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WILLIAM HENRY CURRY is in his seventh season as Associate Conductor of the North Carolina Symphony. In July 2002, he was also named to the post of Interim Artistic Planning Advisor. He came to the North Carolina Symphony by way of New Orleans, where he served as Resident Conductor of the New Orleans Symphony. Curry serves as the artistic director for Summerfest and all North Carolina Symphony summer programs. He also conducts classical, educational, and pops concerts throughout the state.
A native of Pittsburgh, Curry started conducting at age 14. His first major appointment was at age 21 when he was named Assistant Conductor of the Richmond Chamber Orchestra. On the same day, he was called in to replace a conductor who suddenly became ill for a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, an unexpected debut was hailed by critics and audience alike. He went on to serve as Resident Conductor with the Baltimore Symphony for six years (1978-1983) and with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra for two years (1983-1985).
Curry was appointed Associate Conductor of the Indianapolis Symphony in 1983, a post he held until 1988, the same year he won the Leopold Stokowski Conducting Competition and performed in Carnegie Hall. He was featured conductor for the tour and recording of Anthony Davis’ Grammy-nominated opera X, The Life and Times of Malcolm X, and the New York City Opera’s U.S. premiere of The Mother of Three Sons by Leroy Jenkins with choreography by Bill T. Jones.
Curry’s other guest-conducting appearances have included performances with the Cleveland, Houston, National, Detroit, Denver, American, and San Diego Symphonies. In November of 1997 he made his debut with the Israel Camerata Jerusalem orchestra; his other international engagements have included performances in Bangkok with the Sai Jai Thai Orchestra and in Taipei with the National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan. This season he makes appearances as guest conductor with the Indianapolis, Detroit, New Jersey, and Mississippi Symphonies, as well as the Tulsa Philharmonic. In December 2002 he was guest conductor for the New York City Ballet in their Balanchine The Nutcracker.
William Henry Curry is also a composer, and his works have been played by many of America’s finest orchestras. In 1999, the Indianapolis Symphony, with actor Avery Brooks narrating, premiered his latest work, Eulogy for a Dream, based on the speeches and writings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It was broadcast nationally in January 2000 on National Public Radio’s Performance Today. With William Warfield narrating, the work had its North Carolina premiere in January 2001; the Triangle Youth Philharmonic and the Tar River Orchestra performed the work in January 2003.