Sep 27, 2022 - Things to Do

Four takeaways from a first-time visit to the NC Symphony

Zach's phone was put away during the performance. Photo courtesy of the N.C. Symphony

Zach here. I attended my first North Carolina Symphony concert last week at Memorial Hall in Chapel Hill — Carlos Miguel Prieto's first performance as music director designate.

Here are four takeaways.

1. Prieto charms the crowd

Prieto's conducting — a mix of powerful arm flaps and playful shrugs — energized the packed audience, especially in moments of crescendo.

  • But it was his sly winks and head nods to the crowd throughout the suite, "Pictures at an Exhibition," that generated much more laughter than I expected at the symphony. The playfulness made the audience feel like it was in confident hands.

2. Fall in love with the violins

I was transfixed by the NC Symphony's army of violins and violas. Watching them move in perfect harmony was like watching a flock of birds fly together.

  • At some points, I would focus on one individual musician, as they anticipated the next note or accelerated their playing.

3. Sit up high

The symphony seems like one of the instances where sitting further away might benefit you more.

  • From my vantage point — the middle of the orchestra section — I could not follow the horns or the percussion as easily as the string instruments.

4. Young people, go

As I walked through UNC’s McCorkle Place, a member of the orchestra walking beside me remarked how great it was to see young people come out to the orchestra.

  • Readers, I was indeed one of the youngest people there. But we should change this. Classical music is so much better in person and these are some of the best musicians in the country.
  • Plus, it's a great reason not to look at your phone for a couple hours.

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