Winston-Salem Symphony Presents

Robert Franz
Five Conductors. One Baton. You Decide

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (DECEMBER 11, 2018) – The Winston-Salem Symphony’s 2018–2019 season promises to be thrilling as five brilliant conductors vie for the role of Music Director. On Sunday, January 6 and Tuesday, January 8, 2019, Robert Franz, a University of North Carolina School of the Arts graduate, returns home to conduct Bernstein’s witty On the Town: Three Dance Episodes, Rachmaninoff’s dazzling Symphonic Dances, op. 45, as well as Prokofiev’s romantic First Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Major, op. 19, featuring the virtuosic Dovid Friedlander as guest violinist.

“The next step in our thrilling “American Idol™”-like season-long search for your Winston-Salem Symphony’s next Music Director continues in early 2019,” said E. Merritt Vale, Winston-Salem Symphony President & CEO. “We hope everyone will take advantage of the many opportunities to interact with Robert Franz during his visit to Winston-Salem. And, of course, come see him on the podium! We really want your feedback. It will be invaluable in helping us make a well-informed decision about your next Music Director. You can find out more about all the ways to meet the candidates on our website and on Facebook.”

Under the baton of Franz, the concerts will take place on Sunday, January 6 at 3 p.m. and Tuesday, January 8 at 7:30 p.m. at the Stevens Center of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, 405 West Fourth Street in downtown Winston-Salem. Tickets begin at $20 and are available in advance by calling the Symphony Box Office at 336-464-0145 or online at

Music Lovers’ Luncheon, a fun and informative pre-concert event, will occur the Friday before each 2018–2019 Classics Concert and will give attendees a chance to get to know the five Music Director finalists and the renowned guest artists. The Music Lovers’ Luncheons will take place at Forsyth Country Club at 3101 Country Club Road in Winston-Salem. The next luncheon is Friday, January 4 from 12–1:30 p.m. This intimate afternoon event will include an enlightening discussion led by Music Director candidate Robert Franz and guest violinist Dovid Friedlander. Music Lovers’ Luncheons are an opportunity to gain insights on the music presented and learn more about the performers personally. Advanced registration is required and can be made by calling 336.464.0145. The luncheon is $25 per person.

For their Classics Concert series, each Music Director candidate was assigned two main pieces to conduct and given the opportunity to pick an overture of their choice. Franz opted to open the concert series with Leonard Bernstein’s On the Town: Three Dance Episodes for several reasons. First, 2018 is 100th anniversary of Bernstein’s birth. Also, On the Town: Three Dance Episodes is upbeat, fun and lively, and Franz felt would be a good contrast to the Prokofiev and Rachmaninoff, which, while engaging, are more complicated and weightier pieces. As the program notes that accompany the published score (Boosey & Hawkes) describe On the Town: “The famous ‘New York, New York, it’s a helluva town’ theme makes a cameo appearance. Bernstein’s music for Fancy Free and On the Town … demonstrate his eclecticism, now jazzy and exuberant, now dramatic or lyrical, all brilliantly orchestrated, and present a wonderful evocation of the energy and optimism of American culture of the 1940s and 50s.”

The concerts continue with 20th-century, Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev’s romantic Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Major, which will highlight the artistry of guest violinist Dovid Friedlander. Although this Concerto is passionate and at times dreamy, it also displays plenty of the composer’s rapier wit. The piece is lyrical but also highlights Prokofiev’s astounding virtuosity and offers numerous opportunities for the soloist to shine.

Closing out this concert series is the brilliant Symphonic Dances, the final composition of another Russian-born composer, Sergei Vassilevich Rachmaninoff. Composed in 1940, Symphonic Dances is a moving and magnificent piece that is at once accessible and yet also intricate and complicated. Leaner and more modern than Rachmaninoff’s earlier compositions, it is a remarkable end to an illustrious career. Dazzling and emotional, Symphonic Dances is a dynamic piece that is also deeply beautiful and engaging.

