The Raleigh Symphony Orchestra presents Concerto No. 2

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Concerto No. 2 with Edward Burke

Guitarist, Edward Burke hails from the Raleigh area.  Currently based in San Francisco, CA , he holds a Masters in Music from the internationally acclaimed San Francisco Conservatory and a Bachelors of Music from the North Carolina School of the Arts.   He will be featured as guest soloist the with the Raleigh Symphony Orchestra on Sunday, October 26, 2014 at 3PM with a performance of the rarely performed Concerto No. 2 by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. solo-guitarist


Buy Tickets for The Master and the Heir Apparent

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The Master and the Heir Apparent

Sunday, April 27, 2014, 3:00PM, Jones Auditorium, Meredith College

For ticket information call the RSO box office at (919) 546-9755 or purchase tickets online.

Don’t Forget to Attend our Concert Season Closing After Party!

GEMUTLICHKEIT – Let the Good Times Roll!

Platters and Sliders

  • An assortment of Meatloaf, Short Rib & Black Bean Sliders
  • Mini Smoked Salmon & Potato Cake
  • House Smoked Salmon: with dill, lemon caper, pickled red onion served atop crostini with crème fraiche
  • Tomato & Mozzarella:  crostini fresh mozzarella, red onion, Beefsteak tomato, & Basil drizzled with a balsamic reduction on top of homemade baguettes
  • Curried Chicken Salad Bites: curry chicken salad on a butter lettuce wrap, topped with crème fraîche & cherry tomato
  • Thailand Chicken Nachos: nachos topped with shredded Thai Chicken, cheeses sauce, jalapenos, black beans, diced tomato & cilantro
  • Dessert Chocolate Brownie Bites: with whip cream & raspberry sauce

Cash Bar – ALL BEVERAGE CHARGES BASED ON CONSUMPTION and will be rung in on separate tickets with no service charge applied.Party Drink Specials: $2 St. Patrick’s Day Ale Bottles $5 House wine by the glass

To buy a ticket for both the after party and concert, please click here.


Summer of 1915 was commissioned  by the American Soprano Eleanor Steber in 1947.  The Boston Symphony premiered it in 1948 with Ms. Steber.  The text is from a 1938 short autobiographical prose piece by James Agee.  It is in one movement, a lyric rhapsody.

Barber and Agee were the sane age and both had memories of Knoxville, Tennessee.  Agee grew up in Knoxville ”so successfully disguised myself as a child”. This rhapsody describes an idyllic warm summer evening contemplating the vastness of the stars with crickets, rocking chairs, automobiles and street cars.  1915 was only fifty years since the brutalizing Civil War and Americans were determined to avoid the wars of Europe.  The child’s sense of security is in continual conflict with his sense of existential terror, the evening, and the night.

Samuel Barber (1910 – 1981) grew up in Pennsylvania and met his lifelong partner Gian Carlo Menotti at Curtis. Barber won two Pulitzer prizes, one for his opera Vanessa and the other for his Piano Concerto. He also won the Rome Prize, the Guggenheim Prize and was President of the Music Council for UNESCO.  Barber is best known for his Adagio for Strings, and has composed orchestral, choral, opera and piano music.  No other American composer has enjoyed such early, persistent and long lasting acclaim.  He is the most recorded of American composers.

James Agee 1909-1955 was an American author, journalist, poet, screen writer and critic.  A Death in the Family (1957) won the author a posthumous 1958 Pulitzer Prize. His many screenplays include The African Queen (1951) and The Night of the Hunter (1955).   Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (1941) was the inspiration for Aaron Copeland’s opera The Tender Land.

Overture to the Abduction From Seraglio K 384, 1782

This opera put the 26 year old Mozart’s name on the European cultural map.  Mozart “moved on up” to Vienna for this commission.  The Abduction From the Seraglio was a piece of entertainment which would appeal to the aristocracy and to the public. It was a huge success and sold out in Prague, Warsaw, London and Paris.

