The Charlotte Symphony's new music director will dive into his job by conducting seven of the 10 programs on the orchestra's main concert series next season. Christopher Warren-Green will lead a Pops program, too, and he'll even appear at Halloween to lead a Lollipops concert for kids.
It isn't that Warren-Green will hog the spotlight. For the first time in recent years, all three of the orchestra's main conductors will take part in the Classics series. Albert-George Schram, a fixture at Pops and Summer Pops concerts, will make his Classics debut. The Oratorio Singers of Charlotte's director, Scott Allen Jarrett, will lead a choral favorite, Haydn's "The Creation."
But Warren-Green will be all over the schedule, especially in the Classics concerts.
From a British program that opens the season - in honor of Warren-Green and his homeland - to the Scandinavian program that closes it, Warren-Green's concerts are generally built around themes.
The idea, Warren-Green says, is to make music approachable for newcomers. That ties into the orchestra's No. 1 goal: enlarging the audience.
"What I'm trying to do," he says, "is attract people... because they're intrigued by the themes." Such as:
The season opener devoted to works by Britain's Edward Elgar, including his musical portrait gallery of his friends, the "Enigma Variations."
November concerts featuring Beethoven and composers who knew him personally.
A January program of music inspired by Scotland, homeland of some of Charlotte's early settlers.
A "Romeo and Juliet" program just before Valentine's Day, including Tchaikovsky's tone poem and excerpts from Sergei Prokofiev's ballet.
The orchestra wants Warren-Green to become its public relations champion. In the concert hall, that means he'll introduce himself to the Pops audience with a George Gershwin program. Young people will meet him in a Halloween Lollipops concert. And he expects to conduct at Summer Pops next year.
Yet another outlet for Warren-Green in the coming season will be a new series at the Knight Theater on South Tryon Street. Hoping to take advantage of the theater's compact size, the orchestra is working on a more casual, newcomer-friendly format than in traditional concerts. The specifics are still in the works.