Symphony Extends Grant Llewellyn's Contract
Grant Llewellyn and the North Carolina Symphony have signed an agreement which will extend Llewellyn's contract through 2012, the orchestra has announced.
"This is an enormous vote of confidence in our outstanding new music director," says Symphony president and CEO David Chambless Worters. "Grant Llewellyn has provided enormous energy, passion and musicianship; orchestra and audience alike have responded to his leadership. Locking him into a long-term contract now means that we have one of our most important assets committed for the long haul. I look forward to continuing to work with Grant and to allowing his artistic leadership to lift up not only our Symphony organization but the statewide community as well."
Llewellyn became the Symphony's fifth music director on July 1, 2004, signing a four-year contract. His appointment followed a 32-month international search which was considered unusually open, inviting audience comment and seeking input from many different constituencies.
Llewellyn's two appearances with the orchestra during the search process, the first in March 2002 and the second in November 2003, were so overwhelmingly successful that the search ended even before all the finalists had been seen. Said one typically enthusiastic concertgoer: "[Llewellyn] showed wonderful rapport with both the audience and the orchestra. His is obviously a conductor of great finesse and subtlety and it is a joy to watch him and listen to an ensemble under his baton."
Critics agree, citing his "utter conviction and poise," his "energy and sparkle" and his "international glamour." Last fall, at the opening concert of Llewellyn's first full season, Roy Dicks of the Raleigh News and Observer said "although the orchestra had covered itself with glory under Llewellyn's guidance...with dedication and insight [he] is proving a wise tutor, whom audiences should trust for entertainment and enlightenment."
North Carolina Symphony double bass player Bruce Ridge, who was chairman of the music director search committee says, "There is a deep rapport between Maestro Llewellyn and the musicians of the North Carolina Symphony. We are forming a unique partnership reminiscent of some of the great historical pairings of music directors and their orchestras. The musicians are very pleased that Maestro Llewellyn has signed a contract extension."
Llewellyn himself, on the eve of the Symphony's 75th anniversary season, is ready for the challenge of creating America's next great orchestra.
"The groundwork has already been done, over 75 marvelous years," he says, "and so we have the luxury of building for the future on the firm foundation of the past. I am extremely excited to be part of the team driving the North Carolina Symphony forward in this enterprise which has brought and will bring so much pleasure to so many people."
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