N.C. Symphony Features Guest Conductor
The North Carolina Symphony hosts guest conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto for a program featuring some of music's most technically demanding compositions.
The concert, "Orchestra Showcase: Copland and Rachmaninoff," takes place at Pinecrest High School in Southern Pines on Thursday, Feb. 24, at 8 p.m.
A dynamic young conductor, Prieto currently holds four music directorships, two in his native Mexico as well as the Louisiana Philharmonic and Huntsville (Alabama) Symphony.
He has made guest appearances throughout North America, Europe, Russia, Israel and Latin America, notably his recent Teatro Colon debut in Buenos Aires, his Netherlands Radio Orchestra debut in Utrecht and performances with the Philharmonia of the Nations.
As a champion of contemporary music, Prieto has conducted more than 50 world premieres of works by Mexican and American composers. His firm commitment to education has also led him to conduct the Youth Orchestra of the Americas since its inception in 2002, in venues including the United Nations and Kennedy Center and on tour throughout South America and Mexico.
This "Orchestra Showcase" is Prieto's first collaboration with the North Carolina Symphony. It opens with Argentinean composer Alberto Ginastera's fast and intricate "Variaciones Concertantes." A tall order for any professional symphony, the contemporary work features more than 10 variations that each highlight an individual instrument within the orchestra.
"It is remarkable," says Symphony Music Director Grant Llewellyn, "a wholly satisfying and successful work that contains, I'd say, some of the most difficult excerpts for solo orchestral instruments out there. If it appears on an audition list everybody kind of quakes, because it really does push."
The symphony follows with an American favorite in Copland's fun and lighthearted "Billy the Kid Suite," from his opera based on the legendary outlaw's life and exploits. It concludes with one of orchestral music's most popular and challenging compositions, Rachmaninoff's "Symphonic Dances."
"Looking at the program as a composite whole," says Llewellyn, "you'd say, 'Ginastera, Copland, Rachmaninoff, what on earth are you thinking of?' But none of these pieces fit into any one easy category, and so I think they complement each other. They are virtuoso orchestral showpieces but utterly beautiful. I would happily pay to go see this program any day of the week."
A pre-concert discussion on the works featured in this concert will be held with Timothy Haley of Sandhills Community College in the Pinecrest High School Band Room on Thursday, Feb. 24, at 7 p.m.
Regular tickets to the Southern Pines Series performance range from $25 to $40. Lee Auditorium is located in Pinecrest High School, 250 Voit Gilmore Lane, in Southern Pines.
For tickets, program notes, podcasts, the blog and more, visit www.ncsymphony.org.
Call North Carolina Symphony Audience Services at (919) 733-2750 or toll free (877) 627-6724.
More like this story