Charlotte Symphony Orchestra

Charlotte Symphony pioneer Jacques Brourman has my thanks

Charlotte Observer/By Lawrence Toppman

We pay homage to guys who build and design skyscrapers, but we don’t always remember guys who cleared the land and made a place for the shining city of the future.

But today I will. Today I pay homage to a man I never met, a conductor I never heard and a pioneer without whom the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra might not be what it is today.

I learned recently about Jacques Brourman’s death at 84 this winter and thought, “Ah, yes, the symphony’s music director long ago.” (The years were 1967-76.) But as I read more about him in our archives, I realized what a pioneer he was.

Read more here

[Video] Farewell to Henry Janiec, Musical Pioneer

Henry Janiec, former Charlotte Symphony Orchestra Maestro and Conductor Emeritus of Brevard Music Center, died Saturday, October 17, 2015 at the age of 85.

The distinguished conductor led the CSO from 1958 to 1963, was a principle conductor for the Brevard Music Center for 32 years, and served as music director for the Charlotte Opera (now Opera Carolina) in its early days.

WDAV had the privilege of interviewing the maestro in 2009 during its residency at the Brevard Music Center. WDAV’s Frank Dominguez chatted with Janiec about his love for Strauss’ Don Juan and passion for the music.

Read more about Janiec’s life and accomplishments here: Farewell to Henry Janiec, a musical pioneer


7 Ways to Make Your CSO Summer Pops Experience Even More Enjoyable

It just wouldn’t be summer in Charlotte without CSO Summer Pops. But before you go, keep these tips in mind.

1. The basics: Have a question about tickets, parking, seating, the music program, or anything else Summer Pops related, there’s a good chance the CSO has covered it here.

2. Connect: Follow the symphony orchestra on Facebook and Twitter.  The good people behind the CSO’s social media are constantly providing weather updates and sharing behind-the-scenes pics. The CSO tweets @CLTsymphony.

3. Stake your claim.  Gates to the park open at 5pm.  The best plots go fast, so get there early, put down your blanket, and then head out for a nice air-conditioned dinner in the SouthPark area. The CSO will issue you a wristband for re-entry when you pick up your tickets, so there’s no need to brave the elements – baking sun or pouring rain – before the music begins.

Charlotte Symphony Pops SouthPark4. Bike in:  The happiest people I’ve seen attending Summer Pops are those who depart on a human-powered vehicle. Casually weave through the inevitable post-concert crush of traffic. Plus, there’s no better way to work off the calories from the half-dozen cupcakes you bought from the “mobile cupcakerey” food truck.

5. Prelude to an evening on the lawn.  Most Summer Pops concerts have an opening act that goes on at 7pm.  The “prelude” acts are wide-ranging in style (beach, folk, classical, etc.) and provide the perfect bridge between your wine-induced nap on the picnic blanket and the main act.

6. Bring the wine and cheese, but leave the main course at home. Remember in 3rd grade when you learned that sharks can smell a drop of blood in the water from miles away? Well, food truck operators are like sharks equipped with a V-8 engine. That’s good news for Summer Pops-goers who now have a number of mobile dining options, including a decked-out Whole Foods truck. My personal favorite, Maki Taco’s lo-carb hibachi basket. Now if only there was a beer truck. 😉

7. Wine is great, but don’t forget to bring water and sunscreen.  Seriously, you’ll regret it if you do.


Your turn: What are your favorite tips for attending the Charlotte Symphony Pops?

CSO Performs Handel’s Messiah

Oratorios singers practice Handel's MessiahThe holiday season is a time for traditions: baking sugar cookies using mom’s special recipe, buying that one new ornament to add to your collection, having a gingerbread house decorating contest with the entire family. For many classical music lovers, attending a performance of Handel’s Messiah is one of those traditions.  Lucky for them, on December 12th at 7:30pm, the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, along with the Oratorio Singers of Charlotte, is presenting its annual performance of this holiday masterpiece.

“Messiah is one of the most special compositions ever conceived,” says Scott Allen Jarrett, the Director of Choruses and Assistant Director for the CSO. Jarrett is in awe of Handel’s work, which makes the job of giving new life to the piece each year easy for him. When asked how he accomplishes this task, he says it’s a matter of finding new meaning: “We have to engage this text in a different way. ‘And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed.’ Well, what is the glory? Who is the glory?” He asks his singers to turn off their “autopilot” and think about what the words they are voicing really mean. The decades’ worth of Messiah performance dates scribbled on the chorus folders are testament to the Jarrett’s ability (and to those before him) to make this familiar music fresh. The performers keep coming back.

In Jarrett’s understanding, the yearly performances of Messiah act as a framework for life. “To me, [each performance] is a point of the year to measure one’s life. Every year, we can measure our lives, our gains, our losses, in the image of the story. The story does not change, but we do.” Conducting the Messiah becomes a very personal experience for this retrospective musician.

Jarrett has one piece of advice to impart on those of you attending the concert on Wednesday night: “I would say to a listener, first time or thirtieth time listener, listen with great openness, listen as if you’ve never heard the story before.”

Visit for information on the soloists, songs, and tickets.

Our Own Warren-Green to Conduct at Royal Wedding

Christopher Warren-Green 2.jpgThe Charlotte Symphony’s Music Director, Christopher Warren-Green, has been tapped to conduct the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Today, St. James’s Palace announced that he will lead the London Chamber Orchestra at the ceremony which takes place April 29, 2011. This is great news for Christopher Warren-Green and for Charlotte as well – a great connection (or is that connexion?) between Queen City and Queen.
Warren-Green is in London at the moment, no doubt hammering out some of the details of the Big Day, but he’s scheduled to return to Charlotte soon, and when he does, I hope to get a few minutes in the studio to talk to him about this exciting news. So stay tuned.
A copy of the official press follows.