Moore and Longmont Symphony explore “The American Frontier” in music

Veterans Day concert includes music by John Williams and Dvořák’s “New World”

By Peter Alexander

Conductor Elliot Moore and the Longmont Symphony Orchestra are approaching the 2017–18 season as a series of new frontiers.

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Elliot Moore in Colorado. Courtesy of Photography Maestro.

There are new frontiers for the orchestra, which has its first new conductor in more than 30 years. There are new frontiers for Moore, who moved to Colorado from Detroit to lead the LSO. And there are new frontiers for the audience, with new repertoire and new takes on old repertoire all year.

In the next concert—7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, at Vance Brand Auditorium in Longmont—Moore and the LSO are celebrating “The American Frontier.” Because the concert falls on Veterans Day, the concert is presented “In Honor of our Veterans.”

“It occurred to me that with our second program falling on Veterans Day, that would be a wonderful opportunity (for) an American theme,” Moore says. “So I thought it would be good idea to make a statement about America and our music.”

All the pieces on the program are written by Americans or in America, and a couple are specifically patriotic. The concert will open with For the Uncommon Woman, composer Joan Tower’s 1992 response to Aaron Copland’s World War II Fanfare for the Common Man, which will open the second half of the concert.

Also on the program are “Hymn to the Fallen” from the film Saving Private Ryan by John Williams and Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto, performed by violinist Andrew Sords. The concert will conclude with Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 in E minor, “From the New World,” written in the U.S. in 1893.

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Joan Tower. Photo by Noah Sheldon.

Moore had a message in mind when he chose to open the program with Tower’s music. “It is a narrative in terms of what women can be doing,” he says. “Besides being equal partners to males in the military, women can be composers who have a lot to say, they can lead orchestras and be leaders in all different fields. So it’s a way of showing the possibilities that exist for equality.”

As a soloist and chamber musician, Sords spends a lot of time travelling. It’s not an easy life, but, he says, “Standing in front of an orchestra makes it all worth it, and I think how fortunate that I get to speak in the language of Samuel Barber.”

One of the most popular pieces Barber composed, the Violin Concerto combines soaring, Romantic melodies with jagged rhythms and spiky, contemporary harmonies. It is an unusually constructed work, with two leisurely, lyrical movements followed by a much shorter movement of non-stop virtuosity.

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Andrew Sords

Sords admits that he only recently added the concerto too his repertoire, although people had been urging him to learn it for about 15 years. “I was the only 30-year-old violinist on the planet who had never played it,” he says, laughing. But now he loves the piece. “It’s indulgent but not syrupy,” he says. “It’s lush and you get to pull a large sound out of the strings. It’s such a feel-good piece.”

Sords has worked with Moore before and is happy to be a guest with the LSO. “I’m just thrilled to be up there on stage a for the 22 minutes I get to share with the Longmont Symphony and Elliot,” he says. “He is a wonderful, classy, completely prepared conductor. I feel very safe with him on the podium.”

In his preparation to conduct Dvořák’s “New World,” Moore has looked carefully at the composer’s original score as well as the symphony’s history. From the score he las learned that many performance traditions are not based on what Dvořák wrote, and from the history he has learned about some American influences on the work.

“My approach before with this piece was that it was essentially a Czech symphony, written in the United States,” he says. “And now that I’ve been studying more of the history, I think that it is much more of an American symphony, that truly would not have been the same symphony had he not lived in the United States.”

Among other American elements, he learned about an opera Dvořák planned based on Longfellow’s Song of Hiawatha. Although he never wrote the opera, it is possible that the slow movement and the scherzo of the symphony were based on ideas taken from the Hiawatha story. (Moore will discuss the history of the symphony and the possible connection to Hiawatha in a pre-performance discussion at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.)

Dvořák’s visit to America, Moore says, is only one of the “new American frontiers” represented by the concert. Those frontiers also include Aaron Copland’s creation of a unique American style, Joan Tower’s original and creative response to Copland’s fanfare, Samuel Barber’s composition of what Moore calls “the first great American violin concerto,” and the most American frontier of all, music written for film as represented by John Williams’ “Hymn to the Fallen.”

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The American Frontier—In Honor of our Veterans
Longmont Symphony Orchestra, Elliot Moore, conductor
With Andrew Sords, violin

7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11
Pre-performance conversation: 6:30 p.m.
Vance Brand Civic Auditorium, Longmont

PROGRAM :

JOAN TOWER: For the Uncommon Woman (for Orchestra)
JOHN WILLIAMS: “Hymn to the Fallen” from Saving Private Ryan
SAMUEL BARBER: Violin Concerto
COPLAND: Fanfare for the Common Man
DVOŘÁK: Symphony No. 9 in E minor, “From the New World”

Concert Information and tickets
Box office: 303-772-5796

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Longmont Symphony Orchestra embraces ‘New Frontiers’

Elliot Moore, new music director, opens the 2017–18 season Oct. 7

By Peter Alexander

The Longmont Symphony Orchestra (LSO) enters a new era Saturday (Oct. 7), playing their first regular-season concert with recently-hired music director Elliot Moore.

