Past Programming

Raleigh Civic Orchestras
Peter Askim, Conductor

All concert programs below consist of collaborative, cross-disciplinary events focused on a central theme. These concerts often feature guest speakers and/or panelists, and include partnerships across both campus and the community. The orchestras have presented the World Premiere of a newly-commissioned musical work on every concert for the last eight seasons. Two-thirds of those works have been by women or BIPOC composers.

Raleigh Civic Chamber Orchestra

Anna Clyne – Restless Oceans
Polina Nazaykinskaya – Fenix
Louise Farrenc – Symphony No. 2 in D Major

Raleigh Civic Symphony
Romantic Excursions: Coleridge-Taylor & Berlioz

David Glover, conductor
Kurt Tseng, viola

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: Petite Suite
Hector Berlioz: Harold in Italy

Experience the lush and evocative sounds of the Romantic era beginning with Coleridge-Taylor’s charming Petite Suite, followed by Berlioz’s Harold in Italy, a captivating symphonic narrative carrying listeners through picturesque scenes and vibrant emotions. Join us for an evening of musical storytelling that celebrates the rich tapestry of 19th-century Romanticism featuring violist Kurt Tseng, Associate Principal of the North Carolina Symphony.

Rituals and Renewals

The Raleigh Civic Chamber Orchestra performs the World Premiere of two new works inspired by cycles of the natural world: Nowruz by composer Adeliia Faizullina, and ao kuewa by Pulitzer Prize Finalist Leilehua Lanzilotti.

Nowruz is the holiday celebrating the arrival of spring and a new day, throughout the Persian, Arabic and Turkic speaking worlds. In the piece, a new light is born; it is young and innocent, like a child that will grow up to be big and all-embracing, to give its warmth to new life. But the light, too, is cold, carrying the shadow of winter. Can it become the Light of Renewal? Faizullina is an Uzbekistan-born Tatar composer, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and quray player, who happens to be blind. She explores cutting-edge vocal colors and paints delicate and vibrant atmospheres inspired by the music and poetry of Tatar folklore.

ao kuewa tells the story of renewal after destruction, and the importance of taking care of the land. Traditionally, it was thought that certain trees were homes for spirits. When people cut down all the trees and destroyed some of the natural habitats, that it caused a crisis of these spirits not having a place. Only through the dedication of restoring the land, do the spirits find renewal.

The program also includes two atmospheric French works, groundbreaking 19th-century composer Augusta Holmès’ La nuit et l’amour and Arthur Honegger’s evocative portrait of the countryside in summer, Pastorale d’ete. Kodály’s driving, joyous Dances of Marosszék, inspired by the folk melodies of his native land, rounds out the program.

Daniel Bernard Roumain & Raleigh Civic Symphony

The NC State/Raleigh Civic Symphony and conductor Peter Askim celebrate the 50th Anniversary of NC State LIVE with a World Premiere by Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR) entitled Our Imaginary Daughter for Violin, Cello, Spoken Word Artist and Orchestra, commissioned by NC State LIVE. Roumain writes: “The words are a conversation with an imaginary, Black daughter I have never had—all the things I would want her to know and feel and think and feel and be. From Iran to Pakistan to China, women of color are under siege (when have they not been?) and this is a way for me (for us) to respond to the brutality they face everyday.”

Roumain’s new work, with a libretto by Haitian-American poet and actor Kaitlyn Boyer, is a type of “community concerto,” highlighting local musicians –  talented high school violinist Felicia Adizue and Shana Tucker, a self-described cellist, singer-songwriter, arts advocate, teaching artist, collaborator and cultural conduit. The program also includes rising star cellist Tristen Johnson and United Strings of Color, a string quartet of Black high school artists dedicated to addressing racial disparity in classical music through music education and community engagement.

The concert, featuring music by Black composers from across three centuries, includes Margaret Bond’s monumental Montgomery Variations, a meditation on the Civil Rights movement and based on the spiritual “I Want Jesus to Walk with Me” and music from Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Othello. The orchestra also performs Roumain’s epic Voodoo Violin Concerto with the composer as soloist, almost 20 years to the day from when it first performed it with him under the direction of Randy Foy.

