With Community Support, North Carolina Symphony Rises to $8 Million Mark

July 1, 2011, Raleigh, NC: The North Carolina Symphony has met a substantial financial challenge and raised over $8 million in community support for the second consecutive year, the orchestra announced today. By reaching this funding threshold set by the North Carolina General Assembly the Symphony qualifies for the full $1.5 million challenge grant appropriated in the legislature’s 2010-11 budget. 

“Thank you to the more than 3,700 individual, foundation and corporate contributors, and concertgoers, educators, students, arts advocates, and residents from across North Carolina and beyond who, through their generosity, made this happen” states North Carolina Symphony Society Board Chair Catharine Arrowood.  “I especially thank our Boards of Trustees who worked tirelessly on behalf of our philanthropic efforts. ”

In combination with significant expense reductions that shrank the organization’s budget by more than 20% through musician and staff wage concessions and resource cuts, the Symphony has successfully reduced its total debt by nearly $2.6 million compared to a year and a half ago.

“The credit for reaching the milestone goes to our patrons, our Trustees on both our Society Board and Foundation Board and to the staff and musicians of the North Carolina Symphony who, with Interim President and CEO Don K. Davis and Music Director Grant Llewellyn, have delivered masterfully on the plans and mission of the North Carolina Symphony in a fiscally responsible manner,” says Sandi M.A. Macdonald, the Symphony’s President and CEO who began in early June.  “To join the North Carolina Symphony at this moment of remarkable community support makes me even more excited and eager to advance our statewide mission going forward.”

Approximately 200,000 people attended the North Carolina Symphony’s public concerts across the state during this concert season. The orchestra also performed 43 free concerts to elementary and middle school students representing over 25 North Carolina counties.

The achievement comes as the Symphony prepares for its 2011/12 concert season. Musical highlights include the return of pianist Yuja Wang and singer/songwriter Art Garfunkel; celebrations of Leonard Bernstein and Billy Joel; explorations of three vibrant global musical cultures; standout performances of Mozart’s Requiem, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony and more.

Along with concerts held in the Symphony’s home venue, downtown Raleigh’s Meymandi Concert Hall, the orchestra will perform regular series in Chapel Hill, Fayetteville, New Bern, Southern Pines and Wilmington, as well as individual public and educational concerts throughout the state.

About the North Carolina Symphony

Founded in 1932, the North Carolina Symphony performs over 175 concerts annually to adults and school children. The orchestra travels more than 14,000 miles annually throughout the state. Under the artistic leadership of Music Director and Conductor Grant Llewellyn, Resident Conductor William Henry Curry and Associate Conductor Sarah Hicks, the orchestra employs 67 professional musicians.

Based in downtown Raleigh’s spectacular Meymandi Concert Hall at the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts and an outdoor summer venue at Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary, N.C., the Symphony performs about 60 concerts annually in the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and Cary metropolitan area and holds additional concerts in venues across the state throughout the year.

For tickets, program notes, podcasts — or just to get to know your Symphony musicians — visit the North Carolina Symphony Web site at www.ncsymphony.org. Call North Carolina Symphony Audience Services at 919.733.2750 or toll free 877.627.6724.


School of the Arts Announces Training Partnership – 
UNCSA to Become Exclusive Affiliate School of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre

June 30, 2011, New York, NY: American Ballet Theatre (ABT) and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) School of Dance in Winston-Salem have announced plans for a five-year partnership, which will implement ABT’s National Training Curriculum throughout the UNCSA School of Dance preparatory, high school and collegiate divisions and make UNCSA’s campus a second home for ABT’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School by becoming an exclusive affiliate school.  The partnership was announced today by ABT Executive Director Rachel S. Moore and UNCSA Chancellor John Mauceri.

Under the terms of the agreement, all UNCSA ballet faculty will receive training and become certified in the ABT National Training Curriculum from primary through partnering levels.  In addition, ABT artistic staff and faculty will conduct master classes in the Curriculum annually at UNCSA School of Dance.  ABT’s partnership with UNCSA School of Dance is effective immediately and will be enacted at the start of UNCSA’s Fall 2011 term.

“UNCSA has a long and illustrious history of training exceptional dancers,” said Rachel S. Moore.  “We are thrilled to partner with this institution to further our goal of providing dance students with the skills to help them reach the highest level of achievement possible.  Through this partnership, UNCSA becomes the exclusive affiliate school of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre and students can attain a position for inclusion in the ABT Studio Company.”

Speaking of the partnership, Caroline Kennedy, American Ballet Theatre’s Honorary Chairman, said, “I am delighted the JKO School is expanding its reach to partner with UNCSA.  One of our goals in forming the School was to provide the highest quality training for students nationally and the joining of these two prestigious institutions couldn’t be a better fit.”

“American Ballet Theatre is at the pinnacle of the dance world,” said UNCSA Chancellor John Mauceri. “More than a company, it represents a commitment to the very best in dance and live performance.  UNCSA has a long history of collaboration with ABT, and we are very excited to formalize our relationship,” Chancellor Mauceri continued. “This affiliation will have a transformative impact on both of our institutions.”