The opera is in three acts with German libretto and spoken dialogue.  It is light-hearted and colorfully comic, without deep character exploration. The plot concerns the charming antics of the hero Belmonte to rescue his beloved Konstanze from the Seraglio, or harem of the Pasha Selim. There were many other operas at the time with the exotic Turkish theme, due to the difficult political situation between Germany and Turkey.

Mozart’s music was based on Turkish Janessary band music and included the new sounds of bass drum, cymbals, triangle and piccolo. Emperor Joseph II, who commissioned the opera complained to Mozart “There are too many notes.” Mozart replied “there are just the amount needed, no more.”

The Abduction is more than trendy and Turkish.  Mozart wanted to convey the very heartbeat of emotions in his characters. The Pascha is not the stereotypical Moorish heathen, but a leader of great culture and intelligence, who repays evil with forgiveness.

Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart 1756-1791
Mozart was born in Salzburg, Austria. His father Leopold was a violinist and composer.  Mozart excelled in composing beyond his father by the age of 5, and composed in his short lifetime over 600 classical period works, enduringly popular.

Wolfgang and his sister Nannerl performed all over Europe as child prodigies on piano and violin, and writing down from memory many pieces he heard at the time.  He and his wife Constanza had six children. Only two survived, Franz Xaver and Karl Thomas, musicians and performers. Neither married or had children. Mozart had wonderful friends, enjoyed billiards, dancing, his pets, and naughty jokes.

He fascinates both the audience and musicians with musical clarity, balance, transparency and sheer inspirational beauty.

Symphony Number 3 in Eb, Opus 97, 1850

This is the last symphony of Schumann’s four symphonies to be composed, although not the last to be published.  The Third Symphony is an ingenuous experiment in form—a symphony in a single breath, played without a break.  Schumann eventually named it “Symphonic Fantasy.”  He achieved symphonic cohesion through cross referencing of themes across movements.  He attained the elusive union of music and poetry which Romantics defined as the ultimate goal of art.

The Third Symphony, “the Rhennish”, premiered in Dusseldorf conducted by Schumann.  It received mixed reviews, from praise to bewilderment, but the audience loved it and applauded between every movement.  It is now his most performed symphony.  Schumann was inspired to write this symphony on a trip up to the Rhineland with his wife Clara.  He incorporated elements of his journey and portrayed other influences from his life in the music; a quintessential Romantic informed by dreams and fantasy, always striving for the ideal.  Musicologists regard the Rhennish as a landmark in the history of the symphony.

Schumann said, “I write to become immortal, or because I have looked into a pair of beautiful eyes.”

Robert  Alexander Schumann  1810-1856
Robert Schumann was a German Romantic composer and influential music critic.  He left the study of law and intended to pursue a career as a virtuoso pianist.  A hand injury ended his dream, and he focused his energies on composing, mostly piano compositions until 1840.  He also wrote an opera, a choral work, many Leider, and enduring chamber music such as the Three Romances for Oboe and Piano and the Conzertstuck for four Horns, and a cello concerto.

Schumann married Clara Wieck (1819 – 1896), a very successful composer and famous virtuoso concert pianist.  She was a remarkable business partner, inspiration, critic and confidant, and had time to bear eight children between concert tours.  She premiered his piano pieces and helped Schumann to revive interest in Mozart and Beethoven.

Brahms worked closely with Clara to popularize Schumann compositions during her long widowhood.

Concert Sponsors

Habitat for Humanity

bluegreen_horiz_137KB_HabitatWakeLOGOcroppedHabitat for Humanity of Wake County builds safe, affordable houses for qualified homebuyers regardless of race, religion or background. Each Habitat home is built in partnership with homeowner families, sponsors, and volunteers. Volunteers are the cornerstone of our mission and a critical element to our success. Our vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Affordable homeownership makes new opportunities available to hardworking families and their children, including financial stability, a sense of security and belonging, space to grow, and good neighbors. Together we build homes, communities, and hope.

