This Preview has been provided by the Raleigh Chamber Music Guild .†

by Lawrence Bivins*

The kaleidoscope of wet leaves covering Chapel Hill in November is a far cry from the autumn landscape Nancy Green grew used to in Tucson. “It’s great to have seasons again,” says Ms. Green, who relocated to the Triangle in 2008 after residing for 13 years in southern Arizona. “I loved the mountains and desert around Tucson, but the move here has been great.”

Big moves are nothing new for the globally respected concert cellist and teacher. Prior to her years on the music faculty at the University of Arizona, Ms. Green lived and worked in Germany, Holland and England. Nor is she typical of the thousands of transplants who have found their way to Chapel Hill. As a child, she routinely traveled to the town to visit her grandmother and grandfather, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paul Green who was a longtime professor of drama at the University of North Carolina. “So Chapel Hill is very familiar,” she says.

While family roots were pivotal to Ms. Green’s move to the Triangle – her parents had recently relocated to a retirement community here – professional factors were also at play. “It seemed to me like this is a very rich place to be for someone setting up a freelance situation,” she says, citing the region’s convenience and vibrant arts scene. Chapel Hill is the ideal location for balancing her interests in recording, private teaching and performing.

Triangle audiences will have an opportunity to see and hear this seasoned, sought-after cellist perform on January 30, 2011, as Ms. Green joins pianist Jeremy Thompson in a Sights & Sounds concert at the North Carolina Museum of Art. In a program entitled “Fantasy Pieces,” Ms. Green and Mr. Thompson will present works by Debussy, Janácek, Prokofiev and Schumann that complement NCMA’s “Fins and Feathers” exhibition. “Each of the pieces has in common a childlike element to them,” she explains. There is playfulness, moodiness, spontaneity, fantasy and wonderment, she says.

Mr. Thompson, a native of New Brunswick, Canada, also is a newcomer to North Carolina, having recently settled in Goldsboro. Just five years removed from his doctoral studies at McGill University, he juggles an aggressive schedule of teaching, touring and recording. Piano Music from Quebec, Mr. Thompson’s CD of works by contemporary Quebecois composers, was released earlier this fall. He has taught master classes, performed with orchestras and offered recitals across North Carolina and beyond.

“It is a special pleasure to play with Jeremy,” says Ms. Green, who was introduced to Mr. Thompson nearly two years ago. In addition to his accomplishments as a soloist, he possesses “the sensitivity and responsiveness of an excellent chamber musician,” she says. His gifts include an “uncanny ability to voice lines within the piano-writing in a way that allows the cello always to be heard in proper proportion — not an easy task for any pianist playing the cello and piano literature,” she adds.

While the Sights & Sounds concert marks the first occasion in which Ms. Green will perform on the stage of the NCMA auditorium, it is not her first-ever concert for the Raleigh Chamber Music Guild. That occasion took place in 1986 with her performance with pianist Frederick Moyer as part of the Guild’s Masters Series. “I remember that tour!” she says. “My son, Rafael, had just been born.” Rafael is now a 24-year-old songwriter, singer and student at Boston’s Berklee College of Music.

Ms. Green continues to collaborate with Mr. Moyer. Since the early 1990s, the two have partnered on numerous recordings. But her most recent work in the studio is the unaccompanied “Jaguar Songs,” which features the music of contemporary Venezuelan composer Paul Desenne. The CD, released earlier this year, contains “multi-tracks” blending four separately recorded cello parts. “It was an interesting experience for me,” Ms. Green says. With the next phase of her career now based in Chapel Hill, she anticipates spending more time recording works of both familiar and less well-known composers. “There’s a goldmine of great cello music to record,” she says.

For more information about the January 30th concert, visit


*Mr. Bivins chairs the Guild’s Marketing Committee. Reach him at


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