Felicia Adizue and Shana Tucker, Soloists
Libretto by Kaitlyn Boyer

With Guest Artists United Strings of Color performing String Quartet No. 3, “Powell” and talented high school cellist Tristen Johnson performing Daniel Bernard Roumain’s Why Did They Kill Sandra Bland.

The Great Animal Orchestra Symphony

In collaboration with eleven campus and community organizations, including the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, the South East Climate Adaptation Science Center, the NC State Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and the NC College of Natural Resources, the NC State/Raleigh Civic Symphony presented a concert focused on humankind’s complex relationships with the natural world, and the challenges they pose. The musical centerpiece of the program was composer Richard Blackford’s Great Animal Orchestra Symphony, which combined recordings by soundscape ecologist’s Bernie Krause of animals in their natural environments with a live symphony orchestra. (Mr. Krause’s TED Talk “The Voice of the Natural World” has been viewed over 1.25 million times.)

Events surrounding the concert included a pre-concert Sustainability Showcase featuring community and campus sustainability and environmental organizations, including faculty and student research posters, educational materials about climate, and a live-animal petting zoo. A post-concert panel discussion focused on the intersection of the arts and sciences, and on the potential of music to inform the public about Global Change. NC State graduate student Lindsay Maudlin used the events to research the effects of a musical performance on emotional receptivity of audiences to scientific information. The research was later published in the paper “Assessing How Attending A Concert And/Or A Science Café about Global Change Alters The Engagement, Conceptions, Perspective, Attitudes, and Behaviors of Attendees.”

Musical Program:
Peter Askim: The Green Earth New… (World Premiere)
Richard Blackford: The Great Animal Orchestra Symphony

Brickyard Broadcast for Online Orchestras, Choirs and Virtual Reality

Brickyard Broadcast was a pandemic-era work by Lisa Bielawa (Composer & Producer) for hundreds of NC State and community musicians that had its world premiere in a video game-like Virtual Reality (VR) environment. It used technology and interactivity to reinterpret the NC State Brickyard, the university’s beloved and iconic gathering area outside of D.H. Hill Jr. Library, as a virtual space in which the musical performance unfolds. Hundreds of audio recordings were integrated, created over the course of the fall 2020 semester by individual student and community musicians playing and singing in isolation, creating an immersive, spatialized sound experience for anyone who visited the site. Every audience member’s experience was completely unique, depending on how they choose to move among the sounds they hear. Musicians from NC State University choirs, NC State’s Raleigh Civic orchestras, and the Concert Singers of Cary participated. Digital Media staff from the NC State Libraries led the creation of the VR environment and the online premiere performances.

Brickyard Broadcast was premiered in a live event on November 12, 2020. The Brickyard Broadcast VR environment remains online, accessible to the public for free.

For more information, visit:

“unfinished…”: Music of Trauma, Healing and Hope

Featuring the first-ever symphony by an Afghan composer, the concert centered on the intergenerational transmission of trauma, specifically through the Holocaust, slavery, and the plight of Afghan refugees. Paired with Schubert’s beloved “Unfinished” Symphony, the concert highlighted how each of these legacies is “unfinished” as long as our moral work is incomplete and the resulting trauma lives on. In collaboration with NC State Prevention Services and the NC State Sustainability Fund.

Musical Program:
Franz Schubert: Symphony No. 8, “Unfinished”
Allison Loggins-Hull: The Inheritors Overture
Milad Yousufi: Dear Kabul (World Premiere, First Symphony by an Afghan Composer)

Our Voices Will Be Heard: A Celebration of Women’s Suffrage and the Voting Rights Act

In celebration of the anniversaries of the 19th Amendment and the Voting Rights Act, the NC State/Raleigh Civic Symphony collaborated with NC State College of Design Assistant Professor Dr. Derek Ham and Melanie Graham (NC State Department of English) to create an immersive, multi-disciplinary 360° audio-visual experience for audience members. For the World Premiere of a newly-commissioned composition by Serbian composer Aleksandra Vrebalov, the audience viewed Virtual Reality content created by undergraduate students from the NC State College of Design through custom NC State-branded Google Cardboard viewers, while members of the orchestra performed the music from around the perimeter of Stewart Theatre, creating a “surround-sound” experience for the audience by literally surrounding them.

