North Carolina Symphony
|North Carolina Symphony|
|Concert hall||Meymandi Concert Hall|
|Principal conductor||Grant Llewellyn|
The North Carolina Symphony is an American orchestra based in Raleigh, North Carolina, with sixty-five full-time musicians. The orchestra performs in Meymandi Concert Hall and performs occasionally with the Carolina Ballet and the The Opera Company of North Carolina. In 2013, the organization celebrate its 80th anniversary season. Concert series are also performed across North Carolina in the cities of, Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary, Southern Pines, New Bern, Wilmington, Fayetteville, and Jacksonville, as well as other communities.
In 1932, Lamar Stringfield united a group of volunteers to form the North Carolina Symphony. They first performed in Hill Hall at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill in North Carolina on May 14, 1932. The original musicians of the symphony were unpaid local musicians. By 1935, the North Carolina Symphony had performed in more than fifty cities and towns in North Carolina, in over 140 concerts. Dr. Benjamin Swalin, Music Director from 1939 to 1972, continued the orchestra's mission to reach as many North Carolina natives as possible.
In the 1940s, the North Carolina Symphony became the first orchestra to receive continuous state funding. The "Horn Tootin’ Bill", which asserted that state funds would be given to orchestras, was passed by the North Carolina State Legislature in March 1943. The North Carolina Symphony continues to receive this state funding today. In 1942, the Symphony began to focus on education, bringing in young children and students into the concert hall to ask questions and hear the musicians play. The Symphony began coordinating with elementary schools, exposing many children to symphonic music at an early age.
The North Carolina Symphony is an orchestra with a reputation for playing many genres and types of music outside of classical concerts. In 2007, the Symphony toured western North Carolina, with a program featuring traditional North Carolina folk music; cherokee flutist, fiddlers, banjo players, and clogging performed with the Symphony.
Since July 2004, Grant Llewellyn has been the orchestra's music director. His initial contract was for 4 years, and in November 2006, his contract was extended to 2012. Gerhardt Zimmermann, music director from 1982 to 2003, is the orchestra's conductor laureate.
The orchestra has released many critically lauded recordings: “Sketches: 2004-05,” a recording featuring the compositions of the Symphony’s bass trombonist, Terry Mizesko, “American Spectrum” featuring saxophone sensation Branford Marsalis and the Branford Marsalis Quartet and most recently “Rachmaninoff 4 * Medtner 2” featuring piano dynamo Yevgeny Sudbin. CDs are for sale online at www.ncsymphony.org/store .
David Hartman, the host of the ABC television program Good Morning America, is the host for the North Carolina Symphony radio broadcasts.
As part of the orchestra's education program, around 50 of the orchestra's 180 annual performances during the year are devoted to students statewide. In addition, the orchestra holds a Youth Concerto Competition, sponsors the Triangle Youth Philharmonic, and invites students to observe rehearsals.
- 1932-1935 Lamar Stringfield
- 1939-1972 Benjamin Swalin
- 1972-1980 John Gosling
- 1982-2003 Gerhardt Zimmermann
- 2004-present Grant Llewellyn
- Vivien Schweitzer (27 November 2006). "Grant Llewellyn Extends Contract as North Carolina Symphony Music Director". Playbill Arts. Retrieved 2008-04-16.
- nc symphony.org