Passing the Baton: The Search for a New Director
This season, the Charlottesville Symphony treated its audiences to a rich and artistically rewarding game of “pass the baton” by welcoming three Music Director finalists, one of whom will replace Kate Tamarkin who is retiring after eleven years on the podium. Following an extensive international search, the candidates were invited to Charlottesville, where each conducted three rehearsals and a pair of concerts, met with UVA administrators and music faculty members, taught sample classes, and interviewed with the search committee and the Charlottesville Symphony Society’s Board of Directors.
First up, last November was Benjamin Rous, the Resident Conductor of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra. He selected and conducted a program of works by Ligeti, Debussy, Stravinsky and Mozart, and featuring Israeli-born piano soloist Tomer Gewirtzman. Rous, also an accomplished violinist, violist and composer, has made guest conducting appearances with the National Symphony Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Long Beach Symphony, among others. In the summer months, he is the faculty conductor at the Greenwood Music Camp in western Massachusetts.
Adam Boyles arrived in February, and selected two contrasting works by Nordic musicians: Finnish composer Jean Sibelius’s Violin Concerto in D minor which featured violin soloist Bella Hristova, and Carl Nielsen’s Symphony No. 4 (the “Inextinguishable”) by Dane Carl Nielsen. Boyles is the Director of Orchestras at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Assistant Conductor of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. Previous Music Director positions include the Brookline Symphony Orchestra, the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra, Opera in the Ozarks, and MetroWest Opera. A trained singer, Mr. Boyles also served on the faculty at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Arizona.
Wrapping up the trio of finalists in March was Cheung Chau who led a program of works by Ravel, Schumann, and Tchaikovsky. Chau is the Director of Orchestral Studies at Utah Valley University, the Music Director of Sinfonietta Polonia in Poland, and Music Director of the Utah Valley Youth Symphony. He has been the Music Director of the Bloomington Symphony in Minnesota, the Central Pennsylvania Symphony, and the Manchester Symphony in Connecticut, as well as a faculty member at Haverford College and the University of Connecticut. Chau possesses extensive conducting credits with orchestras and ballet and opera companies in Europe, Asia, and North America. He has also concertized widely as a professional cellist.
An announcement of the next Music Director of the Charlottesville Symphony at the University of Virginia is expected this summer.