One of the best parts of this job is the opportunity to watch amazing musicians from close range, and it's been my privilege to be in the vicinity of some incredible players, from Doc Watson to Josuha Bell. I'm here to tell you that Andrew Tyson, a rising young classical pianist from Durham, is as good as any piano player I've ever seen. Tyson just turned 26 last month, and he's still making his way into the classical world, but I expect you'll be hearing plenty more about him before too long. For more, see the profile in Sunday's paper.
Over the past year, the North Carolina Symphony has endured the same fiscal trauma as every other arts organization in America, struggling to weather the recession. And the symphony has had added incentive to earn money, a challenge from the state legislature: Earn $8 million in revenue contributions in the fiscal year that ended June 30, and get another $1.5 million in funding.
To that end, the symphony held special fund-raising events this year including a Joshua Bell house concert in January and a Branford Marsalis benefit concert last month -- and it worked. Just in time, the symphony passed the $8 million mark by the end of June (with $44,000 to spare, even). So that extra $1.5 million should help make things a little less financially dire for the symphony going into next season.
Like all arts organizations, the N.C. Symphony is trying to ride out tough economic times. And at times like these, it's nice to know that you can depend upon the kindness of strangers -- like Joshua Bell, the virtuoso violinist who is scheduled to play Thursday night with the Symphony. Bell came into town a day early to play a private fund-raising event, a Wednesday night house concert/dinner party in Cary.