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New LSO director Elliot Moore loves living in Colorado.

Titled “New Frontiers with Old & New Friends,” it will be the first major concert since the full retirement of Robert Olson, who was music director of the LSO for 34 years. “Having a new music director after 34 years is an entirely new frontier, for the orchestra, and maybe for the community,” Moore says.

The idea of frontiers runs through the entire season, from “New Frontiers and Old Friends” Saturday, to a program titled “The American Frontier” on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, to spring concerts featuring a world premiere, music evocative of the sea, and the LSO’s first-ever chamber orchestra concert in the Longmont Museum’s Stewart Auditorium. (See the full season here.)

The frontier theme also has a personal meaning for Moore. “Moving out here is definitely a new frontier, for both me and my wife,” he says. “I’m very happy to say that we love it here, we’re having a fantastic time living in the community.”

The additional theme of friendships old and new runs through Saturday’s concert. Foremost of course is the fact that Moore is making many new friends as he settles into the Longmont community. But that idea is also reflected in the music Moore selected for the program: Slalom by CU composition professor Carter Pann, Rachmaninoff’s beloved Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with pianist Spencer Meyer, and Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations.

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Pianist Spencer Meyer

The first half of this program is devoted to new friends, including the pianist playing the Rachmaninoff, Spencer Meyer. “He and I share the same artistic manager and we’ve been hearing about each other for a long time,” Moore says. “I’m really excited to be working with him for the first time.”

In a sense the Rachmaninoff might be thought of as an old friend for musicians and audiences alike. With its virtuoso exploration of Paganini’s famous theme—used by numerous composers as a subject for variations—and the beautifully tender 18th variation, it’s a piece that everyone loves.

“Everybody does love this piece,” Moore says. “It has a lot to do with the great violinist Paganini and the story that Paganini sold his soul to the devil, and it includes the (melody of the) 13th-century Dies Irae chant throughout the work.

“When you know the meaning (of the chant,) which is the Day of Wrath, I think it gives the music more meaning and enhances everyone’s experience.”

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Composer Carter Pann

Pann is another new friend for Moore. “While we have never met, we’ve had wonderful exchanges on e-mail about his music,” he says. “I’m really excited to be working with him. Having such an incredible artist living right here within the community is inspiring.”

 Pann’s piece, describing a fast descent of a ski run, is filled with quotations from popular classical pieces. “In my head, I see Carter putting on his headphones,” Moore says. “He puts on his favorite playlist and starts zooming down the mountain. You’ll hear some works that are familiar to us all in his piece.”

Elgar’s Enigma Variations, the final piece on the program, is all about friendship. Each of the score’s 14 variations is a character sketch of one of Elgar’s friends. Elgar, who enjoyed puzzles, concealed the names of the people represented—some only slightly, by using their initials, others more carefully with puns or more cryptic designations. One titled “Romanza” is represented by a series of asterisks, which may stand for a local musical patron, who was away on a sea voyage, or a lost love of Elgar’s youth who had sailed to New Zealand years before.

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Sir Edward Elgar

Perhaps the most famous variation is titled “Nimrod.” In it, Elgar paints a portrait of a close friend and associate, Augustus Jaeger. In German Jaeger means “hunter,” which suggested the Biblical name of Nimrod, “a mighty hunter before the Lord.” Others portrayed in the piece include Elgar himself, his wife, and amateur musicians from Elgar’s circle.

Moore likes to note that some of the variations also tell a story that would be known to the subject. “One example is one of his friends, (who) liked to play fetch with his dog,” he explains. “The musical vignette is about playing a game of fetch, and the dog barking. That’s the story that the two of them knew about.”

The Enigma Variations can be enjoyed without knowing any of this, but Moore aims to provide as much information as possible. “I think the more you understand, the more fun you have,” he says. “I intend to give a talk, with some musical examples, to everyone who’s there.”

Enhancing listeners’ understanding and enjoyment of the concerts is one of Moore’s main goals as director of the LSO. Or in the poetic language of concert themes, introducing the audience to both new friends and old.

