This preview has been provided by the North Carolina Symphony.

RALEIGH, N.C. — Music Director Grant Llewellyn and the North Carolina Symphony salutes the end of summer and kicks off the orchestra’s 80th Anniversary Season with “Pops in the City,” a free outdoor concert in the heart of downtown Raleigh. The performance, held in Raleigh Amphitheater on Sunday, Sept. 9 at 7:30 p.m., honors the orchestra’s 80 years of service to the people of North Carolina with an energetic concert program inspired by Symphony milestones.

The evening recognizes the orchestra’s tradition of performing American works, including Percy Grainger’s Spoon River, a favorite in the Symphony’s earliest days. Also featured in the performance is a movement from Terry Mizesko’s Sketches from Pinehurst, a major commission and world premiere by the Symphony in 2005 that honored the U.S. Open held at the famous North Carolina golf resort. Mizesko, a native of Morehead City, is also the orchestra’s bass trombonist.

Raleigh concertgoers will delight in Johann Strauss’s irresistible Accelerations Waltz, a work often featured on the Symphony’s Education Concerts. Those free performances, the cornerstone of one of the most extensive education programs of any U.S. orchestra, have been an unforgettable introduction to live classical music for countless North Carolina schoolchildren over the past 80 years.

Also included is music by American composers Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland and Scott Joplin, as well as the Largo and Molto vivace movements from Antonín Dvořák’s “New World” Symphony. The Symphony’s performance of the immensely popular “New World” Symphony in February 2012 was hailed as an “unforgettable” presentation by “THE cultural treasure of our state,” in Classical Voice North Carolina.

“The Largo was taken very slowly, as slowly as possible, perhaps, and the result was absolutely sublime – a vast and moving expanse, a deep spiritual journey.”

The concert leads the orchestra into its 2012/13 indoor concert season, opening in Raleigh’s Meymandi Concert Hall with a powerhouse program headlined by pianist Gabriela Montero performing Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on the Theme of Paganini, Friday, Sept. 14. Other season highlights include standout performances of Shostakovich’s “Leningrad” Symphony, Handel’s Messiah, Mahler’s The Song of the Earth, a unique take on The Four Seasons and a centennial celebration of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring.

In February, to mark 150 years since the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, the orchestra presents “Freedom” in Raleigh and Fayetteville. The innovative multimedia concert features James Westwater’s stunning photochoreography performance piece “The Eternal Struggle,” including large-format Civil War and Civil Rights photographs set to the music of Aaron Copland.

The Symphony’s 2012/13 season also includes visits by world-renowned guest artists including Kenny G, Pink Martini, Ellis Hall, Peter Serkin, Lara St. John, Lisa de la Salle, Ingrid Fliter, Zuill Bailey and many more.

Subscriptions to any of the Symphony’s 2012/13 concert series in Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Fayetteville, New Bern, Southern Pines and Wilmington are currently available online at or by calling the North Carolina Symphony Box Office at 919.733.2750 or toll free 877.627.6724.

Individual concert tickets for all 2012/13 Symphony performances go on sale through the Symphony Box Office on Monday, Aug. 13 at 10:00 a.m.

Raleigh Amphitheater is located downtown across the street from the Raleigh Convention Center, at the corner of Lenoir and McDowell Streets. Meymandi Concert Hall is located in the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E. South St., in Raleigh.

About the North Carolina Symphony

Founded in 1932, the North Carolina Symphony performs over 175 concerts in more than 50 North Carolina counties every year. The orchestra is an entity of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources and employs 67 professional musicians, under the artistic leadership of Music Director and Conductor Grant Llewellyn and Resident Conductor William Henry Curry.

Based in downtown Raleigh’s Meymandi Concert Hall at the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts and an outdoor summer venue at Booth Amphitheatre in Cary, N.C., the Symphony performs about 60 concerts annually in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill metropolitan area. It also presents concert series in Fayetteville, New Bern, Southern Pines and Wilmington; individual concerts in North Carolina communities across the state; and one of the most extensive education programs of any U.S. orchestra. The Symphony travels some 12,000 miles per year to perform free Education Concerts for the state’s fourth graders and offers ensembles, competitions, awards and resources to students and educators, among other education initiatives.

Program Listing:

Overture to Candide
Leonard Bernstein

Spoon River
Percy Grainger

Building the Community from Sketches from Pinehurst
Terry Mizesko

Accelerations Waltz, Op. 234
Johann Strauss, Jr./arr. Aubrey Winter

Overture di Ballo
Arthur Sullivan

“The Old North State”
arr. James Bates

The Entertainer
Scott Joplin/arr. John Cacavas

Scherzo from Symphony No. 1 in A-flat Major, “Afro American”
William Grant Still

Molto vivace and Largo from Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95, “From the New World”
Antonín Dvořák

An Outdoor Overture
Aaron Copland