Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra has a new Musical Director

The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra’s international search for a new Music Director was announced in the spring of 2013. Over 12 months, a committee comprised of orchestra musicians and community members spent over 2000+ hours to screen a slate over more than 275 candidates from around the world to choose five finalists, who each conducted a classical program during the 2014-2015 season.

The finalists were,  Alondra de la Parra, Steven Jarvi, Eric Jacobsen, Dirk Meyer, and Leslie B. Dunner. On May 4th, patrons of the Philharmonic were invited to the Plaza Live Theater for a Sneak Peek to find out who would conduct the orchestra for the next season. As at the Academy Awards, a single sealed envelope sat on a music stand at center stage. Emily Lindahl was kind enough to be sure I found a seat up front to sketch from. As we bustled through the crowd, she let slip that HE was the perfect choice as conductor. So the list was whittled down to four finalists in my head now. If Orlando wasn't ready for a female conductor, would they be ready for an African American conductor? I didn't get to see every conductor perform, so I am unqualified to decide who should lead the Orchestra into the future. But I was certainly impressed with Alondra and Leslie, the conductors I did get to sketch.

 After much pomp and circumstance the envelope was opened and the tympani drum roll began. Eric Jacobsen's name was announced and the Philharmonic brass section played regal music from the balcony. Hailed by the New York Times as “an interpretive dynamo,” conductor and cellist Eric has built a reputation for engaging audiences with innovative and collaborative programming projects. As co-founder and Music Director of adventurous orchestra The Knights and a founding member of genre-defying string quartet Brooklyn Rider, he may take credit for helping to ensure “the future of classical music in America”. (Los Angeles Times).

David Schillhammer., the Philharmonics Executive Director sat on stage opposite Eric and together they announced the upcoming season. Eric must have some loose ends to tie up because there were quite a few concerts where a guest conductor had to fill in.

Mark Your Calendars! The Music Director Debut will be on Saturday October 24, 2015 at 8:00pm at the Bob Carr Theater. Eric Jacobsen will conduct and Joyce Yang will be on piano. Music Director Eric Jacobsen and the orchestra embark on their musical journey with two concerts featuring Van Cliburn silver medalist Joyce Yang, and a banquet of masterpieces spanning four centuries.

BEETHOVEN  Leonore Overture No. 3
TCHAIKOVSKY  Piano Concerto No. 1
RAVEL  Daphnis et Chloe: Suite No. 2

 For more information about all the other concerts coming up this season, be sure to check the Orlando Philharmonic web site.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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