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Opening Night: New Frontiers with Old & New Friends
Longmont Symphony Orchestra, Elliot Moore, conductor
Spencer Meyer, piano
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6
Vance Brand Civic Auditorium, Longmont

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Elliot Moore is building bridges as director of the Longmont Symphony

First season is about connecting with local institutions—and friendship

By Peter Alexander

The Longmont Symphony Orchestra (LSO) has announced its 2017–18 season, the first under new music director Elliot Moore, and the consistent theme is building connections within the community.

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Elliot Moore. Photo by Photography Maestro

That and friendship. The first concert explicitly highlights friendships, and the entire season is filled with performances that developed out of Moore’s professional friendships.

“Building connections is something that I’m really passionate about with this orchestra and with Longmont,” Moore says. Some of the connections he has worked to establish over the coming season are with the Longmont Public Library, with local composers, with the Longmont Museum through a chamber orchestra concert in Stewart Auditorium, and with other local cultural organizations.

“These are friendships that I think are so valuable, and I’m happy that we’re highlighting that very thing on the first concert,” he says.

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Composer Carter Pann, one of Moore’s new friends

The season opening concert Oct. 7 features three pieces, each representing a different facet of friendship: Slalom by CU composer Carter Pann, who Moore counts as a new friend since coming to Colorado; Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with piano soloist Spencer Myer, a professional colleague and friend that Moore has worked with before; and Elgar’s Enigma Variations, in which each variation describes one of Elgar’s close friends, from his wife to his publisher.

In addition to Pann, the season includes another local composer, Michael Udow, a percussionist/composer who lives in Longmont. The LSO concert on Feb. 24 will feature the world premiere of Udow’s Mountain Myths.

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Percussionist/composer Michael Udow

Udow had been on the faculty of the University of Michigan when Moore was a student. “When I was guest conducting the LSO, Michael contacted me and said, ‘Oh, by the way, I’m living in Longmont,’” Moore explains. “I got to know some of his music, and thought that he writes really beautiful stuff. I was very happy to be able to draw on that connection with a fantastic composer who literally lives right there in Longmont, and it goes along with the theme of friends.”

Several of Moore’s friends will appear as soloists. In addition to Myer on the first concert, violinist Andrew Sords will play the Barber Violin Concerto on Nov. 11, and cellist Matthew Zalkind, Moore’s fellow student at Michigan who now teaches at the Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver, will play the Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto No. 1 on Feb. 24.

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Popular children’s author Jack Prelutsky

Another personal acquaintance on the season is sure to attract attention. “I believe this is going to be a real feather in the cap of this orchestra and this season,” Moore says. “The main work on our family concert (Jan. 27) is Lucas Richman’s Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant. People are going to have an unbelievable experience because the music is so good!”

In collaboration with the Longmont Public Library, the LSO is bringing in to narrate Richman’s piece the well known author and former Children’s Poet Laureate Jack Prelutsky. “Prelutsky is a music lover and a great singer,” Moore explains. “It just so happens that my mom conducted a choir, which she recently stepped down from, and Jack was in her choir.”

Another program that Moore wants to point out is the concert on Nov. 11, Veterans’ Day. Titled “The American Frontier: In Honor of Our Veterans,” the all-American program includes both Aaron Copland’s World War II-era “Fanfare for the Common Man,” and Joan Tower’s 1987 response to Copland’s iconic piece, “Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman.”

Other works on the program are “Hymn to the Fallen,” taken from John Williams’ score for the World War II film Saving Private Ryan, and the Barber Violin Concerto, played by Sords. The program closes with just about the first piece to enter the standard orchestra repertoire that was written in America, Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9, “From the New World.”

Balancing the needs of the orchestra and the audience, Moore has put together a season with a mix of styles and periods, known and unknown composers. There are several pieces by living composers, but also many of the most popular classical composers are on the schedule as well: Rachmaninoff, Elgar, Mendelssohn, Dvořák, Vivaldi, Bach, Sibelius, Tchaikovsky. And the season will end with a chamber orchestra concert featuring the two most loved classical-era composers, Beethoven and Mozart.

Six‐concert subscription packages will go on sale by phone only on Thursday, July 6 (303‐772‐5796; 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 9:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. Fridays). Prices and details will be available on the LSO Web page. Single tickets go on sale on Monday, Aug. 28 by phone or online.