LDC centered logo 166-2597

The Lucy Daniels Center

The mission of The Lucy Daniels Center is to help children live emotionally healthy lives through in-depth evaluation and treatment, family involvement, and education.

The Special Olympics

SO_Afghanistan_Mark__Web_1c-Grey [Converted]The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

For ticket information call the RSO box office at (919) 546-9755 or purchase tickets online.


Buy Tickets for Rising Stars!

Categories: Current Event



Rising Stars

Sunday, February 23, 2014, 3:00PM, Jones Auditorium, Meredith College

Let’s Celebrate our Rising Stars!
Showcasing winners of RSO’s annual statewide concerto competition. Come see tomorrow’s stars today! This concert features a fun and beautiful arrangement of classical ensembles sure to please everyone.


We can’t wait to perform with our two Concerto Competition winners. This year we had a number of worthy applicants, but two stood above the rest. Daniel Liauw of Durham, NC currently attends the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Daniel will accompany the Symphony on Piano. Mary Catherine Cox of Southern Pines, NC currently attends East Carolina University. Mary will accompany the Symphony on Violin. Join us in welcoming these two young musicians into our community orchestra!

The Performance

Piano Concerto No. 1 – Sergei Rachmaninoff, 1891 sponsored by Wounded Warriors.woundedwarriors


Sergei Rachmaninoff debuted his Piano Concerto No. 1 in Moscow as the piano soloist. He was very inspired by the Grieg Piano Concerto during his developmental student years. This concerto is full of the eighteen year old’s youthful vivacity. The Russian Romantic style has character melodies, expressiveness, and rich orchestral colors. Enduringly popular with audiences worldwide, movies such as Clint Eastwood’s 2010 film Hereafter feature his unforgettable music.

Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873 – 1943) was born in Russia and immigrated to the US after the Russian revolution in 1917, his livelihood and estate lost. He became an American citizen in 1942 and is interred in New York. Rachmaninoff was always homesick for Russia and had a summer home in Switzerland to remind him of his homeland mountains. He was initially influenced by Tchaikowsky and remained in the Russian Romantic style which was carefully learned and crafted from his student years. Rachmaninoff toured widely and was wealthy enough in 1923 to fund a fellow Russian’s failing aircraft factory, thus becoming the first Vice President of Sikorsky Company. Rachmaninoff was known for his love of fast cars, his 6’6” height and his very large hands which gave him a pianist’s span of a 13th. He was a passionate man who said “Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music.”

Symphony No. 7 in C Major, Opus 105 – Jean Sibelius, l924 sponsored by the Boys & Girls Club.wake-bgc-logo

Adagio, Un Pochett, Adagio, Allegro, Vivace, Presto, Largamente, Tempo I

Symphony No. 7 is the final published symphony by the Finnish composer Sibelius. In one movement rather than the standard four, it is completely masterful and original in form. Sibelius used the key of C to unify the music and the constantly changing tempi to move the music along and to achieve variety. This concept of a continous single movement symphony was reached after much experimentalism, and is often described as organic. It is in a strictly tonal idiom and uses Finnish folk tunes. Eugene Ormandy often programmed Sibelius to introduce him to the American audience. Sibelius has fallen in and out and in fashion, the “anti modern modernist”. He describes his music as the “joy of life and vitality” and the very memory of the Scandinavian landscape.

Conductor comments: The Sibelius Symphony No. 7 is a model of sonata form efficiency. It is half the length of a standard symphony yet showcases wonderful solos for all the orchestral instruments. Especially listen for the trombone solo renowned at every trombone audition. This Sibelius symphony has not been ever been heard anywhere else in the Triangle. The Raleigh Symphony Orchestra brings to its audience a new experience in symphony programming.

