Our History and Mission
Music Carolina, formerly the Carolina Chamber Symphony Players, started in 1992 as a chamber orchestra founded by conductor Robert Franz and a group of fellow musicians from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. The organization began to focus on small ensemble performances in 2006 and two years later premiered the Music Carolina SummerFest (formerly Carolina Summer Music Festival), which has since taken place each August in Winston-Salem. In 2012, Music Carolina added a WinterFest to its seasonal offerings, making it one of the most active musical organizations in North Carolina.
Much of the growth and success of the festivals has been the result of collaborations with other local music organizations, including Carolina Music Ways, Camel City Jazz Orchestra, and Piedmont Opera. In addition, Music Carolina has expanded its offerings in recent years to include theater and dance performances, collaborating with organizations such Peppercorn Children’s Theatre and the Interdisciplinary Performance and the Liberal Arts Center (IPLACe) at Wake Forest University. Music Carolina continues to present events in a variety of venues in Winston-Salem, including the Reynolda House Museum of American Art, Old Salem, Hanesbrands Theatre, Piedmont Music Center, West End Millworks, Muddy Creek Music Hall, and Wake Forest University.
In all of these offerings, Music Carolina’s mission remains constant: to present outstanding and affordable chamber music performances of all musical styles – including classical, jazz, tango and Americana – in a variety of intimate and accessible venues.