Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, April 14, 2023

CSO announces finalists for music director

The Chattanooga Symphony & Opera is vetting candidates to replace current music director Kayoko Dan, who’s announced her plans to step down from the position this fall.

After assessing over 100 candidates, the CSO’s music director Search Committee – which is made up of four CSO musicians, four board members and executive director John Kilkenny – narrowed the list to 13 semi-finalists.

Following interviews with each semi-finalist, the committee selected four finalists for the position, each of whom will lead the CSO for one program in the 2023-24 Barnett & Company Masterworks Series as part of their audition: Ilya Ram, Kalena Bovell, Andrew Crust and Jacomo Bairos.

German-based, Israeli-American conductor Ram serves as music director of the Leipziger Univesitätsorchester. His 2022-23 season highlights include his return to the Semperoper Dresden and to the stage of the Gewandhaus Leipzig with the LUO, as well as being spotlighted by the IMPULS Festival for contemporary music, where he debuted with both the Magdeburg Philharmoniker and Tempus Konnex ensemble in Halle, Germany.

Critics praise Ram for his “charismatic and energetic performances” (Crescendo-Magazine) and “expressive spontaneity” (Diaposon).

Ram is scheduled to conduct the CSO performance Nov. 16.

Panamanian-American conductor Bovell has left an imprint on orchestras across North America, including recognition as a 2022-2024 awardee of the Taki Alsop Conducting Fellowship. She’s presently serving as the assistant conductor to the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and conductor of the Memphis Youth Symphony.

Critics hail Bovell as “one of the brightest stars in classical music” (Channel 3 News in Connecticut).

She’s scheduled to conduct the CSO performance Jan. 18.

American-Canadian conductor Andrew Crust has developed a versatile international career as a conductor of orchestral, opera, ballet, film and pops programs. Currently in his third season as music director of the Lima Symphony Orchestra, Crust programs and conducts the Grand Series, Pops and Educational series and has led collaborations with soloists such as Charles Yang, Amit Peled, Sandeep Das, Awadagin Pratt and Laquita Mitchell.

Crust is scheduled to conduct the CSO performance Feb. 1.

Portuguese-American conductor Bairos is the 17th music director for the Amarillo Symphony and co-founder and artistic director for Miami’s Nu Deco Ensemble. He performs regularly as a guest conductor.

Pundits describe Bairos’ as “thrilling” (Providence Journal), “inspirational and highly communicative” (Singapore Straits Times) and as having a “splendid sense of musicality” (Knoxville Mercury).

Bairos is scheduled to conduct the CSO performance March 21.

“Each candidate brings vast depth and artistic vision to the role of music director and a musician-focused approach to leadership,” says Kilkenny. “We’re looking forward to introducing them to the Chattanooga community and working with them in the coming season.”

Dan has served as the music director of the CSO for over a decade, during which time she hired a majority of the current CSO musicians, oversaw artistic growth and helped guide the orchestra through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’m grateful for the trust of the musicians, board, staff and community that allowed me to serve as the music director for such a long time. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished together during my tenure.

“Thank you for the opportunity to conduct countless wonderful works, to collaborate with many organizations and artists, to share my love and passion with the community, and to grow as a musician, conductor and a human.

“I’m excited to witness how the CSO will thrive under new artistic leadership.”

The CSO is currently celebrating its 90th anniversary.

Source: CSO