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North Carolina Symphony Extends Llewellyn Contract

Posted: September 18, 2013

Music Director Set to Lead Orchestra Through 2018 Season

RALEIGH, NC – The North Carolina Symphony today announced the extension of Music Director Grant Llewellyn’s contract through 2018.  Llewellyn, who is celebrating his 10th Anniversary Season, was named the Symphony’s Music Director in 2004 after a 32-month international search.

“The North Carolina Symphony has been making a positive difference in the lives of the citizens of North Carolina for more than 80 years, and this extension of Grant Llewellyn’s contract is a critical ingredient to the Symphony’s success in continuing that legacy,” said newly appointed Symphony Society Board Chair Jeff Corbett. “One of the wonderful things about the North Carolina Symphony is the breadth of the orchestra’s mission, especially around education across our state.  Through Grant’s amazing ability to connect with people, young and old, and in every walk of life, he has helped to take this cultural treasure of our state and make it a real part of our communities.”

Llewellyn is known throughout the world as a musician of great talent, versatility and passion.  Born in Tenby, South Wales, Llewellyn won a conducting fellowship to the Tanglewood Music Center in Massachusetts in 1985 where he worked with Bernstein, Ozawa, Masur and Previn.  Critics and audiences alike have noted the passion and concentration of the orchestra under his baton and praise his “transcendent performances” and his “graceful and expressive direction.”

“The North Carolina Symphony comes closest in embracing a mission of music to the people than pretty much any orchestra I know – and we take that mission very seriously,” Llewellyn said.  “As I begin my tenth season as Music Director, I continue to feel very fortunate, because I inherited a very fine orchestra, hungry to work and play hard, based in a great hall in a great part of a great state of the United States of America.”

North Carolina Symphony double bass player and chair of the Orchestra musicians Bruce Ridge, who was chairman of the music director search committee that led to Llewellyn’s hiring said, “From his first appearances with the North Carolina Symphony, the musicians of the orchestra and Maestro Llewellyn have formed a unique bond, built in friendship, a shared artistic vision, and a deep belief in the mission of the North Carolina Symphony to bring great music to all the people of North Carolina. The extension of his contract will lead to even greater artistic heights and organizational growth through our service to our loyal audiences in the Triangle and throughout the state.”

To date, Grant Llewellyn has held positions with three European orchestras: principal conductor of the Royal Flanders Philharmonic, principal guest conductor of the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra and associate guest conductor with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Notable recent European guest engagements have included the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, Helsinki Philharmonic and BBC Symphony. He has also conducted the Johannesburg (South Africa) Symphony Orchestra.

Llewellyn has conducted many orchestras in North America, most notably the symphonies of Atlanta, Boston, Calgary, Nashville, Houston, Montreal, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Saint Louis, Kansas City and Toronto, as well as the Florida Orchestra. From 2001 to 2006, as music director of the Handel and Haydn Society, America’s leading period orchestra, Llewellyn gained a reputation as a formidable interpreter of music of the Baroque and Classical periods.

An accomplished opera conductor, Grant Llewellyn has appeared at the opera companies of English National Opera (The Magic Flute) and the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, where his repertoire has ranged from Handel’s Radamisto to Alexander Goehr’s Arianna. In 2001 he embarked on a collaboration with acclaimed Chinese director Chen Shi-Zheng in a production of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas at Spoleto Festival, USA.

He has also conducted the North Carolina Symphony in two critically acclaimed recordings for the Swedish label BIS: American Spectrum with saxophonist Branford Marsalis and a 2010 release of concertos by Rachmaninoff and Medtner with pianist Yevgeny Sudbin. During Llewellyn’s tenure as Music Director, 17 musicians have been appointed to the orchestra.   

About the North Carolina Symphony

Founded in 1932, the North Carolina Symphony,, gives more than 200 performances annually to adults and school children in more than 50 North Carolina counties. An entity of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, the orchestra employs 65 professional musicians, under the artistic leadership of Music Director and Conductor Grant Llewellyn and Resident Conductor William Henry Curry.

Based in downtown Raleigh’s spectacular Meymandi Concert Hall at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts and an outdoor summer venue at Booth Amphitheatre in Cary, N.C., the Symphony performs about 60 concerts annually in the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and Cary metropolitan area. It holds regular concert series in Fayetteville, New Bern, Southern Pines and Wilmington—as well as individual concerts in many other North Carolina communities throughout the year—and conducts one of the most extensive education programs of any U.S. orchestra.

CONTACT: Joe Newberry, 919.789.5484,

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