This preview has been provided by the North Carolina Symphony.

Mei-Ann Chen will lead the North Carolina Symphony in a 2012-2013 classical season orchestra highlight of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4 in B-flat Major, Op. 60, plus Gioacchino Rossini’s Overture to The Italian Girl in Algiers, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 9 in E-flat Major, K.271, “Jeunehomme,” with pianist Lise de la Salle.

The performances take place on Thursday, Jan. 24, at 8 p.m., in Lee Auditorium in Southern Pines, and on Friday, Jan 25, and Saturday, Jan. 26, at 8 p.m., in downtown Raleigh’s Meymandi Concert Hall at the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts.

Scholar Dr. Richard E. Rodda relates that Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4 was commissioned by Hungarian Count Franz von Oppersdorf, “a moneyed aristocrat who placed such importance on his household musical establishment that he would not hire a servant unable to play an instrument.”  Beethoven finished the new B-flat Symphony in October, 1806.

One of the most dynamic young conductors in America, Mei-Ann Chen has recently completed her first season as Music Director of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. During this time, the impact of her energy, enthusiasm and high level of music-making has already been felt by the orchestra, audiences and entire community. In July of 2011, she also assumed the music directorship of the Chicago Sinfonietta, only the second person in the orchestra’s history to hold this position.

French pianist Lise de la Salle has emerged as one of the most acclaimed artists of her generation, praised for inspired performances of virtuosity and depth. The Washington Post wrote, “For much of the concert, the audience had to remember to breathe…the exhilaration didn’t let up for a second until her hands came off the keyboard.” Ms. de la Salle began playing piano at the age of four and gave her first concert at nine in a live broadcast on Radio-France. 

In addition to stellar performances, North Carolina Symphony concertgoers can enjoy pre-concert talks and “Meet the Artists,” which feature interactive conversations with guest artists and select orchestra members, at many Symphony events. For the Southern Pines performance on Jan. 24, Timothy Haley, of Sandhills Community College, will conduct a pre-concert talk in the Pinecrest High School band room at 7 p.m.  For the Raleigh performances, Catherine Brand will host a “Meet the Artists” session Friday, Jan. 25, at 6:30 p.m. in Swalin Lobby at Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts.  Randolph Foy, of N.C. State University, will give a pre-concert talk on Saturday, Jan. 26, at 7 p.m. in Swalin Lobby.  There will be “Ask A Musician” opportunities in front of the stage at intermission in Southern Pines, and in the lobbies at intermission at the Raleigh performances.

Tickets to the Southern Pines Series performance on Jan. 24, range from $18 to $42.  Tickets to the Raleigh Classical Series performance on Jan. 25-26 range from $18 to $64.  Student tickets are $10 in both locations.

To purchase tickets, visit the North Carolina Symphony website at or call the Symphony Box Office at 919.733.2750 or toll free 877.627.6724.

Meymandi Concert Hall is located in the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E. South St., in Raleigh.  Lee Auditorium is located at 100 Pinecrest School Road, on the campus of Pinecrest High School in Southern Pines.

Partners for the 2012/13 Southern Pines Series include Pinehurst Auto Mall, Quail Haven Village, and St. Joseph of the Pines. 

Partners for the 2012/13 Raleigh Classical Series include Clancy & Theys Construction; Duke Medicine: Smith Anderson Blount Dorsett Mitchell & Jernigan, LLP; The Freelon Group; and Piedmont Investment Advisors, LLC.

Statewide partnership and support is provided by Progress Energy.

About the North Carolina Symphony

Founded in 1932 and subsequently made an entity of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, the North Carolina Symphony employs 65 professional musicians under the artistic leadership of Music Director and Conductor Grant Llewellyn and Resident Conductor William Henry Curry. Every year, this orchestra performs over 175 concerts in more than 50 North Carolina counties, with some 60 of those concerts offered in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill metropolitan area.

The Symphony boasts two spectacular home venues: Meymandi Concert Hall at the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Raleigh and Booth Amphitheatre in Cary, N.C. The Symphony also travels 12,000 miles each year to present concert series in Fayetteville, New Bern, Southern Pines and Wilmington; individual concerts in communities across the state; and one of the most extensive education programs of any U.S. orchestra.