Newburgh Symphony Announces Finalists For Conductor Position

Jun 18, 2015

Audience Opinion to Play Critical Role in Year-Long Selection Process

Four musical maestros will conduct six concerts for the Greater Newburgh Symphony Orchestra (GNSO) over the next year in a contest to determine its next Musical Director. Dr. Woomyung Choe, co-founder and Musical Director for the Orchestra’s first 20 years, retired after a stirring performance on June 6.

The finalists are:

  • David Bernard, Music Director of the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony, will conduct “Opera Goes Pop” in the GNSO’s annual outdoor concert in Downing Park, Newburgh on July 25. He will also lead “Arabian Nights” at Mount Saint Mary College’s Aquinas Hall on January 16, 2016.
  • Harvey Felder, Conductor Laureate of the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra, will conduct “Joy, Passion, Magic — masterpieces new & old” at Aquinas Hall on September 12.
  • Michael Avagliano, Music Director of the Central Jersey Symphony, will conduct “Orchestral Colors” at Aquinas Hall on November 21.
  • Russell Ger, a young Australian conductor based in New York, will conduct “From Russia With Love” at Aquinas Hall on June 11. He will also lead “A Whirlwind Tour of Europe” in Downing Park on July 30, 2016.

The finalists were chosen by a GNSO search committee that received applications from more than 100 candidates around the world. Orchestra Manager Greg Phillips, a member of the search committee that reviewed all finalist performances in person, said: “We were absolutely blown away by the quality and enthusiasm of the candidates. The greater Newburgh community and the Hudson River Valley will be well-served by whoever wins.”

The selection process will include input from GNSO musicians and audience members through surveys that will be distributed at each of the Aquinas Hall performances cited above. The finalists will also be interviewed by members of the GNSO Board of Directors. Greater detail on the professional background of each of the finalists and the programs that they will conduct will be made available through news releases closer to the date of each concert.

The Greater Newburgh Symphony Orchestra is one of the leading cultural institutions of the Hudson River Valley. It was founded in 1995 by Dr. Choe and its first president, George Handler, who was followed as president after 10 years by the late Fred McCurdy. In addition to its regular concerts, the Orchestra annually visits a local high school where its professional musicians — who come from throughout the Valley — play “Side-by-Side” in a formal concert with student musicians.