Maestros’ Cues

Maestros’ Cues: One symphony is great, but three in WNC is something to brag about
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The music of Beethoven, Mozart, and Tchaikovsky comes to life alongside that of Duke Ellington and Star Wars at three symphonies in the area: Asheville Symphony Orchestra, The Hendersonville Symphony, and the Western Piedmont Symphony in Hickory. You can catch world-acclaimed guests and local musicians featured in more than 15 performances beginning in September.

The oldest and largest of the three music ensembles, Asheville Symphony Orchestra is kicking off its 51st season on September 17 with Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 and internationally acclaimed pianist Simone Dinnerstein. ASO presents seven full orchestra concerts from September to May, plus a holiday pops show at Thomas Wolfe Auditorium. Bring a blanket for the free Labor Day concert, September 5, at Pack Square Park.

Happy anniversary to The Hendersonville Symphony, which will celebrate its 40th season this year. The 60- to 70-member orchestra performs five concerts from September through June. The organization focuses on education as well, offering a youth orchestra, an annual young artist competition, summer strings camp, and scholarships. The season begins September 10 with From Ellington to Armstrong, a big-band tribute featuring Columbus Jazz Orchestra Artistic Director Byron Stripling on trumpet.

Hickory is home to the award-winning Western Piedmont Symphony, one of the few in the country that can boast a resident string quartet, currently The Kontras Quartet, which performs four chamber concerts a year. This group supports one of the largest youth symphonies in North Carolina, averaging 80 to 90 members. On October 15, the season opener features pianist and Lenoir native Dr. Glenn Harman. To conclude the season in May, the symphony will partner with the Lenoir-Rhyne youth chorus to perform the musical score of Star Wars.