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How Does a Symphony Work? Answers at Last

It’s 7:55 p.m. and you are settling into your seat at the concert hall. You are about to be transported into a world of pure, powerful orchestral sound. But an orchestra is a complex engine, with many hands working behind the scenes to help create the magic. How does it all come together?

You are invited to join the North Carolina Symphony for a look at the mechanism behind the music on eleven Mondays from Sept. 13 to Dec. 6, 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at the Bishop’s House on Duke University’s East Campus in Durham.

Working on the theory that becoming educated is a never-ending process, Duke’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute has offered fascinating courses on a myriad of topics to the public since 1977.

Organized by Symphony Director of Artistic Programs and Partnerships Amy Russell, this series of talks with North Carolina Symphony conductors, staff members, orchestra musicians and other members of the community will give participants an insider’s look at the workings of a modern symphony orchestra, from fundraising to auditions to a day in the life of a symphony librarian.

“In every session,” says Russell, “we’ll focus on a new topic that will help participants understand how we bring great performances to concertgoers and a solid foundation in music education to students. Our instructors are creative and seasoned pros who will bring a wide variety of perspectives and teaching styles to the classroom. We’ll talk about what it takes to run the North Carolina Symphony and we’ll also discuss relevant topics throughout the orchestra industry today.”

The 1500-member Osher Institute is part of Duke Continuing Studies, under the direction of Dr. Paula Gilbert. Registration is open now and ends on Aug. 17. To register, call the Institute at 919.681.3476 or visit

For more information on the North Carolina Symphony, visit

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