Jean Sibelius (1865 – 1957) was a late Romantic period Finnish composer and accomplished violinist. He is performed frequently and is best known for Finlandia, Valse Triste, the Violin Concerto in D, and the Swan of Tuonela. Sibelius was influenced by Wagner and Tchaikowsky, and became the Finnish national identity in music. The composer’s birthday, December 8, is also celebrated as the National Day of Finnish music and the Finnish 100 mark bill has Sibelius’ portrait. In 1914 he received an honorary degree from Yale University and was Composer of the Year at the Norfolk Music Festival in Connecticut,. The Finnish Senate voted Sibelius a lifetime pension in 1899 in recognition of his genius and of his importance to the nation’s gaining independence. Often criticized for being too simple or weird, Sibelius said “Pay no attention to what the critics say. No statue has ever been put up to a critic.”

Violin Concerto in D Major, Opus 35 – Pyotr Tchaikowsky, 1878 sponsored by Helping Paws.helping-paws

Allegro Moderato

The Violin concerto in D was written in Switzerland on Lake Geneva. Tchaikowsky was creating musical beauty and emotions rather than the established traditions of elevated abstract thought. The Violin Concerto was initially rejected by the celebrated violin soloists of the day for being “odorously Russian” and in need of editing because some of the passages were not suited to the character of the violin. It is now the best known violin concerto and considered to be the most technically difficult work for the violin. The Violin Concerto does not follow sonata form, but relies on blocks of tonalities, sensual opulence and thematic groups. It contains Russian folk melodies, Russian values, and engages the listener to the truly lived and felt experience.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikowsky (1840 -1893) was a Russian Romantic composer whose works include symphonies, operas, ballets, chamber music and a choral setting of the Russian Orthodox Divine Liturgy. Tchaikowsky reaches beyond Russian traditions wit his music, and thought seriously about Russia’s place in European musical culture and performance, and also how to discover and express his Russianness in a way which was true to himself.

Tchaikowsky was the first Russian composer to be known worldwide. Twenty years after his death, in 1913 Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite Of Spring exploded onto the musical scene, signaling Russia’s arrival into twentieth century music. Between these two very different worlds, Tchaikowsky’s music became the sole bridge.

For ticket information call the RSO box office at (919) 546-9755 or purchase tickets online.


Buy Tickets for Rockin Around the Christmas Tree!

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Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree

December 7, 2013, 8:00PM, Jones Auditorium, Meredith College

Tis the Season for Family, Music and a Rockin Good Time!
A unique collaboration with a popular Raleigh rock band including a piece with vocalist Amanda Kessell. Selections to include creative new arrangements of classic holiday tunes for The Band Scarlet and your Raleigh Symphony Orchestra!

Don’t Forget to Attend our Christmas Concert After Party!

To buy a ticket for both the after party and concert, please click here.
Capriccio Italien, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, 1880
Andante un poco rubato, Pochissimo piu mosso, Allegro moderato

White Christmas: Irving Berlin, 1940
White Christmas is the best selling single record of all time, fifty million copies worldwide.  It won the Academy Awards best song of 1942 and RIAA ranks it #2 in “Songs of the Century” behind “Over The Rainbow”.  It is the most recorded Christmas song and has 500 versions in several languages.

The First Noel
The First Noel is a traditional English carol from the thirteenth century.  This combination of tune and lyrics was published in 1823 in “Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern”.  Featuring Soprano, Amanda Kessell.

Christmas (Baby Please Come Home):  Greenwich, Barry and Spector, 1963
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) is first the Rolling Stones’ list of the Greatest Rock and Roll Christmas songs, and covered by a long list of artists.

It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year:  Pola and Wyle, 1963
It’s The Most wonderful Time of the Year was written for the Andy Williams TV show.  It has been #4 by Billboard as the “Top Ten Holiday Songs” since 2001, and often used in advertising and parodies.

Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree:  Johnny Marks, 1958
Rockin’Around The Christmas Tree  was first recorded by Brenda Lee at thirteen years of age with Boots Randolph on sax.  Nielson places it 4th on their list of all-time best selling Christmas/Holiday singles.

