NC Symphony Broadcasts

[[ This page created for the 2013 concert broadcasts. For the 2014 schedule and more, go here ]]

A WUNC Summer tradition continues with the North Carolina Symphony. 

Monday nights during August you'll hear special broadcasts from the North Carolina Symphony on the radio and via our live streams.  The programs air at 1o p.m. 

David Hartman
Credit Patrick Crowley / WUNC

These concerts, presented by veteran broadcaster and former "Good Morning America" host David Hartman,  will be available online here for one week following the broadcasts. 

More details about the broadcasts (and, other WUNC stories about the North Carolina Symphony) follow:

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WUNC Updates
1:18 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Bringing The North Carolina Symphony Home To You

Conductor Grant Llewellyn with the North Carolina Symphony
Credit WUNC / North Carolina Symphony

It's a command performance by the North Carolina Symphony at your house.  Well, sort of.

Beginning Monday evening, June 30, and for the next three nights following, you have the opportunity to enjoy an evening of classical music at home when you tune in for the North Carolina Symphony broadcast concerts series. The hour-long concerts, hosted by David Hartman, begin each evening at 9 p.m.

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The State of Things
11:49 am
Wed June 4, 2014

The Expansion of Video Games

Gamer
Credit creative commons

When many people hear the words “video game,” they think of a stereotypical geeky teenage boy. But that image does not represent the true industry. Women account for nearly half of the gaming population and more than a third of gamers are over the age of 36. Video games have expanded into an art form that produces complex narratives, cultural critiques and symphony soundtracks. 

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The State of Things
1:00 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

The Evolution Of The Music Of Branford Marsalis

Credit Palma Kolansky

Grammy-award winning artist Branford Marsalis is one of the world’s leading jazz artists. 

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The State of Things
12:06 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

The Evolution of the Music of Branford Marsalis

Jazz great Branford Marsalis joins the State of Things to speak about his work.
Credit Palma Kolansky

Grammy-award winning artist Branford Marsalis is one of the world’s leading jazz artists. In a career spanning more than three decades, the saxophonist has collaborated with some of the biggest names in music across an array of genres. 

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NC Symphony Broadcast
7:15 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

"Fireworks" And A Piece That Incited A Riot - Stravinsky & NC Symphony For Aug 26

A 'Rite of Spring' ballet performance
Credit drama_huddersfield / flickr

At its premiere in Paris in 1913 Igor Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring" caused a near-riot. There's debate over whether it was the unconventional ballet score or the avant-garde choreography (or the two combined) that enraged the audience. That first audience witnessed surprisingly modern music and evocative, provocative dance. Conductor Grant Llewellyn explains:

Today, the piece is considered a masterpiece and to mark its 100th anniversary, the North Carolina Symphony presents it with Grant Llewellyn conducting as part of the August 26 broadcast concert here on WUNC. The program airs Monday night at 10 p.m. It was recorded in Meymandi Concert Hall in Raleigh.

"Vibrant" and "virtuosic" are two of the words used by series host David Hartman to introduce the explosive "Fireworks" by Stravinsky that opens this program.  It's a short orchestral piece that prefigures a later work by Stravinksy, "The Firebird."

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NC Symphony Broadcast
6:07 pm
Sun August 18, 2013

A Musical Mystery, "The Enigma Variations" - NC Symphony Broadcast For Aug 19

Sir Edward Elgar
Credit P.D.

"A musical mystery. Sir Edward Elgar's 'Enigma Variations' have confounded music scholars and music fans since its premiere. Elgar tells us that the theme is never actually played during the piece.  So, just what is the theme and where did it come from?"

So begins series host David Hartman's introduction to the broadcast concert of the North Carolina Symphony for Monday August 19. The program airs on WUNC at 10 p.m. and will be available for on-line listening for the week following.

During the course of the broadcast conductor Grant Llewellyn presents some of the theories that try to get to the bottom of the Elgar enigma. The piece itself is a series of fourteen variations.  The missing part is the theme. Generally, when a composer presents a series of variations, either the theme is a well known and obvious tune (like, say, "Yankee Doodle") or the theme is clearly stated at the beginning of the piece. In the "Enigma Variations" that foundation is missing.

For Elgar's own first performance of the piece the composer wrote: "The Enigma I will not explain - its 'dark saying' must be left unguessed, and I warn you that the connection between the Variations and the Theme is often of the slightest texture; further, through and over the whole set another and larger theme 'goes', but is not played." Additionally, Elgar dedicated the piece to "my friends pictured within" as each variation is presented as an affectionate portrayal of someone Elgar knew.

See if you can solve the heretofore unsolved musical mystery as you join Grant Llewellyn in search of the answer to Elgar's "Enigma Variations."

