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New MSO conductor

March 09, 1999

Elizabeth Schulze, the new director of the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, has a wealth of musical credentials to recommend her for this post. But it was evident from her performance at Monday's press conference that she also has an engaging personality that should serve her well as she takes up the baton.

Schulze, whose appointment comes after a two-year search, said that the job is a "thrilling opportunity" in part because she would be following in the footsteps of Maestro Barry Tuckwell, who she described as a "musician of such high quality."

Though her contract doesn't require it, Schulze said she will move to the community, and looks upon it as part of her job to reach out to families and young people. Asked what she feels is the greatest challenge to serious music is to "continue to emphasize the relevance of great art."

To that end, she said she looks forward to meeting with young people in the community, not only because they're the future listeners, but also because some of them will be her colleagues in the orchestra 10 or 15 years down the road.

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Though her parents were both lovers of symphonic music, Schulze said her first real musical inspiration was Julie Andrews in "Mary Poppins." Trained in voice, Schulze held open the possibility that she would sing with the MSO at some point, perhaps at the annual July concert at the Antietam Battlefield.

In answer to other questions, Schulze hinted that MSO listeners might hear some different things in the years to come - Gershwin and Porter as well as Beethoven and Mozart, and a symphonic chorus as well as the traditional orchestral instrumentation.

As Schulze talked about the days to come, it seemed obvious that for her, part of the job is building enthusiasm within the schools and the community for what the MSO does. We wish her well, and commend the search committee for a job well done.

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