The events connected to the program included pre-concert voter registration in the lobby, a talk by guest speaker Rebecca Boggs Roberts (Smithsonian Institution, author of Suffragists in Washington, DC: The 1913 Parade and the Fight for the Vote) and a panel discussion with Dr. Kristen Turner, NCSU Musicology faculty; Dr. Blair Kelley, NCSU Assistant Dean for Interdisciplinary Studies and International Programs; Dr. Deb Royals-Mizerk, Founder of Justice Theater Project; and Dr. Joyce Russell, St. Augustine’s University Professor of English.


Musical Program:
Joan Tower: Second Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman
Ethel Smyth: March of the Women
Florence Price: Andante from the Violin Concerto
Ethel Smyth: Adagio con moto from String Quintet in E Major, Op. 1 (Arranged by Peter Askim)
Florence Price: Ethiopia’s Shadow in America (American Premiere)
Aleksandra Vrebalov: Our Voices for 360° Surround-Orchestra and VR (World Premiere)

Paths To Dignity: Music of Hunger, Homelessness and Hope

Spotlighting the issues of homelessness and food insecurity, the event’s centerpiece was a concert program of music centered on community, dignity, and empathy. The program featured NC State Department of Music faculty mezzo-soprano Jennifer Beattie and Los Angeles Philharmonic violinist Mitchell Newman, who was the soloist for the world premiere of selections from Lucas Richman’s Concerto for Violin: Paths to Dignity.

The concert was the culmination of an artistic residency by Mr. Newman and Mr. Richman, including community outreach, workshops with students, and performances at Healing Transitions and Oak City Cares, local organizations serving  homeless populations. As part of the event, partnerships with eight local organizations included a pre-concert Advocacy Showcase, a post-concert panel discussion and 50 complimentary tickets provided to homeless and formerly homeless persons. NC State School of Social Work faculty Dr. David Fitzpatrick moderated a panel discussion with campus and community leaders. The highlight of the concert was a musical selection by Reena Esmail which centered the stories of those affected by homelessness, allowing them to share their experiences with the audience, telling their stories in their own words.

Musical Program:
Ludwig van Beethoven: Coriolan Overture, Op. 62
Johann Sebastien Bach: Erbarme dich, mein Gott
Gustav Mahler: Urlicht
    Jennifer Beattie, Mezzo-Soprano
Peter Askim: The Raw Heart of the Spinning World
Reena Esmail: Take What You Need
Lucas Richman: Concerto for Violin: Paths To Dignity
   Mitchell Newman, Violin

Echoes of Futures Past: Technology and the Power of Long-Distance Collaboration

The centerpiece of the Echoes program was the World Premiere of composer/violist Trevor New’s Echoes from Our Digital World. The work was a long-distance, real-time collaboration between Mr. New, performing live from New York City’s Broadway, and the members of the NC State/Raleigh Civic Chamber Orchestra, performing live at NC State’s Stewart Theatre. The performance was based on extensive pandemic-era experiments in minimizing audio/video latency and optimizing both technology and musical composition techniques to allow for real-time, long-distance collaborationsThe event was in collaboration with New York’s Kaufman Music Center as part of their Musical Storefronts series, in which performers played safely inside store windows on Broadway for an audience listening outside. This program was the only one to network performers across hundreds of miles

Musical Program:
Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel: Overture in C
Trevor New: Echoes from Our Digital World (World Premiere)
   Trevor New, Virtual Soloist (Live from NY via Internet)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Alleluia from Exsultate, Jubilate 
Max Reger: Mariä Wiegenlied
Samuel Barber: Knoxville: Summer of 1915 
   Melissa Wimbish, Soprano

The Dream Is Alive: Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.’s Rocky Mount, NC “I Have A Dream” Speech

On November 27, 1962, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave an early version of his “I Have A Dream” speech in Rocky Mount, NC (nine months prior to his Lincoln Memorial speech). Using exclusive, never-before publicly heard audio of the speech (found in a local attic), composer Jeffrey Scott, NC State English Professor Dr. Jason Miller and filmmaker Rebecca Cerese created the multi-media Sinfonietta of Dreams for Gospel Choir and Orchestra. The concert included a panel discussion on King’s North Carolina ties, and on the intersection of the arts and activism.

