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Musical visions

Mar 28, 2024

Vanessa Infanzon, SouthPark Magazine -- 

At just 6 years old, Charlotte Symphony Orchestra's next music director Kwamé Ryan knew what he wanted to do when he grew up. At a performance of Porgy and Bess in Ontario, Canada, Ryan's attention was captured by the man standing with his back to the audience. "I remember leaning over to my mom during the performance and saying, 'Whatever the guy at the front is doing, I think I want to do that,'" says the Canada-born conductor. "I didn't know what he was doing, but the sound blew me away. It felt like magic."

Ryan returns to Charlotte this month as the music director designate for two CSO performances featuring Wang Jie's Symphonic Overture "America, the Beautiful," Brahms' Symphony No. 1 and Tchaikovsky's Variations on a Rococo Theme on April 5 and 6. His four-year contract with CSO officially begins this fall with the 2024-25 season. Ryan, 54, will be CSO's 12th music director since it was founded in 1932 and the first person of color in the role. He succeeds Christopher Warren-Green, who held the post for 12 years. As music director, Ryan will conduct the orchestra and guide the artistic vision and musical selections.

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