Music Director Candidates
Chosen for Auditions
After receiving almost 100 resumes from conductors all over the world, Mid-Texas Symphony has narrowed its search to four candidates for a new music director. She or he takes the baton beginning Season No. 42 in 2019-2020. The final four candidates bring a wealth of experience and innovation a unique the to the podium. Each brings to the podium a unique history and educational background in symphonic music.
For the past eight months, a 10 member committee of dedicated Mid-Texas Symphony musicians and board members have given much attention and time to the search, which will fill the role of MTS music director relinquished by 22-year veteran, Maestro David Mairs, at the end of this the 2017-2018, our 40th Anniversary Season.
“There is no way I can adequately express my gratitude to our generous donors and supporters!” says Mairs of his distinguished career with MTS. “You have invested not only your financial resources, but also your hearts and your spirits in our orchestra. Your support and attendance helped us build a musical and service organization in which all of us can take pride.”
Mairs goes on to say that, it is time for a new artistic leader to take MTS on a journey into the Future.
Each candidate conducts a concert of the 2018-2019 Season: four concerts, four candidates. It is an opportunity for the community to continue to participate in Mid-Texas Symphony’s musical journey. A survey completed by audience gives feedback on the candidate’s style, performance and fit. They conduct a symphony from the classical cannon and the remainder of the program builds upon their selection. They also conduct a children’s concert for fourth and fifth grade students. Their task will be to pull excerpts from the classical concert program for the kids and present the material in way that kids “get”.
“The candidates will receive a list of symphonies from which to choose,” says Adrienne Stone, MTS music committee chair. “We want to see how they handle a major work as well as experience how she/he presents to adults and students.”
Check back soon for Season 41 details. The candidates' programs and solo artist will be revealed! Subscriptions are on SALE NOW. Call and we can help you renew. IF you are a subscriber - keep your seat- you know YOUR seat is the BEST seat in the house. NOT a subscriber? Add your name to our mailing list and we'll send you our season brochure.
Questions? 830.463.5353 ask for C.J. or Nancie.
AKIKO FUJIMOTO is increasingly recognized as one of the most dynamic and versatile conductors of her generation. She joined the Minnesota Orchestra in September 2017 as assistant conductor, after serving five and a half seasons as the associate conductor of the San Antonio Symphony. As assistant conductor, her role with the Minnesota Orchestra ranges from leading Young People’s Concerts and Symphonic Adventures, family programs and outdoor community concerts to serving as cover conductor for Classical subscription and Live at Orchestra Hall concert performances. Additionally, she serves as a link to the community, participating in engagement activities, school visits, and collaborations with other Minnesota arts and cultural institutions.
While in San Antonio Fujimoto conducted classical, pops, education and baroque concerts as well as ballet. Highlights included a gala featuring violinist Gil Shaham in Brahms’ Violin Concerto, an all-French classical subscription program, and fully-staged productions of Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet,Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and The Nutcracker with Ballet San Antonio.
In October 2017, Fujimoto served as a cover conductor for Susanna Mälkki at the Los Angeles Philharmonic. As a guest conductor, Fujimoto has performed with the Houston Symphony, Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra, the Round Rock Symphony and the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. Additionally, she has conducted Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra as a participant in the Young Conductors Program and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra at the St. Magnus Festival. Prior to arriving in Texas, Fujimoto served as the conducting associate for the Virginia Symphony Orchestra.
Fujimoto has extensive experiences working with young musicians, starting at Harvard University where she directed the Mozart Society Orchestra and at Stanford University, with her leadership of the Stanford Symphony Orchestra. In Virginia, she held the positions of Director of Orchestras at the College of William & Mary and Music Director of the Williamsburg Youth Orchestras.
Born in Japan, Fujimoto moved to the United States at age 14 and attended Stanford University where she studied music and psychology. She holds masters degrees in conducting from Boston University and the Eastman School of Music.
SILAS NATHANIEL HUFF
SILAS NATHANIEL HUFF is a conductor, composer, and U.S. Army Music Officer, currently acting as Music Director of the Astoria Symphony Orchestra (NYC), Music Director of the Boulder Concert Band (CO), Music Director of Colorado Pops Orchestra, Director of the University of Colorado Boulder Campus Orchestra, Assistant/Cover Conductor of the Boulder Philharmonic, and Co-Director of the International Conducting Institute (ICI), an organization dedicated to training the world's next generation of conductors. Maestro Huff has conducted outstanding orchestral, band, choral, opera, ballet, and new music performances for 15+ years across the United States and Europe. He has conducted youth, university, and professional ensembles in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia, and across Europe.
