Charlotte Symphony launches 2017 with a bang

Posted on: December 20, 2016

“Leonardo Soto and the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra will bring Leonard Mark Lewis’ percussion concerto ‘Evolution’ to life Jan. 6 and 7,” writes Lawrence Toppman in Monday’s (12/19) Charlotte Observer (North Carolina) about the coming world premiere. “CSO music director Christopher Warren-Green features his players every season; as he says, ‘I am always looking for opportunities to champion our own talented musicians in new and interesting ways.’ He suggested Joseph Schwantner’s flamboyant percussion concerto to Soto, but the great Evelyn Glennie had already played it here. So the symphony took Lewis’ 21-minute piece, pairing it shrewdly with Beethoven’s overture to ‘Fidelio’ and Schubert’s towering Ninth Symphony. ‘I’m glad to be opening for Schubert,’ says Lewis, smiling. ‘That ought to draw some people.’ … Soto’s studio at Queens University … roughly resembles the set-up you’ll see on the Belk Theater stage.… A gorgeous new marimba stands catercorner to a vibraphone. A full set of timpani have been tucked into one corner, with a stand-up drum kit across the room. In between come crotales, which look like tiny cymbals.… Lewis structured ‘Evolution’ (which Soto named) as two movements separated by a brief, quieter interlude. ‘Lyricism is my voice as a composer,’ he says.”

Posted December 20, 2016

Pictured: Charlotte Symphony Orchestra timpanist Leonardo Soto and composer Leonard Mark Lewis. Photo by David T. Foster III