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2014 Fall Arts Preview

Sep 11, 2014

Rock enthusiasts know the music of Ben Folds. Since the 1990s, the Chapel Hill native has thrilled audiences with his kinetic brand of piano-driven tunes. His return to North Carolina on September 27 will be marked by fanfare, with the Charlotte Symphony backing him at Belk Theater as part of the symphony's Pops series.

"We're trying to remain relevant with what audiences want," says Bud Simmons, director of operations and Pops programs for the symphony. "Ben Folds is a popular artist with kind of a classical edge. He actually has written a concerto that the symphony will perform with him."

The Pops series was created to combine orchestra music with radio favorites. Symphony season-ticket-holders will be there, but organizers say the Pops shows attract a wider audience. They're targeting casual symphony-goers, or even attendees who are seeing their first orchestra performance. Folds, a North Carolina Music Hall of Fame inductee, has that kind of pull, with a history of collaborating with artists across genres and even a stint as a judge on the reality TV show The Sing-Off.

"The series has become something of an entry point," Simmons says. "And hopefully, it will lead to audiences wanting to see more of the symphony and buy tickets to our other programs."

Playing with someone such as Folds is also a welcome change for the orchestra members. "They love to showall that they're capable of," Simmons says.

Albert-George Schram will conduct this performance.

The Folds show is just one of the Pops offerings this fall. A John Denver Celebration celebrates the folk legend's career November 7-8, and Cirque Musica mixes circus performers and classical music November 21-22. Other symphony offerings: Beethoven's Eroica (September 19 and 20), Schubert's "Tragic" Symphony No. 4(October 10-11), Bachtoberfest II: Bach & Beer (October 24), Beethoven's Emperor Concerto(October 21-November 1), and the Brahms  Requiem (November 14-15).

Full article at Charlotte Magazine