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Longmont Symphony
Elliot Moore, music director
2017–18 Season

(All performances at Vance Brand Civic Auditorium except as noted)

Opening Night: On the Frontier with Old & New Friends
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7
Elliot Moore, conductor, with Spencer Myer, piano

Carter Pann: Slalom
Rachmaninoff: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
Elgar: Enigma Variations

The American Frontier: In Honor of Our Veterans
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11
Elliot Moore, conductor, with Andrew Sords, violin

Joan Tower: Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman
John Williams: Hymn to the Fallen from Saving Private Ryan
Samuel Barber: Violin Concerto
Aaron Copland: Fanfare for the Common Man
Antonín Dvořák: Symphony No. 9, “From the New World”

HOLIDAY EVENTS

The Nutcracker Ballet with the Boulder Ballet
Elliot Moore, conductor
4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2.
2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3

Candlelight Concert with the Longmont Chorale Singers
4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 17
Westview Presbyterian Church, Longmont
Longmont Symphony Chamber Orchestra
Elliot Moore, conductor, with the Longmont Chorale singers & soloists

Vivaldi: Gloria
J.S. Bach: Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring
Respighi: Adoration of the Magi
John Rutter: Candlelight Carol and Angel’s Carol
Cynthia Clawson: O Holy Night
Holiday carols & sing‐alongs

Family Matinee Concert
4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018
Elliot Moore, conductor, with Concerto Competition Winner (TBA)
Longmont Youth Symphony
Jack Prelutsky, narrator

Matthias Bamert: Circus Parade
Sibelius: Symphony No. 2 (Finale)
Lucas Richman: Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant

A Longmont World Premiere
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018
Elliot Moore, conductor, with Matthew Zalkind, cello

Michael Udow: Mountain Myths (world premiere)
Saint–Saëns: Cello Concerto No. 1
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4

Tales from the Sea
7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 7, 2018
Elliot Moore, conductor, with Sarah Barber, mezzo‐soprano

Mendelssohn: The Hebrides (Fingal’s Cave)
Elgar: Sea Pictures
Rimsky Korsakov: Scheherazade

Museum Concert
4 p.m. Sunday, April 15, 2018
Stewart Auditorium, Longmont Museum
Longmont Symphony Chamber Orchestra
Elliot Moore, conductor

Mozart: Symphony No. 35, “Haffner”
Beethoven: Symphony No. 1

Pops Concert: Divas through the Decades
7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 12, 2018
Elliot Moore, conductor, with vocal soloists

In celebration of Mother’s Day, the LSO will feature music by and about women across decades and genres―from opera to cabaret, jazz and pop, and from Bernstein’s West Side Story to Lady Gaga.

 

 

Elliot Moore chosen to lead the Longmont Symphony

Moore will conduct the orchestra’s annual Fourth of July concert.

By Peter Alexander

The Longmont Symphony Orchestra (LSO) announced last night at their spring pops concert that its board has signed Elliot Moore to a two-year contract as its next music director.

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Elliot Moore, new director of the Longmont Symphony

Moore was selected at the conclusion of a year-long search that included appearances by four candidates with the orchestra. He conducted a concert with the orchestra in November. He will succeed Robert Olson, LSO director for the past 34 years. Olson conducted last night’s concert, titled “A Few of my Favorite Things,” concluding the orchestra’s 50th anniversary season.

Moore, who currently lives in Detroit, has said that he and his wife will move to Longmont by the fall, so that they can become part of the community. For the 2017–18 season, he will conduct all rehearsals and performances. These include six subscription concerts at Longmont’s Vance Brand Auditorium, the holiday candlelight concert and two Nutcracker performances with Boulder Ballet.

Because of the planning involved, it is likely that the 2017–18 season will not be announced until August. In the meantime, Moore will make his first appearance with the orchestra in their annual Fourth of July concert in Thompson Park. In the coming year he will also lead the orchestra’s community engagement concert for St. Vrain Valley School District fifth graders, and two concerts in the Stewart Auditorium of the Longmont Museum.

In a statement released by the Longmont Symphony, board president Robert Pilkey wrote, “The entire LSO family—musicians, board members, and our many volunteers—are thrilled to have Elliot Moore as our new music director. He will play a major role in civic and social activities throughout our community, paying special attention to our youth and the expansion of our community engagement programs. We’re delighted with Elliot’s enthusiastic commitment to continue the legacy of our iconic community orchestra.”

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Elliot Moore. Courtesy of the Longmont Symphony.

As part of a wide ranging conversation, Moore talked extensively about his move to Longmont. “The plan is definitely to become part of the fabric of the Longmont community and to really invest our lives here,” he said. “By being a member of the community, I hope that people will feel free to come up to me and introduce themselves.

“I hope people will stop me when they see me in the grocery store and have a conversation about what’s going on in the town, what’s going on in the community. I hope that my being here in the community will play a role in making the symphony an even more integral part of the Longmont community.”

