The Durham Herald-Sun reported that after the awards were received Sunday, Taylor and the orchestra joined forces to perform Taylor's classic hit "Carolina In My Mind."
The ceremony, in which the recipients received numerous standing ovations, took place at UNC's Memorial Hall.
Taylor grew up in Chapel Hill and his father served as the dean of the UNC School of Medicine, the newspaper said. The symphony also has ties, having been founded in Chapel Hill.
"It draws a line to my own personal history and connects me again to a place that I go to in my dreams," said Taylor. "A landscape that will always be a part of me."