Statement by Carlos Miguel Prieto
“With a combination of great joy, gratitude, and a deep sense of responsibility, I am formalizing my partnership with the North Carolina Symphony today. I am excited to grow a relationship with its sensational musicians, staff and board, which started in 2011, when I was first invited as a guest conductor. Our recent concerts together solidified my belief that this is a world class organization – and proved to be the inspiration I so desperately needed given the difficult pandemic times. The NCS plays a central role in the life of its community, in a way I have rarely seen before. I am honored to join this community and will help, in any way I can, bring the message of hope, joy and unity that music provides, at this critical time in our lives.
Growing up in Mexico City, I started attending a summer camp on the NC coast at the age of ten. It was there where I learned English and began a love affair with this gorgeous state – and where our children remain involved to this day. I look forward to getting to know NC even better through the symphony’s many statewide tours and educational offerings.
Just a few weeks ago, I attended an educational concert of the NCS in Raleigh. It was so inspiring and uplifting that I was moved to tears. The orchestra’s sincere, relevant and deep commitment to education through music resonates profoundly in me. I am proud to join an organization whose values are so much in line with my own. For the last twenty years I have toured every country in the Americas, and am convinced that an orchestra can, and must play a huge role in bringing diverse people together, building communities through the universal power of music.
Today, we are starting a partnership which is very important to me and to my family, one for which we are infinitely grateful. I look forward to learning from an organization and a community that is vibrant and thriving. I look forward to the personal bonds and friendships over the next years. But I mostly look forward to serving with all my energy and love.”
– Carlos Miguel Prieto
(February 23, 2022, Raleigh, NC) – Today, the North Carolina Symphony (NCS) announced the appointment of Carlos Miguel Prieto as its next Music Director. His initial four-year term as Music Director begins with the 2023-2024 season. He will serve as Music Director Designate during the 2022-2023 season. Prieto, who will become the sixth Music Director of the NCS, has personal roots in North Carolina and has been a regular guest conductor with the orchestra since 2011, serving audiences statewide. During the current season, Prieto serves as NCS Artistic Advisor with guest conductor appearances and artistic oversight.
Carlos Miguel Prieto is celebrated worldwide for his collaborative style, charismatic conducting, expressive interpretations, premiering and personally commissioning works by composers of the Americas, and his efforts to foster cultural exchange through music. Through the years, Prieto has led the NCS in a range of adventurous programs featuring works by Anna Clyne, Gabriela Ortiz, and many others. At the time that Prieto was recognized by Musical America as their 2019 Conductor of the Year, Yo-Yo Ma was quoted, saying, “Carlos Miguel is a conductor for our 21st century.”
“This is the beginning of a new era for the North Carolina Symphony,” said Don Davis, Chair of the NCS Board of Trustees. “I am honored to announce Carlos Miguel Prieto as the symphony’s next Music Director. In partnership with the incredible musicians of the symphony we have named an artistic leader, who with our CEO, Sandi Macdonald, sets the stage for what will undoubtedly be a bright musical future for our great North Carolina Symphony.”
Sandi Macdonald, President & CEO of the NCS said, “Quite simply, Carlos Miguel Prieto is exactly the right artistic leader for the NCS today and into the future. Carlos has been part of our family for more than a decade already, and the affinity between him and the musicians has been striking. With his appointment as Music Director, we have ensured the opportunity for this most promising partnership to continue to grow. Carlos shares the orchestra’s commitment to creating extraordinary musical experiences and connecting with the people of our state.”
“The chemistry between Carlos Miguel Prieto and the musicians was palpable as we considered the future of the NCS, a key resource and cornerstone of the cultural life of this state,” shared Catharine Arrowood, Chair of the NCS Music Director Search Committee. “We are thrilled to begin this new artistic chapter with Carlos’ leadership.”
The state of North Carolina’s orchestra, NCS has served richly diverse communities throughout the state for nine decades. NCS, which partners with the world’s greatest talents, is dedicated to giving voice to new art, and embraces artists with ties to the state, including recent collaborations with NCS’s 2021/22 Composer in Residence Anthony Kelley and composers Caroline Shaw, Sarah Kirkland Snider, Judd Greenstein and with William Brittelle whose commission, developed out of NCS’s multi-year residency with the Eastern Band of the Cherokee and was performed throughout the state and at the Kennedy Center as part of their inaugural SHIFT Festival. Each year, more than 300 concerts, education programs, and community engagement offerings reach adults and schoolchildren in all 100 North Carolina counties—in a variety of venues based in communities large and small, as well as through new online programming. In addition, NCS leads one of the most extensive education programs of any symphony orchestra in the country—serving over 100,000 students each year. Now, in partnership with Carlos Miguel Prieto, a community-focused and artistic visionary, the NCS is poised to thrive long into the future in service through music, to a growing audience throughout the state and around the world via the digital space.
Prieto returns to the NCS to conduct the opening concert of the 2022-2023 classical season at Meymandi Concert Hall, Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh. He succeeds Grant Llewellyn, who served with distinction as Music Director of the NCS for 16 years. The NCS pays tribute to Llewellyn and his legacy with a celebratory performance on May 14, 2022, with soprano Renée Fleming.
