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jicert in Chapel Hill,
jige of 36, he is the ar-
e between Washing-
ite a decidely unsen-
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niversity is hardly the
Hermann s opinion or
the orchestra than its
pised the arrogant at
said in a June inter-
Raleigh. Now he clart-
at I dislike the aura of
'nermann is willing to
jtors. "I think it's good
j" he said. "It gives the
Hows me to program
cted to conduct."
is first love is German
chestra is Jhrough the
thirds of the works to
Symphony this season
bsers leaning toward a
Hermann said, "I'd like
id, of course, Bruckner
.ic in this year's reper-
said, "Well, we're do-
ason, out not in cnapei
by Elgar, and some of
Which are quite beauti-
by Tippett He's a very
iid, future seasons will
Concern in planning an
e crucial for the finan
nmermann said of his
ve financial stability,
je people is a first-class
iformance, and through
movements in today's
He conducts pops con
avorites, but he said he
" or "Hooked on Clas
sics" they aren't his style. The pops concerts represent
Zimmermann's attempt "to get people turned on to the
symphony in general."
The Carolina Union will sponsor one of these concerts
Sunday at 4 p.m. in Forest Theatre. Zimmermann programed
the concert to be especially appealing to area audiences.
"The Saint-Saens (Princess Jaune Overture) is one of those
gems that you discover gathering dust in a music library
and has no business being buried. Then we're doing Rach
maninoff (Caprice Bohemien), which should be a great
crowd pleaser. There's a sing-along and the medley from
The Sound of Music, which speak for themselves."
Zimmermann wants to persuade people whose musical
experience is limited to pop music to try classical music.
"As with any acquired taste, one concert won't do it, just
as reading one Shakespeare play won't make you love all
Shakespeare. I would advise that you try to come to
several concerts and get rid of any preconceived notions.
It's like trying a new food you just have to jump in with
Jeff Crave is assistant arts editor of The Daily Tar Heel.
Half a century old
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Photo courtMy of tha North Carolina Symphony
Formal attire for the North Carolina Symphony
performs with Associate Conductor James Ogle
ymplicDmiy ciiniB liom for its birtEiday
By JEFF GROVE
sy ot tha North Carolina Symphony
The North Carolina Symphony is a stylish operation. ,
Two occurrences from last Wednesday's concert in Memorial
Hall serve as examples. As seems to.be traditional, the audience
applauded concertmaster Paul Gorski when he came onstage to
tune the orchestra. Then, when it came time to open the concert
with "The Star-Spangled Banner," all of the orchestra members
who could stand while playing did so.
Style was in order for the" concert The Symphony had re
turned to its birthplace to celebrate its first half-century of exis
tence. On May 14, 1932, 48 musicians sat on the stage of Hill Hall
Auditorium in front of conductor Lamar Stringf ield. They were a
varied group. Some were professionals while others were ama
teurs. Some were still in high school, and others were already
well-established in their careers.
Getting into the group was no easy job. "The musicians were
chosen from among the best in the state," said William Mitchell,
who played the trombone in that original group. Mitchell was
present at the 1982 concert, along with 12 other members of the
original N.C. Symphony.
"I roomed with a fellow who was the mayor of Wilson, so of
course he was a good bit older than me," Mithchell said, point
ing out the diversity of the group.
Unlike today's Symphony members, the players in the first
concert were not paid. "We hoped that someday the orchestra
members would be paid, but we were willing to do it just for the
excitement," Mitchell said. He said that musicians' salaries in
1932 started at $1 5 per week, with the best players netting $18.50
per week. But volunteer status did not decrease the commitment
of the musicians to the group, Mitchell added.
French horn player Raymond Brietz Jr. was probably more ex
cited than Mitchell by the first concert He met his wife during
"It was exciting enough for me to come from Charlotte to
Chapel Hill. But then on the first night of rehearsals I met Ray
. mond, so that sort of increased the excitement" Mrs. Brietz said.
After their marriage, the Brietzes stayed involved in music
he in the Greensboro public schools, and she in their church.
Since Brietz was so involved in music in the schools, he espe
cially admires today's Symphony for its free concerts offered to
public school audiences. "The only way you're going to train
cultural arts performers is to start early," he said. :
The school performances are one indicator of how much the
N.C. Symphony has developed in 50 years. Robert Phay, presi
dent of the Chapel Hill-Orange County chapter of the North
Carolina Symphony Society, explained that the concerts are not
really free. Someone has to pay the musicians.
"The evening concerts (in the Chapel Hill subscription series)
help fund the daytime concerts to educate school children,"
Phay said. "So people who go to our regular concerts are helping
us out in that way."
"The Symphony today is a precision
an original Symphony member
Today the Symphony consists of 56 players, a staff of three
conductors, and a flock of office workers who make their home
in Raleigh's Memorial Auditorium. All season ticket holders are
members of the North Carolina Symphony Society. Local chap
ters of the Society make arrangements for concerts in their areas
and take charge of selling season and individual tickets.
With each concert costing an individual chapter $8,000,
breaking even might seem a problem. But even high ticket prices
$8 for the general public have not kept people away. The
first Chapel Hill concert this season was actually oversold, and
people were turned away when the box office ran out of tickets.
The audience is there. It isn't however, what you might ex
pect There is the usual quota of little blue-haired old ladies who
drag unwilling husbands in to see and to be seen, but these are in
the minority. Plenty of students were present for the recent 50th
anniversary concert And why not? Student ticket prices have
been held down to $2.50, courtesy of the Carolina Union.
