Charlotte loves promoting itself as a “world-class city.” At times, the boast is hyperbolic. But not when it comes to top artistic talent.
To wit, Maestro Christopher Warren-Green of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra (and the London Chamber Orchestra!) will soon conduct the music at a wedding you may have heard about.
When Prince Harry weds Meghan Markle, Warren-Green will be at the helm of an orchestra comprised of musicians from the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the English Chamber Orchestra and the Philharmonia.
Charlotte’s sports heroes (Cam Newton and Michael Jordan, et al) get spotted and photographed everywhere they go. So does actress Angie Harmon. (She’s a Charlottean, too.) But there are A-list celebrities in the QC you may not recognize.
For instance, The Kennedy Center honoree Patricia McBride and her husband, Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, were at the helm of what was N.C. Dance Theater (now Charlotte Ballet) for years. McBride, who had a number of roles created just for her by the legendary George Ballanchine, danced with the New York City Ballet for 30 years. Bonnefoux, 75, was a star with the Paris Opera Ballet by the time he was 21. And you could run into them any time at Walgreen’s! (Not really. I don’t claim to know where they procure their prescription drugs.)
Best-selling authors Kathy Reichs and Webb Hubbell also call Charlotte home. (Both of them write thrillers.) Here are a few others who help prove the point that the Queen City is not just world-class in sports – but also in arts and letters.
First sign they were a power couple: Their 2002 wedding was featured in The New York Times. (They have one of my favorite first-date stories ever.)
Gavin Edwards, New York Times best-selling author (including the ‘Scuse Me While I Kiss This Guy series), Rolling Stone contributor
On Charlotte’s arts scene: “I’ve been really impressed by the artistic energy bubbling up from the artists in residence at the Goodyear and the McColl. It’s a pleasure to find world-class artists and writers in my backyard: people like de’Angelo Dia, Dustin Harbin, Taylor Williams, Lee Herrera and Jeff Jackson. This August, Penguin will be publishing an adult-creativity book I edited called The Beautiful Book of Exquisite Corpses. It’s got 110 contributors – and I’m delighted that number includes a dozen talented people from the Charlotte area.”
On relocating from L.A.: “I was just happy to be back in the Eastern time zone. The whole time we lived in Los Angeles, I felt like I was three hours behind the action.”
What he’d miss most if he left Charlotte: “The Four Mile Creek Greenway, the Metrolina Regional Scholars Academy and Bang Bang Burgers.”