Oct. 13, 2010/For Immediate Release / photo of Kevin Zheng attached
Media Contact: Marla Carpenter, 336-770-3337, carpem@uncsa.edu



Under Direction of James Allbritten

WINSTON-SALEM – The University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) Symphony Orchestra will perform under the direction of School of Music faculty member James Allbritten at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 23, at UNCSA’s Stevens Center in downtown Winston-Salem.

Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students and seniors, and are available through the UNCSA Box Office at 336-721-1945 or online at www.uncsa.edu/performances.

Concerto Competition winner Kevin Zheng, an 11th-grade student of Kevin Lawrence at UNCSA, will play Maurice Ravel's Tzigane, Concert Rhapsody for Violin and Orchestra, with the UNCSA orchestra.

Kevin Zheng

Combining dazzling acrobatic feats with mercurial changes of character, this musical portrait of a gypsy is a touchstone of violinistic virtuosity. This spring, Zheng participated in the finals of the Menuhin Competition in Oslo, Norway, one the world's most elite assemblies of its kind. He has performed as soloist with the Winston-Salem, Raleigh and Durham symphonies as winner of competitions sponsored by these orchestras. After his performance of Paganini with the Durham Symphony earlier this year, a review in the Classical Voice of North Carolina praised Zheng's "amazing technical competence, musical sensitivity, and commanding stage presence."

The orchestra will also perform Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No. 3 in F Major, Op. 90; Samuel Barber’s Second Essay for Orchestra, Op. 17; and Robert Schumann’s Manfred Overture, Op. 115.

“I chose the Schumann and the Barber to celebrate the 200th birthday of the former and the 100th birthday of the latter,” Allbritten said.

Allbritten is the principal conductor for Piedmont Opera Theatre, of which he is artistic director, and where he recently triumphed with Verdi’s Il Trovatore, and where he has led Verdi’s La traviata and Rossini’s La Cenerentola, among numerous others. He has done likewise for the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute at UNCSA, where he holds the position of artistic director.

Next year Allbritten will be assuming a new role as interim conductor of the UNCSA Symphony Orchestra, which he has frequently guest conducted in the past. “After much discussion with the dean’s advisory council, which unanimously supported this idea, I have asked Jamie Allbritten to conduct the orchestra for the next couple of years,” UNCSA School of Music Dean Wade Weast announced. “His conducting will be supplemented by a guest conductor or two, which will provide our students with the much needed stability of a regular conductor as well as the perspective of an occasional guest.

“Our students will also continue to benefit, as they have in the past, from an occasional performance with Chancellor John Mauceri, as his schedule allows,” Weast said.

“Jamie has had wonderful successes with the opera orchestras and with the symphony orchestra here,” Chancellor Mauceri said. “He is an inspirational teacher, and a great citizen of Winston-Salem. I am delighted that he will be able to lead our instrumentalists.”

Originally from Louisville, Ky., Allbritten began his conducting studies at Indiana University under Jan Harrington, Robert Porco and Thomas Dunn. A member of the UNCSA School of Music faculty since 1993, he has conducted many performances including Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Donizetti’s Belisario, Britten’s Albert Herring, and Rorem’s Our Town. He has also led the school’s Festival Orchestra at Côte Vermeille and for the Flâneries Musicales d’Ete de Reims in France. In addition, he has led performances for Opera Theater of the Rockies, Opera Carolina, and the Winston-Salem Symphony.

The University of North Carolina School of the Arts is the first state-supported, residential school of its kind in the nation. Established as the North Carolina School of the Arts by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, UNCSA opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of Arts and Innovation”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina system in 1972. More than 1,100 students from high school through graduate school train for careers in the arts in five professional schools: Dance, Design and Production (including a Visual Arts Program), Drama, Filmmaking, and Music. UNCSA is the state’s only public arts conservatory, dedicated entirely to the professional training of talented students in the performing, visual and moving image arts. For more information, visit www.uncsa.edu.