Pops concerts also demonstrate widening appeal of classical
music. The Union sponsors one such concert in Chapel Hill each
year in the fall semester. This year's concert takes place Sunday
at 4 p.m. in Forest Theatre. The atmosphere is far from highbrow.
People arrive early with picnic meals. Dress ranges from three
piece suits to sweat suits. People are there to share in the musi
cal experience, not to be seen and to be recognized on the so
. From a volunteer group which finished its first season with a
bank balance of $28.14, the North Carolina Symphony has
grown into a complex professional organization with a budget of
over $2 million.
The Symphony survived the Depression first on Federal Emer
gency Relief Administration grants, then on the Work Projects
Administration's use of the Symphony to employ out-of-work
players and music teachers. Dr. Benjamin Swalin took over as
conductor in 1939 and increased the orchestra's exposure as an
educational group. When Swalin retired in 1971, John Gosling
succeeded him and led the Symphony to a position among the
nation's major orchestras.
At the Sept. 15 concert, William Mitchell said that he could
not compare the performances by the original group with those
offered by today's Symphony. "The Symphony today is a preci
sion instrument" he said.
At the close of the concert, the Symphony's present artistic di
rector and principal conductor, Gerhardt Zimmermann, offered
thoughts for the past and the future.
"We would like to play three encores for you'he said. "The
first we dedicate to all the former Symphony musicians. The sec
ond is dedicated to Dr. and Mrs. Swalin for their years of service
to the Symphony. The third. . . is for the next 50 years."
The North Carolina Symphony has already performed one
concert in Chapel Hill this fall. Four more are scheduled for the
remainder of the academic year.
This Sunday, Gerhardt Zimmermann will conduct a free pops
concert at 4 p.m. in Forest Theatre. The program will feature
Saint-Saens' Princess Jaune Overture, Rachmaninoff s Caprice.
Bohemien, Herold's Zampa Overture, a medley of songs from
The Sound of Music, and Sousa's Liberty Bell March.
"We hoped that someday the or
chestra members would be paid, but
we were willing to do it just for the
an original Symphony member
Zimmermann will conduct again for an all-Beethoven concert
at 8 p.m. Oct 20 in Memorial Hall. Soloist Richard Luby will per
form in the Concerto in D Major for Violin and Orchestra, and the
c Durham Civic Choral Society will be heard in the Symphony No.
9 in D Minor.
January 14 will bring another 8 p.m. Memorial Hall concert
this one with a program of music by North Carolina composers.
JRobert Suderberg will conduct his Concerto: Night Voyage after
Baudelaire for Chamber Orchestra and Soprano. UNC music pro
cessor Roger Hannay then takes over the podium for his Sym
phony No. 5 ("American Classic"). To conclude the program,
Robert Ward, one of the busiest living American opera compo
sers, will direct a performance of his Symphony No. 2.
This season will close on April 14 with an all-Tchaikovsky pro
gram, again at 8 p.m. in Memorial Hall. James Ogle will be the
conductor for. the Symphony No. 6 in B Minor ("Pathetique") and
the Concerto No. 1 in B-flat Minor for Piano and Orchestra. UNC
piano professor Francis Whang will be the soloist for the concerto.
Tickets for all the Memorial Hall programs will be on sale at
the Carolina Union box office and at the door. Admission for stu
dents is $2.50. For more information, call the box office at 962
1449. - Jeff Grove is assistant arts editor of The Daily Tar Heel.
The piano player is a strange combi
loose body rolling over the keys, his nan
ries. The orchestra, playing Rachmanin
music takes over, becomes a life of its
The conductor then holds up his
breathing, a few straggling, gasping now
"No, no, no. He's very free here," C
ductor of the North Carolina Symphony
held in Memorial Hall, the music is sud
musicians, dressed in T-shirts or jeans, a
may live and breathe on its own, but it
Once you realize the fact that the mi
then it must be considered as a creation
a finely tuned genesis between the mu
In live performances, the public sees!
The conductor waves his arms before t
curs. But before each concert, the N.C.
times. During these sessions, magic bee j
According to Jackson Parkhurst, dir
conductor for the N.C. Symphony, thd
and the symphony is extremely importa
conductor becomes crucial.
"What the audience sees is the tip of
most important time a conductor is in f H
This is where a conductor will make or
Rehearsal is work. And work in creat
play between conductor and musicians
tery of Rachmaninoff or Mozart or Bac
are there on the printed page for anyon
hands, they fill the air instead of lying
"The musicians know how the musid
make them know how it sounds," Park!
During rehearsal, Zimmermann again
what you have is ba-bum, ba-bum, ba-bf
The svmohonv began to play again. A
flow of notes.
"The attack gets up here late," he sai
mermann allowed insight into the finish
conductor's vision of the final work r
conductor tries to recreate the symphof
chestra before his arms.
"The musician needs to play his bes
linist for the N.C. Symphony, said. "Bd
come from the conductor."
Sometimes the balance between th
piece of music and the musician's play
cially if the musician disagrees with th
"Sometimes I don't think it makes s
hearsal break. "But you give the cond
cian needs to be able to alter K
When the lights come on and curtair
think just a moment of rehearsal Ce
symphony, "Then the last two notes . .
The music of a symphony can be lik
into a dreamland. But each thread in th
hands of many magicians, under the g
Leah Talley is arts editor of The Dai
North Csrolina Symphony
prepares for an outdoor concert