The Board of the NCS recognizes, with gratitude, the thorough and intentional work by the NCS Music Director Search Committee. Committee members included individuals representing the NCS Board of Trustees, musicians and staff: Catharine Arrowood, David Sontag, Jud Bowman, David Meyer, Joseph Peters, Rajesh Prasad, Jackie Saed Wolborsky, Sandi Macdonald, and advisor Martin Sher.
The North Carolina Symphony gratefully acknowledges financial support from Wake County, the City of Raleigh, and the State of North Carolina.
About Carlos Miguel Prieto
Carlos Miguel Prieto’s charismatic conducting and expressive interpretations have led to major engagements and critical acclaim throughout the Americas, Europe, and internationally.
Carlos Miguel Prieto was born into a musical family of Spanish and French descent in Mexico City. His charismatic conducting is characterised by its dynamism and the expressivity of his interpretations. Prieto is recognised as a highly influential cultural leader and is the foremost Mexican conductor of his generation. He has been the Music Director of the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de México, the country’s most important orchestra, since 2007. Prieto has also been Music Director of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra since 2006, where he has led the cultural renewal of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. In 2008 he was appointed Music Director of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Minería, a hand-picked orchestra which performs a two-month long series of summer programmes in Mexico City and in 2021, Prieto was appointed as Artistic Advisor for the North Carolina Symphony.
Recent highlights include engagements with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, NDR Elbphilharmonie, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, the Hallé, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Spanish National Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Strasbourg Philharmonic and Auckland Philharmonia.
Prieto is in great demand as a guest conductor with many of the top North American orchestras including Cleveland, Dallas, Toronto, Minnesota, Washington, New World and Houston Symphony, and has enjoyed a particularly close and successful relationship with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the North Carolina Symphony.
Since 2002, alongside Gustavo Dudamel, Prieto has conducted the Youth Orchestra of the Americas (YOA), which draws young musicians from the entire American continent. A staunch proponent of music education, Prieto served as Principal Conductor of the YOA from its inception until 2011 when he was appointed Music Director. In early 2010 he conducted the YOA alongside Valery Gergiev on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the World Economic Forum at Carnegie Hall. In 2018 he conducted the orchestra on a tour of European summer festivals, which included performances at the Rheingau and Edinburgh festivals as well as Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie. He has also worked regularly with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and the NYO2 in New York.
Prieto is renowned for championing Latin American music, as well as his dedication to new music. He has conducted over 100 world premieres of works by Mexican and American composers, many of which were commissioned by him. Prieto places equal importance on championing works by Black and African American composers such as Florence Price, Margaret Bonds and Courtney Bryan, amongst others.
Prieto has an extensive discography that covers labels including Naxos and Sony. Recent Naxos recordings include Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.2 & Études tableaux Op.33, with Boris Giltburg and the RSNO, which won a 2018 Opus Klassik award and was listed as a Gramophone’s Critics’ Choice, 2017, and a recording of Korngold’s Violin Concerto with violinist Philippe Quint and the Orquesta Sinfónica de Minería, which received two Grammy nominations. His recording of the Elgar and Finzi Violin Concertos with Ning Feng was released on Channel Classics in November 2018.
Carlos Miguel Prieto was recognized by Musical America as the 2019 Conductor of the Year. A graduate of Princeton and Harvard universities, Prieto studied conducting with Jorge Mester, Enrique Diemecke, Charles Bruck and Michael Jinbo.
About the North Carolina Symphony
Founded in 1932, the North Carolina Symphony (NCS) is a vital and honored component of North Carolina’s cultural life. Each year, more than 300 concerts, education programs, and community engagement offerings reach adults and schoolchildren in all 100 North Carolina counties—in communities large and small, and in concert halls, auditoriums, gymnasiums, restaurants, clubs, and outdoor settings. The NCS is proud to expand access to audiences around the globe through concerts and educational offerings available through the digital space.
NCS’s state headquarters venue is the spectacular Meymandi Concert Hall at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Raleigh. The Symphony’s service across the state includes series in Chapel Hill, Wilmington, New Bern, Southern Pines, and Fayetteville, as well as the Summerfest series at its summer home, the outdoor Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary. NCS brings some of the world’s greatest talents to North Carolina and embraces home-state artists from classical musicians to bluegrass bands, creating live music experiences distinctive to North Carolina.
Committed to engaging students of all ages across North Carolina, NCS leads one of the most extensive education programs of any symphony orchestra in the country—serving over 100,000 students each year. In alignment with the curriculum set by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, the Symphony provides training and resources for teachers, sends small ensembles into classrooms, and presents full-orchestra in-person and online Education Concerts that bring the fundamentals of music to life. Music Discovery for preschoolers combines music with storytelling, and at the middle and high school levels, students have opportunities to work directly with NCS artists and perform for NCS audiences.
NCS is dedicated to giving voice to new art and has presented more than 50 U.S. or world premieres in its history. In 2017, NCS appeared at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., as one of four orchestras chosen for the inaugural year of SHIFT: A Festival of American Orchestras—an honor that recognized the Symphony’s creative programming and innovative community partnerships.