Musical Program:
Joseph Bologne: Symphony No. 2
William Grant Still: Mother and Child
Margaret Douroux: Day and Night Praise
Jeff Scott: Sinfonietta of Dreams for Gospel Choir and Orchestra (World Premiere)

The Other Side of Hungry River: Mental Health in Music 

The concert explored the complex legacy of North Carolina’s psychiatric institutions with the World Premiere of Grammy-nominated Raleigh native Tift Merritt’s The Other Side of Hungry River. Based on her research in the archives of the shuttered Dorothea Dix Hospital, the music centers the personal stories of those marginalized by society and by their families – committed to institutions, often against their will.

The music on the concert highlighted the use of rivers as a metaphor for the struggle for dignity, freedom and wholeness. The program foregrounded music of Schumann and Tchaikovsky, composers both afflicted by mental illness. The concert featured guest speaker Dr. Bre’ana Parker of the NC State Dept. of Educational Leadership, Policy and Human Development’s Counselor Education Program.

Musical Program:
Robert Schumann: Symphony No. 3 in E-Flat Major, Op. 97, “Rhenish”
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Selections from Incidental Music for Hamlet 
Jonathan Bailey Holland: Halcyon Sun
Clint Needham: Southern Air 
Tift Merritt: The Other Side of Hungry River (World Premiere)

Revolution 1917: Music of Soviet Russia

In commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the Russian Revolution, the program centered on the roles of the artist and the challenges of artistic expression in the Soviet Union. With a premiere by Uzbek composer Lilia Ugay and a performance by NC State Department of Music faculty pianist Dr. Olga Kleiankina, the program also featured a keynote address by Russian specialist, NC State Department of History faculty Dr. Dan Bolger Lieutenant General, U.S. Army (Ret.). A panel discussion on the intersection of art, history, censorship, and politics followed the concert.
Musical Program:
Liliya Ugay: To The Lost World (World Premiere)
Alfred Schnittke: Piano Quartet for String Orchestra 
Dmitri Shostakovich: Five Fragments
Dmitri Shostakovich: Piano Concerto No. 2 
    Dr. Olga Kleiankina, Piano

Music of the Mountains: A Celebration of the Blue Ridge Mountains

Centered on the unique cultural and ecological treasures of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the concert presented the World Premiere of the first-ever Bluegrass Viola Concerto, Blue Ridge Seasons, by Donald Reid Womack, featuring a multi-media journey through the Blue Ridge mountains. The concert was preceded by a Pre-Concert Sustainability Showcase with Special Guests Grass Street Bluegrass Band and included a talk by keynote speaker Paul Schiminger, Executive Director of the International Bluegrass Music Association. A post-concert panel discussion featured Chris Canfield, Executive Director of the Conservation Trust for North Carolina and Richard Emmett, Program Director of Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation/Blue Ridge Music Center. In collaboration with the NC State Sustainability Fund.

Musical Program:
Aaron Copland: Appalachian Spring
Donald Reid Womack: Blue Ridge Seasons: A Bluegrass Viola Concerto (World Premiere)
   Ralph Farris, Viola

Women at War: Music of the Trojan War and the Founding of Rome

The event was an examination of perspectives on the Trojan Wars through music and the role of women in both war and peace. The concert presented the premiere of a new work based on Aeneas’ largely unknown first wife, Lavinia. The program contextualized the music and Lavinia’s legacy (or lack thereof) in a talk by guest speaker Dr. Gary MatthewsNC State Classical Studies faculty.

Musical Program:
Hector Berlioz: Selections and arias from Les Troyens
Lisa Bielawa: The Trojan Women
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: “Padre, germani, addio!” from Idomeneo 
Henry Purcell: Dido’s Lament from Dido and Aeneas
Georgia Shreve: Lavinia (World Premiere)
Andrea Edith Moore, soprano; Jennifer Beattie, mezzo-soprano; Michael Boley, tenor
Ottorino Respighi: Selections from The Pines of Rome

American Light, American Vision

The concert centered on the World Premiere of a multimedia work by Grammy-nominated composer Christopher Cerrone and filmmaker Danie Harris for choir and orchestra, performed live to film. The work had been composed using collaborative technology during the pandemic, utilizing experimental recording and processing techniques to address the challenges of audio and video latency in real-time distance collaboration. In collaboration with the NC State Chorale, Dr. Nathan Leaf, Conductor.

