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MSO narrows maestro search to four

December 10, 1997

MSO narrows maestro search to four

By GUY FLETCHER

Staff Writer

The search for a Maryland Symphony Orchestra conductor to succeed Barry Tuckwell has been narrowed down to four candidates, who will display their skills during performances next year.

"This is an outstanding group," said Dr. J. Emmet Burke, chairman of the MSO's board of the directors.

The finalists include:

* Edward Cumming, resident conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, where he has conducted education, pops and community outreach concerts throughout western Pennsylvania. Cumming also worked with the Florida Orchestra and the Pacific Orchestra.

* Barry Jekowsky, associate conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra and founder/music director of the 10-year-old California Symphony Orchestra.

Jekowsky has conducted many orchestras and was principal timpanist for the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra for 14 years.

* Elizabeth Schulze, associate conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra. Schulze also was music director and conductor of several orchestras and was the recipient of the first Aspen Music School Conducting Award in 1991.

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* Markand Thakar, a member of the cover conducting staff for the New York Philharmonic. Thakar is former associate conductor of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and conductor of the Eugene Symphony's Night Music pops series.

"We're extremely pleased," said Bennett Rubin, chairman of the nine-member search committee.

The committee's task began earlier this year with about 253 resumes. The field was narrowed to 36 in mid-June and to 12 in mid-August.

One candidate dropped out, and interviews were conducted with the 11 remaining candidates before the final four were selected.

"It was difficult (to select the finalists). We had so many good candidates. Some of those who didn't make the cut were very qualified," Rubin said.

Tuckwell will leave the Hagerstown-based symphony at the end of the 1997-98 season. In his place next year, each of the finalists will conduct one weekend series. Other MSO performances will be filled out by guest conductors, said MSO managing director Marc D. Levy.

After the performances by the conductor candidates, musicians and audience members will fill out surveys that will be used when the committee makes its final selection in the spring of 1999, Rubin said.

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