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  • Neil Lerner


City in North Carolina (pop. 731,424; metropolitan area 1,758,038; 2010 US Census). Founded in the mid-18th century at the intersection of two Native American trading paths and incorporated in 1768, Charlotte, North Carolina was named after Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (a patron of the London Bach, Johann Christian Bach). As North Carolina’s largest city, Charlotte has nurtured a thriving musical culture that encompasses both cultivated and vernacular styles. While relatively little documentation has surfaced describing musical activity before the Civil War, there is evidence of music occurring as part of religious services, medicine shows, tent shows, circuses, and dances, among other expected places. The Charlotte Female Institute, founded in the 1850s and later changed to Presbyterian College and then Queens College, provided faculty who were among the first to promote cultivated music in the area, as did faculty associated with the Elizabeth College Conservatory of Music. In the following century, several area institutions of higher learning—including Davidson College, which added a music program in the 1930s, and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, which added programs after World War II—would later make important contributions to Charlotte’s musical life by sponsoring public performances by students, faculty, and guest artists....

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