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The search is on for the Winston-Salem Symphony’s new music director

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The Winston-Salem Symphony has started the search for its next music director to replace Timothy Redmond, who resigned in August.

To expedite its search, the symphony is using a hybrid “by invitation” search model. A search committee has been formed to identify candidate finalists. Its goal is to name five finalists by late May 2022 in preparation for audition concerts for each finalist between September 2022 and April 2023. The announcement of the symphony’s new music director is expected in June 2023.

Just how far and wide the symphony will search for a new music director will be determined by the committee.

Musicians representing each section of the orchestra, symphony chorus musicians, board members — representing ticket buyers, donors, sponsors and volunteers — and staff members are on the committee.

As with past conductor searches, the community also will be asked to help with final selection of the symphony’s artistic leader.

Cynthia Rothschild, a Winston-Salem Symphony board member, will be the chairwoman of the committee.

“We are excited to launch the selection process for the symphony’s next music director and grateful for the leadership of such an outstanding group,” Rothschild said in a press release.

She said that about half of the committee’s members have prior search experience, and others bring valuable, fresh perspectives.

“Additionally, there will be many opportunities for interested members of the community to engage in the evaluation of candidates once the finalists are named,” Rothschild said.

Merritt Vale, president and chief executive of Winston-Salem Symphony, said the involvement of the community in the process is exciting.

“Honestly, the feedback that we get from members of the community who have an opportunity to interact with our finalists is really important feedback for the search committee, when it comes time to make some important decisions,” Vale said.

Other board members joining Rothschild on the search committee include Jim Dossinger, Ryan Gaylord, Derek Hicks, David Levy and Merritt Vale. Orchestra representatives include Simon Ertz (principal viola — strings), Amanda LaBrecque (oboe — woodwinds), Joe Mount (horn — brass) and Peter Zlotnick (principal timpani — percussion).

The symphony chorus is represented by Christopher Gilliam (chorus master). Travis Creed, the symphony’s general manager, and Timothy Storhoff, chief revenue and patron relations officer, will provide additional staff representation.

With the committee’s work being guided by the symphony’s recent strategic plan, “Selection of the Winston-Salem Symphony’s artistic leader is paramount to our future success. Our next music director will be in a position to not only join and lead our world-class orchestra but also significantly influences music education and innovation across our region,” Vale said in a press release.

The symphony said musician committee members will guide an assessment of prospective candidates’ artistic experience, leadership qualities and their ability to inspire from the podium.

“There are really two big parts of this position,” Vale said in an interview. “The first, of course, and the most important part, would be the work that one of these music directors does when they’re on the podium with our musicians. But of equal importance is the work that they do when they are not on the podium in terms of their engagement in the community, their support for education, the planning leadership that they provide in their role as music director. We will be looking for all of that.”

Since Redmond’s resignation, symphony officials have been concentrating on guest conductors.

“We have all of our guest conductor slots booked for the remainder of this season and are extremely excited by the guest conductors we are presenting,” Vale said. “This past weekend we had JoAnn Falletta with us, which was an absolute thrill and an honor to be welcoming her back for a second visit to Winston-Salem. (There are) lots of terrific guest conductors to come.”

Interest in the symphony’s music director position has been building since August.

Vale said the symphony heard from more than 100 individual conductors and/or agents after the announcement of Redmond’s departure.

“Of course, some of their primary interest was in helping with guest conducting, but others did express interest in possibly being considered as candidates for our search,” she said.




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