The Charlotte Symphony Orchestra’s 2013-14 Classics season will balance international celebrities – violinist Itzhak Perlman and pianist Stephen Hough – with principal talent Music Director Christopher Warren-Green is eager to showcase.
The season will also celebrate British composer Benjamin Britten’s 100th birthday by including three of his works throughout the series. “As a British conductor, I felt I had to celebrate a little bit,” Warren-Green said.
One of Britten’s best-known pieces, “A Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra,” will lead the first classics concert, a choice Warren-Green believes will appeal to younger audiences and symphony new-comers.
“I’m really trying to make sure there’s something for everybody. A music director can run off what with whatever program he likes to satisfy himself, but I think the audiences matter more than anything.” He noted that’s especially true when programming during a recession.
“You have to have an eye on the box office as well.”
Perlman’s Feb. 15, 2014 performance isn’t part of the classics season, but a one-night “gala” that Warren-Green said is a boost for the symphony.
While the organization is in the process of finding a new chief executive, Warren-Green said, he believes Perlman “is a shot in the arm for the symphony,” he said. “It says a lot he accepted to come play with us. … It’s a huge vote of confidence internationally in the Charlotte Symphony.”
The same can be said of Hough returning to Charlotte, Warren-Green said, when Hough will be the soloist March 14 and 15, 2014 in Schumann’s “Piano Concerto in A Minor,” one of the season’s three piano concertos.
“Obviously, someone like Stephen Hough is more expensive than an unknown (musician). When you bring them, it raises the prestige of the symphony and the city, everyone knows they’re coming to our orchestra.”
Warren-Green said he’s pleased to highlight this season’s principals, like harpist Andrea Mumm, principal cellist Alan Black and violinist Calin Lupanu, concertmaster.
Warren-Green will conduct eight of the 10 Classics concerts and the two guest conductors will be Scott Allen Jarrett and Robert Moody.
Jarrett, the Charlotte Symphony director of choruses and assistant conductor, will conduct Bach’s “St. Matthew Passion,” featuring the Oratorio Singers of Charlotte and the Charlotte Children’s Choir.
Warren-Green said the chorus is featured in a number of concerts season, including Holst’s “The Planets” during the opening concert and Verdi’s “Requiem,” the final concert.
Warren-Green said he’s wanted to host Moody – who conducts the Winston-Salem orchestra and has been a resident of Lake Norman – for years. “His reputation as a conductor is really very high. … I’ve been trying to introduce him to our audience since I arrived.”
Moody will conduct the Feb. 28 and March 1, 2014 concerts, which include Locklair’s “Phoenix for Orchestra,” Barber’s “Knoxville: Summer of 1915” and Berlioz’s “Symphonie Fantastique.”
Warren-Green called the season’s repertoire “slightly diverse and fabulously enjoyable,” noting the symphony will be challenged by the classics, like the selections from Mozart, Beethoven and Bach. “The further you go back in time, the more difficult it gets.”