Award-winning conductor Robert Franz is the Music Director of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra and the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival Orchestra and is Associate Conductor of the Houston Symphony. Recent guest conducting appearances include The Cleveland Orchestra, the Baltimore, St. Louis, and Victoria Symphonies, and the Orchestra da Camera Fiorentina in Italy. An award-winning educator, he founded and co-directed the inaugural season of the Idaho Orchestra Institute in 2017. Known for galvanizing audiences, Franz has developed collaborations across Windsor in his five years as Windsor Symphony’s Music Director. Upcoming programming includes his innovative project to bring together members of youth orchestras from Windsor, Detroit, and Guanajuato, Mexico, for a series of workshops and performances. As Associate Conductor of the Houston Symphony, Franz was honored with the Raphael Fliegel Award for Visionary Leadership in recognition of his immense success in advancing the organization’s educational and community engagement activities. During his tenure, attendance at family and educational concerts has almost doubled. Franz marked his eighth year as Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival Orchestra Music Director by directing the festival orchestra and mentoring aspiring conductors. ASCAP has recognized Franz on two occasions for his advocacy in arts education. Under his direction, both the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Louisville Orchestra were awarded the Leonard Bernstein Award for Educational Programming. Franz received his Master of Music degree in conducting and his Bachelor of Music degree in oboe performance from the North Carolina School of the Arts.

Dovid Friedlander has been the Associate Concertmaster of the North Carolina Symphony since 2005. Before coming to Raleigh, Friedlander played with the Columbus Symphony and as Assistant Concertmaster with the San Antonio Symphony. Other performing experience includes the Boston Symphony at Tanglewood Music Festival conducted by Seiji Ozawa and Claudio Abbado and the Pittsburgh Symphony both in the US and abroad on tour, under the baton of Mariss Jansons. In addition to his duties as Associate Concertmaster, Friedlander has served as the Concertmaster for hundreds of educational shows performed around the state of North Carolina. He is also the Concertmaster during the summer season at Koka Booth Amphitheater in Cary, North Carolina. Friedlander has performed as a soloist on numerous occasions with the North Carolina Symphony and in February 2019, he will perform selections from Tchaikovsky and John Williams as a soloist. Friedlander can also be found performing chamber music around the city of Raleigh through existing concert series and his own founded series, Classical Hang. In addition, he has performed chamber music with Branford Marsalis, Clara Yang, Atar Arad, members of the Ciompi String Quartet, and Christopher Taylor. Starting at an early age, Friedlander studied with some of the most esteemed violin pedagogs in the world. At the age of 9, he attended the famed Meadowmount violin camp for eight summers in a row. As a college student, Friedlander studied at Eastman School of Music and Cleveland Institute with Cleveland Orchestra Concertmaster, William Preucil and in the summer with Kathleen Winkler. Friedlander currently plays on a Joseph Curtin from 1996 and plays an early Eugene Sartory bow from 1905. For full artist biographies, please visit

This concert and the Winston-Salem Symphony are sponsored by Season Presenting Sponsors Bell, Davis, & Pitt, P.A. and BB&T; Music Director Search Presenting Sponsor Mrs. Charles M. Howell; Music Director Candidate Sponsor Bill & Judy Watson; Classics Media Sponsors Fox 8 WGHP and 89.9 FM WDAV Classical Public Radio; as well as the Arts Council of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County and the North Carolina Arts Council.

About the Winston-Salem Symphony

The Winston-Salem Symphony, one of the Southeast’s most highly regarded regional orchestras, began its 72nd season in October 2018. The season will include performances featuring the five finalists for the Music Director position. Each candidate will conduct a pair of Classics Series concerts, and attendees will have a chance to play a role in the selection process. In addition, the 2018–2019 season will include a Plugged-In Pops series, Discovery Concerts for Kids series, an annual performance of Handel’s Messiah, the Concert for Community featuring Winston-Salem Symphony and Youth Symphony musicians, holiday concerts, three youth orchestra ensembles, and a multitude of educational and community engagement programs, including the newest offering, the P.L.A.Y. (Piedmont Learning Academy for Youth) Music program providing, primarily to under-served youth, instrumental music instruction and more. The Symphony is supported by Season Presenting Sponsors BB&T and Bell, Davis & Pitt, P.A., as well as generous funding from the Arts Council of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County, the North Carolina Arts Council, and other dedicated sponsors. For more information, visit

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This project was supported by the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources.

The Winston-Salem Symphony receives operational funding from The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County

Educational initiatives made possible with funding by Wells Fargo, The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County and The Winston-Salem and Forsyth County Schools.