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NPR Arts & Life

Charlotte Symphony Music Director Renews Contract

Courtesy Charlotte Symphony

Christopher Warren-Green has renewed his contract as music director of the Charlotte Symphony.  The man who conducted during the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton last year will be staying on in Charlotte through the summer of 2016.  And Warren-Green has some big ambitions.

Christopher Warren-Green says the Charlotte Symphony has the potential to be held in the same regard as the Boston Symphony or the New York Philharmonic.

 “The orchestra is poised to actually catapult into the top echelon of American orchestras,” says Warren-Green.  “It’s just a matter of time.”

And money.  The Charlotte Symphony, like many arts organizations , is still working to get revenue back to pre-recession levels.But Warren-Green is optimistic and says new programs like the Knights Sounds series– which incorporates a sort of night club atmosphere into symphony performances – are a way to broaden the symphony’s appeal.

But getting more people in the theater or at Symphony Park is just one of Warren-Green’s goals.  The other is expanding music education in Charlotte schools.

 “There are enough musicians in the Charlotte Symphony to go around,” says Warren-Green.  “You know we could be in every Charlotte-Mecklenburg School like a rash.  And that’s what we intend to do, but we need the funding for that.”

The Charlotte Symphony is already in one public school, Winterfield Elementary in east Charlotte.   Musicians from the symphony take part in a free after school program to teach students how to play.

Warren-Green – who’s also the music director of the London Chamber Orchestra – has signed on for three more years, though the Charlotte Symphony’s board asked him to commit to only two more.  He says he did that deliberately to send the message that he’s committed to Charlotte.