Three vying for Two Rivers Chamber Orchestra's baton

July 24, 2011|By RICHARD F. BELISLE |
  • Jed Gaylin
Submitted photo

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. — When Mark McCoy left as chairman of Shepherd University’s music department earlier this month, he also left the Two Rivers Chamber Orchestra without a conductor.

Friends of Music, the community support group that McCoy helped organize in 2007 when he led the effort to create a local symphony orchestra, is seeking a successor to pick up McCoy’s baton. He announced in April that he was leaving Shepherd to take a position at DePauw University in Indiana.

Finding McCoy’s replacement will be a slow and deliberate process.

The five-member search committee, recruiting on national professional websites, has selected three candidates from among 14 who applied to audition for the job as the orchestra’s next permanent guest conductor.

The finalists are Tara Simoncic, Stephen Czarkowski and Jed Gaylin, according to Joanna Moomaw, operations manager for Two Rivers. Her office is in the university’s Frank Center.

Moomaw said the search committee ranked the candidates after poring over resumes, listening to DVDs of their live performances and hearing their musical suggestions for Two Rivers concerts.

“There were no face-to face interviews with anyone,” Moomaw said.

It will take the rest of this year and all of 2012 before the position is filled, said Dan Anderson, secretary of Friends of Music.

The orchestra’s concert season features two performances a year, in spring and fall. The finalists will come to Shepherd one at a time to lead the musicians through a concert under the watchful eyes of the search committee members.

Simoncic will conduct this season’s fall concert. Czarkowski will lead the 2012 season’s spring concert and Gaylin will direct the fall 2012 performance.

  • According to a Friends of Music release, Simoncic, of Harrisburg, Pa., just finished her ninth season as music director with the Norwalk, Ct., Youth Symphony. She has led the orchestra on international tours.

She has studied trumpet since age 6, has a bachelor’s degree in performance from the New England Conservatory of Music, a master’s in conducting from Northwestern University and further studies in conducting from the Manhattan School of Music.

Simoncic performed at Carnegie Hall and at Tanglewood, and studied overseas with many prestigious conductors, according to her resume.

  • Czarkowski, who lives in the Washington, D.C., area, is in demand nationally as a conductor, cellist and educator, the release said.

Moomaw said Czarkowski teaches cello as an adjunct at Shepherd University and is first chair in Two Rivers Chamber Orchestra concerts.

He is assistant conductor of the Opera Camerata of Washington, D.C., performs as its principal cellist and is the orchestra’s personnel manager.

Czarkowski is an active member of the Conductors Guild.

  • Gaylin has been the principal conductor of the National Film and Radio Philharmonic in Beijing since 2007, and was the principal guest conductor of the Sibiu State Philharmonic in Romania from 2002-06.

Gaylin’s other credits include conducting the Saint Petersburg State Symphony, Shanghai Conservatory Orchestra, Bucharest Radio Orchestra, as well as orchestras in Spain, Poland, Italy and the United States.

He taught at the Shangahi Conservatory and is a doctor of musical arts in conducting at Peabody Conservatory.

“We were sad to see Mark leave. This orchestra is his brainchild, but we’re excited for the applicants we have, and to see the new musical and conducting styles that they will bring to our audience,” Moomaw said.

McCoy, 47, a 1987 Shepherd graduate, earned a master’s degree at Peabody Conservatory and a Ph.D. at Texas Tech. He returned to Shepherd’s music department in 1995 and became the department chairman a year later.

He said in an interview in April that when he returned to Shepherd, the music department had 40 music majors and 10 members on the faculty. Today it has 140 music majors and 40 full- and part-time faculty members, he said.

Since its founding in 2007, Friends of Music has raised more than $500,000 for the university’s music department and the Two Rivers Chamber Orchestra, Moomaw said.

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