All I Want for Christmas is You:  Carey and Afanasieff, 1993
All I Want for Christmas is You was originally performed by Maria Carey.  The New Yorker calls it “one of the few worthy modern additions to the holiday canon”.  It is Carey’s biggest international hit.

Santa Baby:  Javits and Springer, 1953
Santa Baby was originally performed by Eartha Kitt, and has been covered by everyone, including Mae West and Pink Martini.

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas:  Martin and Blane, 1944
Featuring the Band Scarlet. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas was introduced by Judy Garland in “Meet Me In St. Louis”, and covered famously by Frank Sinatra.  ASCAP ranked it the third most performed Christmas song in 2007.

Guest Musicians and Programming Notes

Orchestra Arrangements by Harrison Fisher, Emily McLawhorn and Jim Waddelow

Capriccio Italien – Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840 – 1893)
Tchaikovsky was born to a middle class family in Russia.  He started composing at age four and studied composition with Anton Rubenstein at St. Petersburg Conservatory.  Johann Strauss the Younger first performed Tchaikovsky’s works in 1866 and he quickly became a world music figure,  He was the first Russian composer whose music made a lasting impression internationally.  Tchaikovsky conducted at the grand opening of Carnegie Hall in 1891 and received an honorary doctorate degree from Cambridge University, England.  Often criticized by his colleagues for not being “Russian enough” in his harmonies, Tchaikovsky’s audiences have always loved his expressive melodies.

The Capriccio Italien is a fantasy for orchestra inspired by a trip to Rome during Carnival.  It contains Italian folk songs which Tchaikovsky heard on the streets.  The opening fanfare is a signal used at the cavalry barracks.  Tchaikovsky was very pleased with this composition and found it “delightful”.

Amanda Kessell
Amanda Kessell lives in Raleigh and is the lead singer for The Band Scarlet.  She met Dr. Waddelow at Meredith College in the opera “Trial By Jury”.  Ms Kessell is the full time National Anthem singer for the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Band Scarlet
Scarlet is a four piece regional dance band formed in 2010 comprised of Paul Zizzo on lead guitar and vocals, Jeramy Bell on bass and vocals, Tony Williams on drums, and Amanda Kessell, vocals.  Scarlet has an energetic stage show featuring Top 40 music from the 80s, 90s and today.  Their website lists the band’s appearances in Raleigh and other North Carolina venues.  Scarlet is also available for private and corporate events, where they keep the dance floor packed and everyone has a good time.

For ticket information call the RSO box office at (919) 546-9755 or purchase tickets online.


Buy Tickets for Treasured Classics in October!

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Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall


Treasured Classics

October 20, 2013, 3:00PM, Jones Auditorium, Meredith College

Your ears are in for a aural feast!
The 2013/14 RSO Concert Season kicks off with a stunning lineup of musical ideas and adventures. From bold and cherished Beethoven to the soft lyricism of Samuel Barber to the world premiere of a new, bracing work by North Carolina’s own Bill Robinson. This concert’s got it all. Under Jim Waddelow’s probing direction, the RSO dives into its new season with a wondrous collection of the treasured, the revered, the sweet and sentimental, the bold new path. Come and enjoy, journey, listen, experience!

Overture to Fidelio – sponsored by Wounded Warriors, Beethoven’s heroic themes come to vibrant life!woundedwarriors

Beethoven Piano Concerto No 1 in C Major – A treasured masterwork sponsored by the Boys & Girls Club and performed by master pianist Karen Allred.wake-bgc-logo

Samuel Barber – Knoxville: Summer of 1915 – sponsored by Saving Grace and examines the lyricism of a Summer’s past with Pulitzer-prize winning James Agee’s lovely, sentimental lyrics and Barber’s taut musical setting . Sung by Raleigh’s own soprano Risa Poniros.

Bill Robinson Violations, 2012 – a vibrant new work from the physicist/composer that’ll bring your ears to new places. A world premiere you won’t want to miss.

For ticket information call the RSO box office at (919) 546-9755 or purchase tickets online.