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Elizabeth Schulze to lead MSO

March 08, 1999

Elizabeth ShulzeBy KATE COLEMAN / Staff Writer

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Elizabeth Schulze, formerly associate conductor of Washington's National Symphony Orchestra, has been chosen the new music director of the Maryland Symphony Orchestra.

Alan J. Noia, president of the MSO board of directors, announced her appointment at a news conference at the Four Points Hotel-Sheraton on Monday.

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Schulze, 41, succeeds Barry Tuckwell, the world-renowned French horn player, who was the founding music director and conductor of the MSO for its first 16 concert seasons. He resigned at the end of the 1997-1998 season.

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Schulze recently completed a four-year appointment as associate conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra and was music director and conductor of the Waterloo/Cedar Falls Symphony Orchestra in Iowa from 1994 to 1997.

She previously spent seven years as music director and conductor of the Kenosha Symphony Orchestra in Wisconsin.

Schulze worked with Tuckwell eight or nine years ago during her tenure in Kenosha. She called it a "watershed experience."

"To be given the mantle to follow a musician of such high quality is rather overwhelming," she said.

The national search for a new music director attracted more than 250 candidates.

The MSO's 17th season has been a series of auditions. Each of the candidates put together a program, selected a soloist and conducted the orchestra in front of audiences.

A 12-member search committee, composed of MSO musicians and board members and chaired by Bennett S. Rubin made the selection.

"It's been 2 1/2 years of intensive, exhaustive search," Rubin said.

When she learned last week that she had been selected, Schulze said she was "Absolutely ecstatic. 'Oh, boy!' Jumping-up-and-down excited."

Although her three-year contract doesn't demand it, Schulze said she plans to move to the area. She wants to begin to reach out to the schools, and that involves being around, she said.

Schulze said she heard Mozart and Beethoven in the womb. She started violin lessons at the age of 7.

To be a conductor, you have to need to make music in collaboration with fine musicians, Schulze said. "It has to be an overwhelming need."

"I think the greatest challenge is to continue to emphasize the relevance of high art, the great art, the best efforts. Everyone deserves to hear the very best," she said.

"This is for me a thrilling opportunity to work with some people who I believe are the best in the business," she said.

Joseph J. McIntyre, the MSO's principal tympanist who has been with the orchestra since its beginning, said he wasn't surprised by the choice of Schulze.

"I think she'll be good for the orchestra ... I think she communicates well with the group on a number of levels," he said.

Schulze's first performance with the MSO as music director will be Friday, March 19, at 8:30 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center on the Frostburg State University campus in Frostburg, Md.

The orchestra will conclude its 17th concert season Saturday, March 20, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, March 21, at 3 p.m., at The Maryland Theatre, 21 S. Potomac St. in Hagerstown. Prelude, a discussion of the concert program, begins one hour before each performance.

Schulze will conduct the MSO in performance of Beethoven's "Symphony No. 3," Copland's "Quiet City" and Stravinsky's "Firebird Suite."

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