What have our Music Director Candidates been up to lately?

Our six music director candidates are keeping busy with conducting, composing and vacationing this summer…

Gemma New conducting publicity photoGemma New

It’s summer concerts galore for Gemma New, who will also spend time in New Zealand with family before spending almost a month at the Hollywood Bowl, assisting programs for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. To date, Gemma has conducted with the Atlanta Symphony and jazz, swing and classic concerts at the New Jersey Symphony. “There’s an amazing number of rock/pop/swing/jazz/broadway stars who come from this state – even Rachmaninov had a house here,” says Gemma.

Stilian KirovStilian Kirov

“This summer,” says Stilian, “I will have the most important engagement in my life: becoming a father.” Stilian and his wife are expecting their son to be born sometime near July 20.

“He is our very first child so this is why my main summer activity for this year will be learning how to be a dad.” Of course, some of the first pieces his son will hear, he adds, will be Beethoven’s Second Symphony and Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto as Stilian prepares for his November HPO concert.

Alastair WillisAlastair Willis

Alastair is keeping it on the light side this summer. Along with preparing for the upcoming season in Illinois with his orchestra and guest conducting, he is enjoying spending time with family and training for a couple of triathlons.


Theodore KucharTheodore Kuchar

“Upon completion of the subscription seasons in North America,” says Theodore, “I traveled to Cape Town, South Africa culminating in a cycle of the complete Rachmaninov piano concertos with the distinguished Italian pianist Antionio Popmpa-Baldi and the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra.” After returning to California, where he lives, he closed the Slovak Symphony subscription season. He reserves July for finishing and performing as violinist at chamber music festivals, and will participate in the Nevada Chamber Music Festival and the Bruman Chamber Music Festival at UCLA in Los Angeles.

Then, in August, he returns to South Africa for three weeks of concerts with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra and Kwazulu-Natal Philharmonic including the 100th Anniversary Gala Concert with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra and violinist Shlomo Mintz.

Gregory VajdaGregory Vajda

Gregory is full speed ahead with composing the third and final act of his new opera Georgia Bottoms, based on the book of the same title by author Mark Childress. “This is going to a real ‘home grown project’ in February 2015,” says Gregory, “to celebrate the 60th season of the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra.” He’ll also split time between family, composing and fundraising events for the upcoming season in Huntsville, although in August, rehearsals begin for the season’s opening production at Erkel Theater in Budapest (part of the Hungarian State Opera). Living in Huntsville also gave him a chance to spend a week-long vacation in Alaska. “I always wanted to do this while living on the West Coast. Now that I live in Huntsville, I actually got to do it  – it was wonderful.”

Alain TrudelAlain Trudel

After three successive summer tours (two in Canada and on in India) conducting the Juno-nominated National Youth Orchestra of Canada, Alain spent the first two weeks of July conducting the National Art Centre Orchestra, where he is principal and family conductor. He then led the Orchestre Metropolitain (Montreal) in Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony and was the featured soloist in a program with the Brass Orchestre Symphonique de Laval. Part of August will be spent playing concerts and recording with the All-Star Brass in Banff and also guest conducting at the Peninsula Music Festival in the US.


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