This preview has been provided by the North Carolina Symphony.

The North Carolina Symphony has announced that William Henry Curry will step down as Resident Conductor to the Symphony and Artistic Director of the Summerfest Series at the close of the 2016 Summerfest season, bringing to a conclusion a 20-year tenure with the orchestra.

“Having William Henry Curry as a member of my conducting staff has been an honor. I respect his decision to step down to allow himself more time to focus on his work as the Music Director and Conductor of the Durham Symphony Orchestra and guest conducting activities, as well as composing and teaching,” said Symphony Music Director Grant Llewellyn. “We celebrate his work and his artistic leadership and know that he will continue to make a tremendous difference in the cultural life of North Carolina.”

“Outside of our long-time music director Benjamin Swalin, William Henry Curry has led more education concerts than any conductor in the Symphony’s history,” said Symphony President & CEO Sandi Macdonald. “His ability at communicating with audiences of all ages – from concerts for schoolchildren, to thousands upon thousands of families at Summerfest, to Pops performances with world-famous guest artists, to our classical series here in Raleigh and around the state – has greatly strengthened the North Carolina Symphony.”

The North Carolina Symphony will celebrate Maestro Curry’s tenure at concerts in Raleigh on Friday March 4, 2016; in Chapel Hill on Saturday, March 5, 2016; and in New Bern on Sunday, March 6, 2016. The orchestra will perform a work by Curry, “Eulogy for a Dream.” The concerts will also include Curry’s orchestration of Tchaikovsky’s Military March, as well as the Fifth Symphony by Tchaikovsky, one of the composers that Curry has most closely identified with during his time at the North Carolina Symphony.

“My 20 year tenure with the North Carolina Symphony included some of the most satisfying experiences of my life. My musical collaborations with this world-class and personable orchestra were inspired by ‘the joy of music.’ For those happy 20 years, my gratitude knows no bounds,” Curry said. “My audiences appreciated the best of my efforts and the NCS administration was supportive of my desire to broaden the orchestra’s repertoire. Over the years I introduced many masterpieces to this orchestra and its extended community that had never been performed here before, including various symphonies by Sibelius, Bruckner, Liszt and Tchaikovsky.”

A native of Pittsburgh, Curry started conducting and composing music at age 14. His first major appointment was at age 21, when he was named Assistant Conductor of the Richmond Chamber Orchestra. He also served as Resident Conductor with the Baltimore Symphony and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. He was appointed associate conductor of the Indianapolis Symphony in 1983, a post he held until 1988, the same year he was named the unanimous winner of the Leopold Stokowski Conducting Competition and performed in Carnegie Hall.

Maestro Curry has conducted over 50 orchestras, including appearances with the Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, National, Detroit, Denver, American, Atlanta, and San Diego Symphonies, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Israel Camerata Jerusalem Orchestra, as well as the orchestras of Indianapolis, Bangkok and Taiwan and with the New York City Ballet in their famed Balanchine production of The Nutcracker.

He was featured conductor for the tour and recording of Anthony Davis’s Grammy-nominated Opera X. Other opera engagements include the Houston Grand Opera, Chicago Opera Theater and New York City Opera. In 2009-10, at the invitation of the U.S. Department of State, he spent two weeks in Taiwan presenting master classes in conducting and leading concerts of American music. His final performance was filmed and shown throughout the country on Taiwan’s Public Television Service.

Curry is also a composer, and his works have been played by many of America’s finest orchestras. The Indianapolis Symphony premiered his work Eulogy for a Dream. The late William Warfield, of Porgy and Bess fame, narrated the North Carolina premiere to an enthusiastic audience and critical acclaim in January 2002. Curry’s North Carolina Symphony-commissioned “Holiday Songs,” a song cycle for soprano and orchestra, premiered in 2010. The 2014-15 season saw Curry’s World Premiere Orchestration of Tchaikovsky’s Military March, and the 2016-17 season will see Maestro Curry conduct the World Premiere of his North Carolina Symphony commission.

Highlights of William Henry Curry’s Work with the North Carolina Symphony

  • Summerfest Artistic Director. Popular summer program has seen exciting growth over the last 20 years, including a move to the Symphony’s permanent summer home at Koka Booth Amphitheatre in 2000.
  • North Carolina premiere of Curry’s work Eulogy for a Dream received audience and critical acclaim.
  • Maestro Curry led the orchestra and collaborated with Department of Cultural Resources and N.C. Museum of Art to present “Blue Skies, Red Earth” in 2007. The program mixed North Carolina traditional music and orchestral works, to great acclaim.
  • Curry’s North Carolina Symphony-commissioned “Holiday Songs,” a song cycle for soprano and orchestra, premiered in 2010.
  • Curry’s World Premiere Orchestration of Tchaikovsky’s Military March took place in the 2014-15 season.
  • Took the North Carolina Symphony’s Holiday Pops programs across the state.
  • Introduced tens of thousands of North Carolina schoolchildren to orchestral music through Education Concerts.
  • Curry’s North Carolina Symphony-commissioned work to premiere during the 2016-17 season.

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.