Tom Ross, President of the 17-campus University of North Carolina system, of which UNCSA is a member, said, “To have UNCSA named the exclusive affiliate school of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre is a tremendous honor that speaks volumes about the caliber of our dance students and faculty.  We applaud this collaboration, and know that our students will be the better for it.”

Moore will act as advisor to UNCSA School of Dance and consult on the selection of the school’s next Dean and other faculty.   Members of ABT’s faculty will provide feedback and evaluation in addition to conducting master classes on campus.  ABT faculty will also participate in annual student juries and examinations.  Plans also call for UNCSA to host an ABT Summer Intensive in 2012.

UNCSA alumni at American Ballet Theatre include Principal Dancer Gillian Murphy, Soloist Maria Riccetto and corps de ballet members Julio Bragado-Young, Blaine Hoven, Joseph Phillips, Kelley Potter and Isaac Stappas, as well as ABT Associate Artistic Director and former Principal Dancer, Victor Barbee. ABT lighting director Brad Fields is an alumnus of UNCSA School of Design and Production.  Current UNCSA ballet faculty members who were former members of ABT include Warren Conover, Fanchon Cordell and Frank Smith.  Current guest faculty Laura Martin, is also a former dancer with ABT, as is her husband Chris Martin, who teaches in UNCSA’s summer program and is a substitute teacher during the academic year.  In past years, UNCSA has hosted numerous residencies and performances by the ABT Studio Company.

American Ballet Theatre was created by Lucia Chase and Oliver Smith in 1940. Ms. Chase’s son, Alex Ewing, served as Chancellor of UNCSA for 10 years from 1990 to 2000, as well as Interim Dean of the School of Dance (2007).  Most recently, ABT Principal Dancer Ethan Stiefel served as Dean of UNCSA’s School of Dance (2008-2011).

American Ballet Theatre’s National Training Curriculum

American Ballet Theatre’s National Training Curriculum consists of a comprehensive set of age-appropriate, outcome-based guidelines, consistent with the best practices in the fields of sports psychology, child/adolescent development, nutrition and training.  The teaching methods of ABT’s National Training Curriculum incorporate elements of the French, Italian and Russian schools of training and are currently in place at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School.  The Curriculum is standard at all of ABT’s pre-professional training programs, including the ABT Studio Company, Summer Intensives, outreach programs and NYU Masters program in ABT Ballet Pedagogy.

Under the artistic direction of ABT Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie, the curriculum was written and designed by Franco De Vita, Principal of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre and Raymond Lukens, Artistic Associate of the ABT/NYU Masters program, in collaboration with a national artistic advisory panel and a medical advisory board.  The Curriculum is implemented through a series of teacher training intensives and a teacher certification program conducted throughout the United States.  Since the program’s inauguration in 2008, 488 teachers have been certified in ABT’s National Training Curriculum.

About the University of North Carolina School of the Arts

The University of North Carolina School of the Arts is the first state-supported, residential school of its kind in the nation. Established as the North Carolina School of the Arts by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, UNCSA opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of Arts and Innovation”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina system in 1972.  More than 1,100 students from high school through graduate school train for careers in the arts in five professional schools: Dance, Design and

Production (including a Visual Arts Program), Drama, Filmmaking, and Music. UNCSA is the state’s only public arts conservatory, dedicated entirely to the professional training of talented students in the performing, visual and moving image arts. For more information, visit www.uncsa.edu.

UNCSA School of Dance

The purpose of the UNCSA School of Dance is to identify and prepare young, talented dancers for professional performing careers.  The School’s rigorous and nurturing conservatory approach develops technically sound, artistically sensitive and stylistically versatile dancer-artists.  Distinguished full-time faculty work closely with students and share their professional expertise through a unique and comprehensive curriculum.  Visiting guest artists, choreographers and company residencies bring fresh perspectives on current trends in the field.  Recognizing that performing is an integral component of dance training, the School of Dance offers regular performance opportunities and is committed to presenting world-class repertory in our concerts.  The School of Dance awards the High School Diploma with concentrations in Ballet and Contemporary Dance and the Bachelor of Fine Arts and the Undergraduate Arts Certificate with concentrations in Ballet and Contemporary Dance.  Both concentrations emphasize the strong fundamentals particular to each, while looking to the other discipline for cross-training, collaboration and inspiration.  The Preparatory Dance Program is a pre-professional dance training program that prepares 3rd through 7th-grade students for entry into the UNCSA School of Dance’s high school.  Classes meet after school and are tuition-free for children who are accepted into the program.

About American Ballet Theatre

Recognized as one of the premier dance companies in the world, American Ballet Theatre brings the highest quality dance and dancers to audiences across the globe.  Celebrating its role as America’s National Ballet Company®ABT tours nationally and internationally, performing for over 600,000 people annually.

