Audience input sought on new conductor

April 09, 1997


Staff Writer

Maryland Symphony Orchestra musicians and audience members will help determine who wields the baton after music director Barry Tuckwell leaves next year, said MSO officials, who have begun searching for his successor.

The plan is to narrow the pool of applicants to four finalists, who will have a chance to show their techniques during guest conductorships in the 1998-1999 season, said MSO board member Bennett S. Rubin, who is heading the search committee.

Each guest conductor will choose a program, rehearse the musicians and conduct two performances for one of the series concerts, Rubin said.


The musicians and audience members will be surveyed after each stint, and their input will be considered by the committee, he said.

The committee expects to have at least 200 applicants for Tuckwell's job.

Tuckwell will leave the post when his contract expires in June 1998, Rubin said.

Tuckwell, a world-renowned French horn player, has served as the orchestra's music director since its beginning in 1982.

A few letters of interest have come in since Tuckwell announced in July 1996 that he would leave at the end of the 1997-1998 season, Rubin said.

But the search didn't begin until the end of last month, when the committee advertised the position in an opportunities bulletin sent out by the Conductors Guild, he said.

The ad will go out again this week in an American Symphony Orchestra League mailing to people looking for music director positions, said MSO managing director Marc D. Levy.

The two publications will reach prospective applicants across the country, Levy said.

They could get applicants from outside the United States as well, said Rubin, who added that the job carries no local residency requirement.

It's common for a music director to be employed by more than one orchestra at a time, Rubin said.

That's fine, he said, as long as commitments to other jobs don't conflict with commitments to the MSO.

In addition to being available for rehearsals and concerts, the music director has to help with planning and promotion for the orchestra, serving as its spokesperson or "ambassador," and helping with fund-raising efforts, Rubin said.

"That's part of any music director position, to not just conduct or pick music but also help sell the product to the public," Levy said.

Although a candidate would have to meet the minimum criteria, which would include some experience, no one thing will weigh more than another in the selection process, he said.

No salary has been set for the position.

Levy said he and other MSO officials are confident that they'll have an excellent group of candidates from which to choose, in part because of Tuckwell's legacy.

"He's laid a great foundation that many musical directors are interested in following," he said.

Two MSO musicians - Denise Setny, principal cellist, and James Vaughn, a French horn player - are on the 10-member search committee, Rubin said.

The deadline for applying for the job is June 2, 1997.

Finalists and the 1998-99 program will be announced in March, 1998.

The new music director will be announced the following March and will start July 1, 1999.

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