In the NC Symphony’s 90-year history, it’s had just five music directors—conductors who lead the state’s best musicians, decide what they play, and shape the symphony’s future. Now, after a long wait, the symphony has appointed its sixth musical director, Carlos Miguel Prieto, who is expected to lead the ensemble for years to come.

Prieto takes the place of former director Grant Llewellyn, who conducted the symphony for 16 years before stepping down in 2020 and moving back home to Wales. Llewellyn was known for raising the caliber of the NC Symphony and conducting difficult and technically challenging works like Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben. 

Prieto, who has been a regular guest conductor with the N.C. Symphony since 2011, was named acting music director for the orchestra’s 2022-23 season. His initial four-year term as director will officially start in fall 2023. 

Prieto is “celebrated worldwide for his collaborative style, charismatic conducting…premiering and personally commissioning works by composers of the Americas, and his efforts to foster cultural exchange through music,” a news release stated. 

During his time with the NC Symphony, Prieto has led the orchestra in a “range of adventurous programs featuring works by Anna Clyne, Gabriela Ortiz, and many others.”

Orchestra leaders are “thrilled” to bring Prieto onboard, according to the release. Several spoke of his chemistry and affinity with the musicians. 

Prieto, who grew up in Mexico City, said in the news release that he accepts the role with a combination of “great joy, gratitude, and a deep sense of responsibility.”

“For the last twenty years I have toured every country in the Americas, and am convinced that an orchestra can, and must play a huge role in bringing diverse people together, building communities through the universal power of music,” he said. “(I) look forward to serving with all my energy and love.” 

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