The Charlotte Symphony Orchestra hits the road

The Arts

March 28, 2024

CSO Roadhow mobile stage art

It’s a Road to Joy this spring as neighbors across the Queen City enjoy live music presented by the CSO.

by Sharon Smith

There’s a saying, “Let the music move you.” In this case, the Charlotte Symphony is moving the music — going mobile — so more people can experience it, free and in-person.

The CSO Roadshow concert series starts late April with performances scheduled through June and more to come this fall. About 25-30 musicians will take the stage on a 40-foot trailer with Resident Conductor Christopher James Lees leading the first few shows. 

Artist Rosalía Torres-Weiner, who created digital art to wrap the trailer, calls it “a visual symphony on wheels.” The bright, whimsical design, inspired by Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy,” features a pianist, flutist and an array of instruments. Torres-Weiner says this “Road to Joy” illustrates the inclusivity and the transformative power of music.  

A view of the mobile stage during the City of Charlotte’s ribbon-cutting ceremony

Some concerts may have more of a walk-up street-fair vibe. Others will be more suited to bring a blanket and a picnic. Either way, CSO Roadshow creates easier access to live music for everyone, which is part of the Symphony’s mission. “We want to balance our role as an anchor tenant of the Blumenthal venues uptown, where we contribute to the energy and vibrancy of the city center, with our desire to meet people where they are, in neighborhoods, parks and other public spaces across the city and the county,” says David Fisk, CEO and president of the symphony.

Fisk looked to the success of a similar program in Richmond, Va., and studied how symphonies across the country are connecting with new audiences through neighborhood concerts. He hopes CSO Roadshow adds energy and vitality to each neighborhood setting — and inspires kids to be music-makers, too.

CSO Roadshow presents its first concert on Sunday, April 28, at the Latin American Coalition in east Charlotte. Funding for the project was made possible through several grants.  SP

Featured image: A portion of “Road to Joy,” artwork created by Rosalía Torres-Weiner which adorns the CSO mobile stage.

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