Meet the Musicians 3

An Introduction to Four Members of the Charlotte Symphony

Music enriches our community. For 85 years, the Charlotte Symphony has served that belief through performances and outreach programs that entertain, educate and unify.

Founded in 1932 and led by internationally renowned Music Director Christopher Warren-Green, the Charlotte Symphony is the largest arts employer in the region, supporting 62 full-time musicians, bringing music everywhere from concert halls and schools to parks and pubs. The Symphony supports two youth orchestras, the Charlotte Symphony Chorus and many meaningful education and outreach programs.

Victor Wang, Principal Flute

How did your musical 
career begin?

I began playing the flute at age 9, and it was not long before I fell in love with the instrument. But I was a bit daunted by the prospect of pursuing music professionally—classical music is a very competitive field! I majored in biology in college, but around my junior year, I knew that, despite my nominal major, I wanted to be a flutist. I auditioned for a master’s degree in flute performance the next year.

What do you love most about your instrument?

Many musicians probably feel similarly about their own instruments, but to me, the sound of the flute has such a vocal quality, and the flute feels like such a natural vehicle for musical expression.

What’s unique about the Charlotte Symphony?

I am very excited about the diversity of our programming. Just this January, we presented a world premiere, locally written percussion concerto and the music from Star Wars. We get to play Verdi’s La Traviata with Opera Carolina, a mashup of Brahms and Radiohead, and a more casual brewery concert at NoDa Brewing, part of our new On Tap series.

Kari Giles, Assistant Concertmaster

How did your musical 
career begin?

There was always music in my house—my dad playing guitar, my mom singing—so I grew up loving it… For me it’s the most natural way to express myself and connect with other people.

What do you love most about 
your instrument?

My violin is my voice. I laugh when I think about the month or so that I thought I wanted to play flute as a kid. It seems silly now, I am just not a flute player! I love the warmth and colors of violin, and the feel of the wood.

What’s your favorite piece to play?

Each composer offers up his or her own challenges, and has a unique sound world. Each piece is a different story, and no matter how many times you play it there is another layer to discover. I do tend to gravitate towards the “B”s though: Bach, Beethoven, Brahms and Bartok.

Alan Black, Principal Cello

How did your musical career begin, and when did you first know you wanted to play music professionally?

My parents encouraged us to play an instrument and regularly took us to hear the Los Angeles Philharmonic. My sister, who is four years older than I am, played violin early on and I figured that, by playing cello, she and I could play duets. We never actually did that as kids, but since my sister is a professional violist in Boston, we do play together, and I have even done chamber music concerts with her here in Charlotte.

What do you love most about your instrument?

I love that the cello is a very singing instrument and is the only instrument in the orchestral family that has a range similar to the human voice.

What’s your favorite piece to play?

When I am playing orchestral music I would say Holst “The Planets” and Elgar “Enigma Variations” are two of my favorites. For cello, I have to say that J.S. Bach’s cello suites top my list, and for chamber music the Schubert C Major Quintet for Two Cellos is by far my favorite piece, although I also love playing Brahms Piano Trios.

Carlos Tarazona, Second Violin

How did your musical 
career begin?

I started playing the violin at the age 5. My mother was a medical doctor who played the violin on the side. She gave me my first violin and my first lessons… I guess I never imagined myself doing anything else.

What’s your favorite piece to play?

My favorite piece is Nutcracker. Some of Tchaikovsky’s best writings.

What makes Charlotte’s cultural scene special?

Charlotte’s cultural scene has grown so much since I first moved here in 2003. It has a ballet company, an opera company, a professional symphony orchestra, and new museums. My wife and I love attending plays at the theater.

What do you love most about your instrument?
What I most love about my violin is that it has always been by my side.