laureate to the Charlotte Symphony and Music Director of the London Chamber Orchestra. Christopher Warren-Green's tenure has been marked by a broadening of repertoire and innovative programming, attracting some of the world's foremost soloists to the Charlotte stage.

Kwamé Ryan

Tenure: 2024-Present

Beginning in the 2024-25 season, Ryan begins his tenure as the 12th Music Director of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, having served as Music Director Designate through the 2023-24 season.