This preview has been provided by the North Carolina Symphony.

The North Carolina Symphony’s Classical Season opening weekend will feature Music Director Grant Llewellyn and saxophone legend Branford Marsalis in performances in Memorial Hall on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Thursday, Sept. 18, at 7:30 p.m., and again on Friday and Saturday, September 19-20, at 8 p.m., in Meymandi Concert Hall in downtown Raleigh.  The concerts will include Glazunov’s Saxophone Concerto, Schulhoff’s Hot Sonata, Leonard Bernstein’s Divertimento, and Debussy’s La mer.

Llewellyn is excited about opening the season with old friend Branford Marsalis, “To be able to build a relationship with a world-class musician over time is a rare and very special experience. In Branford Marsalis, North Carolina has a treasure in its midst, and I am thrilled to continue our collaborative journey in opening this season.”

Llewellyn, who has served as Music Director since 2004, has led the North Carolina Symphony in innovative performances that include the Blue Skies concerts, two programs that showcased North Carolina traditional music; a staging of the play Amadeus with the PlayMakers Repertory Company; and the affecting memorial concert North Carolina Remembers 9/11, in collaboration with WRAL-TV and UNC-TV. He has conducted the North Carolina Symphony in two critically acclaimed recordings for the Swedish label BIS: American Spectrum with Branford Marsalis and a 2010 release with pianist Yevgeny Sudbin.  His latest recording with the North Carolina Symphony is 2014’s Britten’s Cello Symphony & Sonata with cellist Zuill Bailey on the Telarc label, described by CD Hotlist as “recommended to all classical collections.”

NEA Jazz Master, renowned Grammy Award‐winning saxophonist and Tony Award nominee Branford Marsalis is one of the most revered instrumentalists of his time. Leader of the Branford Marsalis Quartet, one of the finest jazz groups today, and a frequent soloist with classical ensembles, Marsalis has become increasingly sought after as a featured soloist with orchestras around the world.  For the last 10 years, Marsalis has been a resident of Durham, and has quickly become a key figure in North Carolina’s cultural life.  In 2010, he organized a sold-out benefit for the North Carolina Symphony that featured Grant Llewellyn, and performers from North Carolina and around the country. He received the North Carolina Award in 2011 for his contributions to the state. 

In addition to stellar performances, North Carolina Symphony concertgoers can enjoy pre-concert talks, post-concert discussions, and “Meet the Artists,” which feature interactive conversations with guest artists and select orchestra members, at many Symphony events.  For the Chapel Hill performance on Sept. 18, Dr. Letitia Glozer of UNC will host a pre-concert talk in Gerrard Hall at 6:40 p.m.  Before the Friday, Sept. 19, performance in Raleigh, Symphony Associate Conductor David Glover, will give a pre-concert talk at 7 p.m. in the Swalin Lobby of Meymandi Concert Hall.  On Saturday, Sept. 20, Catherine Brand of WUNC 91.5 FM will host a Meet the Artists session in the Swalin Lobby of Meymandi Concert Hall at 6:30 p.m. in the Swalin Lobby.

Tickets to the Chapel Hill Classical Series performance on Sept. 18 range from $18 to $55. Tickets to the Raleigh Classical Series performances on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 19-20, range from $18 to $65.  Student tickets are $10.  Concert tickets at all performances are also available at the door one hour prior to concert start time.

Other 2014-15 season highlights include Leonard Bernstein’s extraordinary music from the West Side Story film score brought to life by Grant Llewellyn and the North Carolina Symphony in the opening concert of the Symphony’s Pops Series on Sept. 26-27, Handel’s Messiah, and “A Pink Martini Christmas,” in December, the beautiful and romantic film Casablanca that also features a stunning musical score on Valentine’s weekend, and for the season finale in May, a collaboration with Playmaker’s Repertory Company on a new, semi-staged production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Subscriptions to any of the Symphony’s 2014/15 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.

Meymandi Concert Hall is located in the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E. South St., in Raleigh.  Memorial Hall is located at 114 East Cameron Ave., on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Partners for the 2014/15 Raleigh Classical Series include Clancy & Theys Construction; Duke Realty; and Smith Anderson.

Partners for the 2014/15 Chapel Hill Series include Carol Woods Retirement Community, and The Businesses of Market Street, Southern Village.

About the North Carolina Symphony

Founded in 1932, the North Carolina Symphony gives more than 200 performances annually to adults and school children in more than 50 North Carolina counties. An entity of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, the orchestra employs 66 professional musicians, under the artistic leadership of Music Director and Conductor Grant Llewellyn, Resident Conductor William Henry Curry, and Associate Conductor David Glover.

Based in downtown Raleigh’s spectacular Meymandi Concert Hall at the Duke 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 and Cary metropolitan area. It holds regular concert series in Fayetteville, New Bern, Southern Pines and Wilmington — as well as individual concerts in many other North Carolina communities throughout the year — and conducts one of the most extensive education programs of any U.S. orchestra.

Sept. 18 Concert/Event Listing
North Carolina Symphony
“Grant Llewellyn and Branford Marsalis”
Grant Llewellyn, conductor
Branford Marsalis, saxophone
Thursday, Sept. 18, 2013, 7:30pm
Memorial Hall, UNC-Chapel Hill

Sept. 19-20 Concert/Event Listings
North Carolina Symphony
“Grant Llewellyn and Branford Marsalis”
Grant Llewellyn, conductor
Branford Marsalis, saxophone
Sept. 19-20, 2014, 8 p.m.
Meymandi Concert Hall, Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, Raleigh

Sept. 18-20 Program
North Carolina Symphony
Grant Llewellyn, conductor
Branford Marsalis, saxophone

Divertimento for Orchestra
Leonard Bernstein   (1918-1990)
      I. Sennets and Tuckets
     II. Waltz
    III. Mazurka
   IV. Samba
    V. Turkey Trot
   VI. Sphinxes
  VII. Blues
 VIII. March: “The BSO Forever”

Jazz Concerto (Hot Sonata) for Alto Saxophone and Chamber Ensemble
Erwin Schulhoff /Arr. Richard Rodney Bennett
    I.  Moderato
   II.  Vivo
  III.  Andante
  IV. Molto vivo
Branford Marsalis, saxophone

Concerto in E-flat Major for Saxophone and String Orchestra, Op. 109
Alexander Glazunov   (1865-1936)
Branford Marsalis, saxophone

La mer
Claude Debussy   (1862-1918)
   I. De l’aube à midi sur la mer (From Dawn to Noon on the Sea)
  II. Jeux des vagues (Play of the Waves)
 III. Dialogue du vent et de la mer (Dialogue of Wind and Sea)