Under the direction of Lucia Chase and Oliver Smith from 1940-1980, ABT developed a repertoire that honored the past while encouraging the development of the art form through the creation of new works.  ABT’s mission to create, to present, to preserve, and to extend the great repertoire of classical dancing is evident in its presentation of the classics such as Swan Lake, Giselle and The Sleeping Beauty and seminal works by the great choreographic geniuses of the 20th century: George Balanchine, Antony Tudor, Jerome Robbins, Agnes de Mille and Twyla Tharp, among others.

Today, under the artistic direction of former ABT Principal Dancer Kevin McKenzie, the Company remains steadfast in its vision as “American” and continues to bring the art of dance-theater to the great stages of the world.

American Ballet Theatre’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School

The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis is a pre-professional ballet training program for students ages 11-18.  Under the direction of Franco De Vita, Principal, students thrive in an elite atmosphere dedicated to the success of each student.   Admission is by audition only.


UNC Charlotte College of Arts + Architecture Presents Violins of Hope:
Project is North American debut of 18 violins recovered from the Holocaust

June 29, 2011, Charlotte, NC: The UNC Charlotte College of Arts + Architecture will present Violins of Hope, bringing to North America for the first time 18 violins recovered from the Holocaust and restored by Israeli master violinmaker Amnon Weinstein. The instruments will come to Charlotte in April 2012 for a series of exhibitions and performances. The Violins of Hope project is made possible in part by the generous support of Wells Fargo Private Bank, the exclusive corporate partner….

In 1996, Amnon Weinstein began to collect and carefully restore violins that had extraordinary histories. Each violin is an artifact from one of the greatest tragedies in human history, the Holocaust. Some were played by Jewish prisoners in Nazi concentration camps; others belonged to the Jewish Klezmer musical culture, which was all but destroyed in the Holocaust.

First played publicly in 2008 in Jerusalem and then exhibited and played in 2010 in Sion, Switzerland, the 18 Violins of Hope have never before been exhibited or played together in North America. Their American debut in Charlotte, and the rich programming inspired by their arrival, will garner national attention.

“When Anne R. Belk Distinguished Professor of Music David Russell came to UNC Charlotte two years ago, he brought with him his deep friendship with Amnon Weinstein and his family,” said Ken Lambla, Dean of the College of Arts + Architecture. “The trust and affection between these two men is the seed from which a remarkable project has grown, allowing UNC Charlotte to bring to this hemisphere instruments that offer rare insight into how music offers inspiration to the human spirit and substance to our relationships with others. Each violin appears fragile, almost lonely, and yet each one carries with it the strength of memory.”

In collaboration with numerous partners in the arts and education, the College of Arts + Architecture at UNC Charlotte will present a series of performances, exhibitions, film screenings, and educational programs that explore the history of music and the arts in the face of oppression. The exhibition of the 18 Violins of Hope in the College of Arts + Architecture’s new Center City Gallery from April 14-24, 2012 is the nexus of the entire project, tying together each performance, program, and educational component.

Performances featuring the violins begin on April 12, 2012, in a concert celebrating the people of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, who saved some 5,000 Jews during the Holocaust. The project’s final performance will take place at the Belk Theater of the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center on April 21 with a concert by the Charlotte Symphony, conducted by Music Director Christopher Warren-Green and featuring violinist Shlomo Mintz and other special guests. Related programming begins as early as February 2012, with the exhibitions Courage and Compassion: The Legacy of the Bielski Brothers and Down Home: Jewish Life in North Carolina at Levine Museum of the New South. Additional information about the full series of programs will be released in upcoming weeks.

“The College of Arts + Architecture is delighted to be working with so many cultural and academic partners,” said Dean Lambla. “The Violins of Hope project demonstrates our commitment to engage with a broad array of institutions in Charlotte that educate and collaborate to make this community a better place to live.”

Violins of Hope Cultural Partners

Partners include the Arts & Science Council, Charlotte Latin School, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Charlotte Symphony, Charlotte Teachers Institute, Foundation for the Carolinas, The Foundation for the Jewish Community, Johnson C. Smith University, Levine Museum of the New South, Levine-Sklut Judaic Library and Resource Center, Myers Park Baptist Church, Queens University of Charlotte, Sandra and Leon Levine Jewish Community Center.

About the UNC Charlotte College of Arts + Architecture

Established in 2008, the College of Arts + Architecture represents 1200 students and nearly 100 full-time faculty members in five creative disciplines: art and art history, architecture, dance, music, and theatre. Dedicated to interdisciplinary conversation, collaboration, and innovation, the College of Arts + Architecture demonstrates UNC Charlotte’s commitment to arts and culture on campus and in the broader community. The College presents exhibitions, lectures, and nearly 100 performances each year. For more information, visit www.coaa.uncc.edu….


Press releases provided by the NC Symphony, UNCSA, and UNCC, respectively.


Special Note: Dentists say we need to floss only the teeth we want to keep. So, too, in a down economy, as budget axe-wielders pursue ideological goals in our legislatures, we need to support only the arts groups we want to survive. Don’t wait to see how bad the cuts to federal, state, regional, county, and city grants programs will be! As the fiscal year for most non-profits draws to a close, give now – and generously – to the organizations about which you care. Thank you!