The Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra has unveiled a list of five well-traveled conductors who will be vying to succeed George Zack as its music director.
The four men and one woman, whose names were announced Friday night, will join the quintet of candidates who auditioned this past season, bring the total field to 10.
“Both this and next season have very strong groups of candidates,” said Larry C. Deener, president of the Philharmonic's Board of Directors.
Most musicians in the 2008-09 slate have experience as assistant conductors or similar posts with major metropolitan orchestras, worked with marquee conductors and participated in the American Symphony Orchestra League’s National Conductor Preview.
“They’re all early in their careers and on their way up,” said search committee co-chairman John Carpenter Jr.
Zack, who worked with all of the candidates to schedule the repertoire for next season, said, “The committee has done an extremely good job for this season and for next. Each of the candidates is extremely courteous, easy to work with, positive and intelligent.”
The orchestra announced the five hopefuls at an event prior to Friday night’s season finale concert, which featured Zack conducting the philharmonic and Lexington Singers in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, “Choral.”
■ Scott Terrell, who will conduct on Oct. 24: Terrell is the resident conductor of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra in South Carolina, and has conducted numerous times at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, one of the nation’s leading multi-disciplinary arts festivals; and its companion, the Piccolo Spoleto Festival. He is also director of education programs for the orchestra and has extensive experience conducting opera.
■ Jeffrey Pollock, who will conduct Nov. 21: Pollock is the associate conductor of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra in Texas and is a graduate of the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore. He also served as assistant conductor of the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra in Raleigh and was the founder and music director of San Francisco’s Amphion Ensemble.
■ Morihiko Nakahara, who will conduct Jan. 23: Nakahara currently serves as associate conductor of the Jacksonville Symphony in Florida and the Spokane Symphony in Washington. He previously was music director of the Holland Symphony Orchestra in Michigan. Nakahara is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and has received a Bruno Walter Associate Conductor Chair and Career Development grant for Spokane.
■ Alastair Willis, who will conduct Feb. 13: Jobs in Cincinnati appear frequently on Willis’ resume: He is a past associate conductor of Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestras and music director of the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra. He also served as assistant and resident conductor of the Seattle Symphony from 2000 to 2003, has conducted orchestras such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and New York Philharmonic and conducted for Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project at Ma’s invitation.
■ Mei-Ann Chen, who will conduct March 27: Chen assumed the post of assistant conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra last fall and also had guest conducting gigs with the Baltimore and Colorado symphonies. She served four seasons as music director of Oregon’s Portland Youth Philharmonic and two seasons as assistant conductor of the Oregon Symphony. Chen made history at the New England Conservatory of Music by becoming the first student to receive dual master’s degrees, in conducting and violin.
The conductors who auditioned this past season were:
■ Kayoko Dan, assistant conductor of Arizona’s Phoenix Symphony.
■ Alexander Platt, whose primary post is music director of Wisconsin’s Waukesha Symphony Orchestra.
■ Darryl One, music director of the Victoria Symphony Orchestra in Texas.
■ Daniel Meyer, whose primary post resident conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
■ Alfred Savia, music director of the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra in Indiana.
The 2008-09 season will be bookended by Zack’s final concert as conductor of the philharmonic, on Sept. 12; and an April 17 concert with the Lexington Singers that currently does not have a conductor scheduled.
Carpenter said the April concert is the target date for announcing the winning conductor.
“We would like to be able to announce and have on stage that night the winning candidate,” Carpenter said.
“Right now, we’re asking for flexibility from our board, our musicians and our audience on that concert,” Deener said. “We want to make the search exciting to the end.”