Music Director Grant Llewellyn and the North Carolina Symphony will perform Aaron Copland’s magnificent Appalachian Spring on Thursday, April 23, at 7:30 p.m., in Memorial Hall on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and again on Friday and Saturday, April 24-25, at 8 p.m., in Meymandi Concert Hall in downtown Raleigh.

The concerts will also feature a World Premiere Orchestration of Judd Greenstein’s “Change,” Barber’s Adagio for Strings and Essay No. 2, and Sarah Kirkland Snider’s Three Songs from Unremembered, featuring soprano Shara Worden.

North Carolina Symphony Scholar-in-Residence William Robin says of Appalachian Spring, “It describes a spring celebration of American pioneers with the hopeful anticipation of a marriage, a powerful sermon from a revivalist pastor and a couple settling into their new lives…. Copland is the quintessentially unadorned composer, and Appalachian Spring the quintessentially unadorned work.” 

Barber’s Adagio was well-loved by Copland, according to Robin.  “‘It’s really well felt, it’s believable you see, it’s not phony,’ Copland wrote about Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings. “It comes straight from the heart.” Given the ubiquity, indeed the inescapability, of Barber’s Adagio — from the funerals of presidents to Platoon to innumerable parodies of Platoon — it’s refreshing to know that the plainspoken Copland held it in high regard. Inspired by Virgil, Barber composed the work as the middle movement of a string quartet in 1936 and expanded its orchestration two years later.  Like Appalachian Spring, Barber’s Second Essay has wartime implications… Completed in March 1942, the Essay seems to teem with the sounds of World War II.”

Of Change, Robin writes that it was originally written in 2009 for the NOW Ensemble, a chamber group that Greenstein leads. “The message of Change is Gandhi’s familiar rejoinder: “Be the change you want to see in the world.  Greenstein himself has been at the forefront of many recent changes in the classical music world. He curates the prominent Ecstatic Music Festival in New York, which hosts collaborative concerts between artists from different musical worlds, and co-directs New Amsterdam Records, a landmark label that extends the boundaries of music today.”  Robin continues, “This orchestral arrangement – a North Carolina Symphony commission and world premiere – transmits that local energy to a grander scale, opening up to a broader community what Greenstein calls ‘my own reminder to myself to always keep that fire lit.’”

Unremembered marks Sarah Kirkland Snider’s second collaboration with singer Shara Worden, best known as the leader of indie band My Brightest Diamond.  Robin writes that, “Both projects explore the haziness of memory: the 2010 song cycle Penelope recast the Odyssey from the perspective of a woman reading Homer’s epic to her war-weary husband, and Unremembered navigates similarly strange recollections. Throughout her career, Snider — who co-directs New Amsterdam Records with Judd Greenstein and William Brittelle — has confidently balanced orchestral and chamber writing with an exploration of the style and sounds of indie-rock.”

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.  Before the Chapel Hill performance on April 23, Symphony Scholar-in-Residence William Robin will host a pre-concert talk in Gerrard Hall at 6:30 p.m.  Before the Friday, April 24, performance in Raleigh, Robin will host a Meet the Artists session in Swalin Lobby of Meymandi Concert Hall at 6:30 p.m.  Before the Saturday April 25, performance in Raleigh, Robin will give a pre-concert talk at 7 p.m. in the Swalin Lobby. 

Tickets to the Chapel Hill Classical Series performance on April 23, and to the Raleigh Classical Series performances on Friday and Saturday, April 24-25, range from $18 to $75.  Student tickets are $10.  Concert tickets at all performances are also available at the door one hour prior to concert start time.  These concerts are made possible in part by the E.T. Rollins, Jr. and Frances P. Rollins Foundation Fund.

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; Smith Anderson; Duke Medicine; Marriott; and 18 Seaboard.  Reception sponsored by Bailey’s Fine Jewelry.

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

The concert sponsor is Northwestern Mutual.

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.

Headquartered 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.

April 23-25 Concert/Event Listings:

North Carolina Symphony

Appalachian Spring
Grant Llewellyn, conductor
Shara Worden, soprano

Thursday, April 23, 7:30 p.m.
Memorial Hall, UNC-Chapel Hill

Friday and Saturday, April 24-25, 8 p.m.
Meymandi Concert Hall, Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, Raleigh

April 23-25 Program Listing

North Carolina Symphony
Appalachian Spring
Grant Llewellyn, conductor
Shara Worden, soprano

COPLAND:  Suite from Appalachian Spring (1945 orchestration)

GREENSTEIN:  Change (World Premiere Orchestration)

SNIDER:  Three Songs from Unremembered
    I. The Guest
   II. The Swan
  III. The Witch
     Shara Worden, soprano

BARBER:  Adagio for Strings

BARBER:  Essay No. 2, Op. 17