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NC Symphony Broadcast
7:37 pm
Sun August 11, 2013

Abraham Lincoln And "Hair-Raising" Music - NC Symphony Broadcast For Aug 12

Conductor William Henry Curry
Credit NC Symphony

The second in the series of August broadcast concerts by the North Carolina Symphony features two works by American composers, Aaron Copland and Charles Ives. The program airs at 10 p.m. on Monday, August 12.

Copland's Lincoln Portrait

During the Second World War Aaron Copland was asked to write a patriotic work. After first considering Walt Whitman, Copland then settled upon Abraham Lincoln for the work's subject.  Copland's "Lincoln Portrait" is for speaker and orchestra, combining a biographic sketch with texts from letters and speeches.  It also features melodic nods to popular tunes of the day, such as "Camptown Races" and other popular folk songs. The work was completed and first performed in 1942.

The North Carolina Symphony performed the work in honor of the 150th anniversary of Lincoln' Emancipation Proclamation of 1 January 1863.  David Hartman, who is also the host of the North Carolina Symphony broadcast series, is the narrator. The Symphony is lead by its resident conductor, William Henry Curry.

Ives's Second Symphony - A "Hair-Raising" Finish

American composer Charles Ives learned much about music from his father. Charles was born in October 1874 in Danbury, Connecticut. The elder Ives taught his son popular tunes from the age of the Civil War, as well as other music and hymns. In fact, "Camptown Races" and other popular tunes serve as an underpinning of the Symphony No. 2, but are not directly quoted musically as in the "Lincoln Portrait."

"He's a visionary and a Yankee contrarian with a great sense of humor," conductor William Henry Curry tells host David Hartman. These qualities show through in the ending of Ives's Symphony No. 2 in a jarring cluster of notes. This is  meant to replicate the sour notes from a barn dance where amateur  musicians would intentionally play something "off" at the end of the night to signal the end of the dance. "It was a way of saying good night folks, time to go home now," continued Curry.  "Ives caps this symphony with a completely crazy cluster of sounds. It really is hair-raising."

The symphony was premiered in 1951, some fifty years after it was completed, by The New York Philharmonic conducted by Leonard Bernstein. Some commentators referred to the closing discord as a sort of "Bronx cheer."

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NC Symphony Broadcast
12:00 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

"Romantic And Terrifying," Grant Llwellyn Leads The NC Symphony In Sibelius

Music Director Grant Llewellyn
Credit Michael Zirkle

Our first North Carolina Symphony broadcast for the 2013 Summer season presents the Symphony's Music Director Grant Llewellyn conducting Sibelius's Symphony No. 2.

Jean Sibelius began writing his Second Symphony while vacationing in Italy in 1901. It departs sonically from some of his other work composed in his native Finland in that it's sometimes described as more "sunny" and "uplifting" than his other compositions from around the same time. Also, some listeners hear a nationalistic current that imagines a Finland free of Russian domination.

"Some people would say that the Second Symphony is perhaps uncharacteristic  of his symphonic output in that in that it is as Romantic as it is, " said Llewellyn while talking with host David Hartman. However, he doesn't see the work as sunny reaction to a holiday in Italy as some might propose. "I think it's as terrifying in places as anything he ever wrote. The second movement is thorny and sort of monolithic. It's sort of cataclysmic stuff. This is the Sibelius of the endless forest and lakes."

"I have an opportunity to see this landscape (of Sibelius) because I conduct in Finland three or four times every year and I'm beginning to get a real sense of the epic proportions of that country. And, I see it immediately in the Second Symphony," continued Llewellyn.

This first broadcast also features a recording of Sibelius’s Humoresque No. 1 in D minor for Violin and Orchestra, played by Anne-Sophie Mutter and the Staatskapelle Dresden, with Andre Previn conducting.

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The State of Things
9:28 am
Thu June 27, 2013

NC Symphony Takes On Science Fiction

An image of the Sombrero galaxy, created from composite photos of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.
Credit NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team.

The full sound of symphony orchestras is a familiar accompaniment to science fiction spectacles like Star Trek and Star Wars. The North Carolina Symphony is celebrating the music of sci-fi in its Sci-Fi Spectacular tonight and tomorrow.  The concert is hosted by George Takei, “Mr. Sulu” of Star Trek fame.

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Arts & Culture
5:45 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

Symphony Rings In December With Handel's Messiah

NC Symphony Music Director Grant Llewellyn
Credit NC Symphony

Handel's Messiah -- it's a staple this time of year for community sing-alongs and professional orchestras alike. The North Carolina Symphony is performing the work this weekend at Meymandi Concert Hall in Raleigh. I spoke with conductor Grant Llewellyn earlier this week. He says he understands why the work has endured to become a holiday classic.

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