Moore said he is looking forward to taking a role he described as the “full-time steward” of the Longmont Symphony. “I have various ideas about how an orchestra can really impact the community, how a symphony is a symbol of the community,” he said. “How players listen and respond to one another is symbolic of what a community does.

“One thing about a vision is not coming in with a preconceived idea, but communicating to community leaders, asking them questions, asking the orchestra questions, and asking the board members questions about their vision—where they would like to see the orchestra go in the next several years. So while I do come in with various ideas, I also want to make sure that what we do is authentic for Longmont.”

Moore is especially interested in the educational activities that the LSO offers. “One of the things that I am very excited about is the 5th-grade concerts that we have in January,” he said. “I want to have a further reach into education. One of the ideas I would love to do is to teach people who don’t have much knowledge about conducting—or even about music—what a conductor actually does.”

Moore has several engagements for the coming year outside Colorado. This is normal for any conductor of a less than full-time orchestra, in order to supplement his income, but Moore made it clear that the LSO will remain his top priority. “The rehearsal schedule and the concert schedule leave room for guest conducting with other orchestras,” he observed.

Moore was born in Anchorage, Alaska, and lived briefly in Denver when he was six years old. He has also lived in Texas, Cleveland, New York and Switzerland, as well as Detroit. He studied at the University of Michigan, where he received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree. He has been conductor of the Blue Period Ensemble in New York and the Detroit Medical Orchestra. In 2015 he also became director the Michigan’s Five Lakes Silver Band.

He has led rehearsals and/or performances with Mexico’s Orquesta Filarmónica de Jalisco, Canadian Chamber Opera of New York City, Sewanee Symphony Orchestra and Canada’s National Arts Center Orchestra, as part of its Summer Music Institute Conductors Program. After completing his doctoral work at the University of Michigan, Moore was invited back to lead programs of the University Philharmonia Orchestra and the Contemporary Directions Ensemble.

Four finalists chosen for Longmont Symphony position

The candidates will be guest conductors in the orchestra’s 2016–17 season

By Peter Alexander

The Longmont Symphony Orchestra (LSO) has announced the four finalists for the position of music director of the orchestra.

The four candidates were selected by the LSO’s search committee from a field of 60 applicants. Each will conduct one concert during the 2016–17 season, which will be the orchestra’s 50th-anniversary year. These concerts will be part of the orchestra’s regular season of concerts in the Vance Brand Auditorium at Skyline High School in Longmont, held Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.

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The four candidates and the dates of the concerts with the LSO will be:

  • Elliot Moore: Nov. 12, 2016
Moore is music director of the Detroit Medical Orchestra, the Blue Period Ensemble, and the Five Lakes Silver Band. He holds a master’s degree in cello performance from Lausanne Conservatory in Switzerland, a master of music in orchestral conducting from Manhattan School of Music, and a doctorate in orchestral conducting from the University of Michigan.
  • David Handel: Jan. 28, 2017
Handel currently resides in the Tampa, Fla., area. He holds a bachelor’s degree in violin and a master’s degree in orchestral conducting from the University of Michigan. His international conducting experience includes orchestras in Russia, Chile and Bolivia; and within the U.S. in Indiana, Kentucky, Texas, California and New York.
  • David Rutherford: Feb. 25, 2017
Rutherford has been the Longmont Symphony’s rehearsal and guest conductor since 2010. He is music director and conductor of the Stratus Chamber Orchestra (formerly Musica Sacra) of Denver and the Valor Symphonics Youth Orchestra in Highlands Ranch. A string bassist, he performs regularly with orchestras along the Front Range. An on-air personality with Colorado Public Radio, he can currently be heard weekday afternoons and Sunday mornings.
  • Zachary Carrettin: April 8, 2017
Carrettin is the music director and conductor of the Boulder Bach Festival and interim director of the Early Music Ensemble at University of Colorado, Boulder. Before moving to Colorado he was the director of orchestral studies at Sam Houston State University in Houston, Tex. He pursued doctoral studies in viola at Rice University and holds master’s degrees in orchestral conducting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and violin from Rice University.
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Recently retired music director Robert Olson

The new director will be selected from among these four conductors, and will announced in May, 2017. He will succeed Robert Olson, who was music director of the LSO for 33 years until his retirement at the end of the soon-to-be concluded 2015–16 season. Olson will return to conduct the opening concert of the 50th-anniversary season, Saturday, Oct. 1.

In a statement released  by the LSO, executive director Kay Lloyd made the following comments: “The selection committee has chosen four very strong candidates that represent high musical values as well as the ability to engage our community. We look forward to their concerts this season and the final selection of a conductor that will lay the groundwork of continuing to provide quality, diverse concerts and outreach programs for another 50 years in this community.”