Musical Program:
Aaron Copland: Four Dance Episodes from “Rodeo”
Anuj Bhutani: All the Light We Cannot See (World Premiere)
Christopher Cerrone: What Divine Instrument (World Premiere with Film Projection) 
Christopher Cerrone: “A Blessing” from The Branch Will Not Break 

100 Years of Parks: Music of Nature, Myth and Place

Commemorating 100 years of National Parks, the program highlighted music inspired by the natural world. It included the World Premiere of Grammy-winning guitarist/composer Jeff Peterson’s Malama ‘Aina: Concerto for Slack-Key Guitar, inspired by Hawai’i’s National Parks. The work is the first concerto written for the traditional Hawai’ian instrument, the slack-key guitar. The concert also featured the orchestra playing Virgil Thompson’s soundtrack for the groundbreaking environmental documentary The Plow That Broke the Plains, narrated by WRAL’s Bill Leslie. Dr. Larry Nielsen, of the NC State College of Natural Resources, gave the keynote talk.

Musical Program:
Felix Mendelssohn: Overture to The Fair Melusine
Claude Debussy: Prelude à l’aprés-midi d’un faune
Virgil Thomson: The Plow That Broke the Plains (Performed Live to Original Film)
   Bill Leslie, Narrator
Jeff Peterson: Malama ‘Aina: Concerto for Slack-Key Guitar (World Premiere)
   Jeff Peterson, Guitar Soloist, Composer

A River Runs Through It: Music of Rivers and Water

In collaboration with NC State Live’s Nile Project, the program examined the role of water in the lives of our communities and in the artistic imagination. With a panel discussion on the importance of healthy watersheds and a keynote talk by Erik Lars Myers, founder of Mystery Brewing, on the importance of healthy rivers to independent businesses.

Musical Program:
Charles Ives: The Housatonic at Stockbridge 
Bedřich Smetana: The Moldau
Josef Strauss: Amazonen Quadrille
Rufus Reid: Lake Tyrrell In Innisfree (World Premiere)
Ferde Grofé: Mississippi Suite

400 Years Since Shakespeare: Music Inspired by the Bard

In celebration of the 400th Anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, the Symphony presented music inspired by his work. The concert included dramatic scenes from Romeo and Juliet, read by Raleigh actors Lynda Clark and Ira David Wood III, interspersed with music from Prokofiev’s ballet of the same name. The program featured a keynote address by Dr. Christopher Crosbie, of NC State’s Department of English.

Musical Program:
William Walton: Preludeto Richard III
Edward Elgar: Falstaff Interludes, Op. 68, nos. XIV and XIX
Rob Deemer: Verona Dances (World Premiere)
Sergei Prokofiev: Selections from Romeo and Juliet                                
   Lynda Clark, Actor
   Ira David Wood III, Actor

Klimt’s Vienna: Art on the Brink

Fin de siècle Vienna was a time of great tumult and transition, with the impending downfall of the Austro-Hungarian empire coinciding with the rise of modernism. In a program spotlighting the art of Gustav Klimt, whose work straddled this period, the concert examined the collision of old and new. The concert featured a talk by NC State German Faculty Dr. James Brown and a collaboration with the NC State Dance Program. The concert also featured the World Premiere of Death Leaves a Cluttered City by Kronos Quartet cellist and composer Paul Wiancko. 

Musical Program:
Ludwig van Beethoven: Overture to Egmont, Op. 84
Gustav Mahler: Adagietto from Symphony No. 5
with Dancers of the NCSU Dance Program
   Tara Z. Mullins, Director and Choreographer
Franz Léhar: Gold und Silber, Op. 79
Johann Strauss II: “Meine Herr Marquis” and “Spiel’ ich die Unschuld vom Lande” from Die Fledermaus 
   Kathryn Mueller, Soprano
Paul Wiancko: Death Leaves a Cluttered City (World Premiere)