Our History

Celebrating its twenty-fourth season in 2015-2016, the Carolina Chamber Symphony was founded as a chamber orchestra in 1992 by Robert Franz and a group of fellow musicians from the North Carolina School of the Arts.

The Story of the Carolina Chamber Symphony Players

Franz served as artistic director and conductor of the orchestra for ten years. Since its founding, the orchestra and its chamber ensembles delighted audiences with their artistry and excellence; commissioned and premiered new works by some of this country’s most gifted composers; featured guest artists of national renown in thrilling performances of chamber music repertoire; and provided exciting music education experiences for students of all ages. After Mr. Franz’s departure in 2002, the orchestra engaged a series of guest conductors, including Kate Tamarkin, Alfred Sturgis, Robert Chumbley and David Wiley.

Carolina Chamber Symphony Players Logo


In 2006 the organization added “Players” to its name to reflect a growing emphasis on small ensemble performances. The Carolina Chamber Symphony Players is focused on presenting outstanding chamber ensembles playing music of all genres in intimate settings, while the full orchestra continues to perform and to collaborate with other groups.


During the 2006-07 Season, CCSP launched its premiere Carolina Summer Music Festival during the middle two weeks of August. Currently, CCSP sponsors an annual summer music festival and a winter music festival. These festivals offer a diverse range of repertoire, including classical chamber music, jazz, tango, as well as dance and theatre. Performances are held in a wide variety of intimate and accessible venues in the Winston-Salem area. Growth of the two Festivals has been in part the result of collaborations with other local arts organizations, including Carolina Music Ways, Camel City Jazz Orchestra, Piedmont Chamber Singers, Peppercorn Children’s Theatre, and Forecast Music.

CCSP is among the most active musical organizations in North Carolina; this past season CCSP presented a total of sixteen concerts, and featured fifty North Carolina artists. As part of the collaborative nature of the organization, CCSP performs in a variety of venues in Winston-Salem, including Old Salem, Reynolda House Museum of American Art, The Hanesbrands Theatre, Piedmont Music Center, West End Millworks, Krankies Coffee and the Community Arts Café.


CCSP has developed comprehensive, multi-disciplinary school presentations. Past education programs include “Art as a Reflection of Society” for high school students, “A Musical View of 18th Century North Carolina and Beyond” for middle school students and “The Four Seasons” for elementary students. In 2006-07 CCS developed a chamber orchestra school program, “A Journey with Friends” featuring music by North Carolina composers, from the Moravian settlers to John Coltrane.


CCSP performs concerts and in-school programs throughout North Carolina and the Southeast. CCS has performed for audiences throughout North Carolina, as well as Virginia and Tennessee. In 2007-08 season the Chamber orchestra will perform in the newly renovated historic Turnage Theatre in Washington, NC.

Musical Partnerships

CCSP actively collaborates with guest artists and other artistic organizations to produce its season concerts, including the Bel Canto Company of Greensboro, Winston-Salem’s Piedmont Chamber Singers, and The Choral Society of Greensboro. The most recent partnership was in June 2007, when the orchestra was named house orchestra of Long Leaf Opera’s Festival, in Chapel Hill.

CCSP enjoys a unique partnership with the Graylyn International Conference Center, in which dinner concerts with varying musical themes are presented each season. The dinner concerts offer yet another opportunity to present both new and old music to the public.

Carolina Chamber Symphony Players is a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization, governed by a Board of Trustees, and is funded through ticket revenues, contributions from individuals, foundations, local businesses, and grants from local and State agencies.