This preview has been provided by the North Carolina Symphony.

The North Carolina Symphony, led by conductor Grant Llewellyn will open its 2014-15 Pops Series with performances of West Side Story in Meymandi Concert Hall on Friday, Sept. 26, and Saturday, Sept. 27 at 8 p.m.  Leonard Bernstein’s electrifying score will be played live, while the newly re-mastered film is projected on the giant screen in high definition. Bursting with drama, excitement and timeless songs — including “Tonight,” “America,” “Somewhere” and many more — West Side Story remains one of the greatest movies ever made. 

Llewellyn, who early in his career trained with Bernstein at the Tanglewood Music Center in Massachusetts, is excited about the Pops season opener. “Never have I met a more charismatic and simply brilliant communicator than Leonard Bernstein. Those same qualities – charisma and brilliance – permeate the entire score of West Side Story, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.”

The North Carolina Symphony’s Music Director since 2004, Llewellyn has led the 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.”

On Friday, Sept. 26, 518 West Italian Café in Raleigh will host a pre-concert dinner and discussion of the West Side Story film and concert event.  Music Director Grant Llewellyn will welcome Dr. Marsha Gordon, Associate Professor of Film Studies at N.C. State University, and Laura Boyes, Film Curator at the NC Museum of Art.  Tickets to the dinner and discussion are $75.  To RSVP, go to or call 919.789.5475.

Tickets to the North Carolina Symphony’s performance of West Side Story range from $30 to $89.  Student tickets are $15. For more information, go to the North Carolina Symphony’s website at, or call 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.

2014-15 Pops Series partners are CEI: The Digital Office and Synergy Spa.

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. 26-27 Concert/Event Listings:

North Carolina Symphony
West Side Story
Grant Llewellyn, conductor

Friday and Saturday, Sept. 26-27, 8pm
Meymandi Concert Hall, Raleigh