As a U.S. Army Music Officer, he has conducted concerts at the White House, the U.S. Capitol, Arlington National Cemetery, the Pentagon, and at other important monuments and landmarks in Washington, D.C., for diplomats, heads of state, royalty, and audiences numbering in the thousands. His recordings of important works and broadcasts of live performances have been seen by millions of listeners and viewers. Abroad, he has conducted the L’Orchestre de L’Institut Musical de Provence-Aubagne (Aix-en-Provence, France), the Republic of Adegya National Philharmonic Orchestra (Maikop, Russia), the New Symphony Orchestra (Sofia, Bulgaria), and the Bohuslav Martinů Philharmonic Orchestra (Zlin, Czech Republic).
Maestro Huff's past positions include Music Director of Round Rock Symphony Orchestra (TX), Conductor of Moscow Ballet's USA east coast tours, Assistant Conductor of the Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra (VA), and Associate Producer of Opera at the Manhattan School of Music. An avid dance conductor, Maestro Huff has conducted performances with the Fullerton College Ballet Theater (CA), Long Island City Ballet (NYC), Octavia Cup Dance Theatre (NYC), Moscow Ballet, and the Martha Graham Ensemble, with which he conducted Aaron Copland's completeAppalachian Spring with the original choreography, costumes, and set.
In 1999, Maestro Huff won First Prize in the Los Angeles Valley Composition Competition for his homage to Charles Ives, Begging the Question. In 2001, he was named Conductor of the Year by the California State University system, and the Texas House of Representatives signed House Resolution No. 113 recognizing Maestro Huff's distinguished musical service in 2011, and in 2015, the U.S. Army conferred upon him a Meritorious Service Medal for his outstanding and exceptionally meritorious leadership of the U.S. Army Orchestra in Washington, D.C. In 2017, the U.S. Army recognized his leadership of the U.S. Army School of Music with an Army Commendation Medal.
As a composer and advocate of new music, Maestro Huff has organized and presented concerts of contemporary music in California, Texas, New York, Virginia, Washington D.C., Spain, France, Germany, and Italy, and continues to compose, commission, conduct, and present new music. He has conducted dozens of world premieres, including his own. In 2007, he conducted the premiere of his Five Episodes for Cello and Orchestra, and 2009 saw the premiere of his first ballet, Chun Zhi Ge (“Spring Song Festival”), which was performed again in November 2011 in China before a live audience of 50,000 and a television audience of 100 million. In the fall of 2010, Maestro Huff conducted the orchestral premiere of his Four Cowboy Songs, and 2014 he directed the premiere of his Texas Ranger Fantasy for euphonium and symphonic band on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. In 2015, Maestro Huff conducted the premiere of his Big Brass Swingin' Christmas (for orchestra) in Williamsburg, VA. He will conduct the premiere of the symphonic band version in Boulder, CO, this December.
In 2011, Maestro Huff won a coveted conducting job with the U.S. Army Music Program. He enlisted in the U.S. Army, attended Basic Combat Training, Officer Candidate School, and the Basic Officer Leadership Course before taking his first post as Associate Conductor of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Band (Fort Eustis, VA). Since then, Captain Huff has also served as Associate Conductor of The U.S. Army Band “Pershing's Own” Concert Band (Washington, D.C.), Director of The U.S. Army Orchestra (D.C.), U.S. Army Central Music Liaison Officer in the Middle East, where he provided musical support to American, NATO, and Coalition troops, and State Department personnel in six countries, and Company Commander of the U.S. Army School of Music in Virginia Beach. In October 2017, CPT Huff took command of the 44th Army Band (the New Mexico Army National Guard Band in Albuquerque, NM).
A native Texan, Maestro Huff studied classical guitar, music theory, and composition at Texas State University before moving to Los Angeles where he earned a Master of Music degree in music theory and composition from UCLA. While there, he studied conducting with Maestro Donald Neuen, and upon graduation became a full-time student of orchestral conducting under Dr. Richard Rintoul at California State University Long Beach. Maestro Huff also spent one year in residence at the Trossingen Hochschule für Musik (Germany), six months studying privately in Berlin, two summers at L’Institut Musical Provence-Aubagne (France), and at the University of Colorado Boulder under the tutelage of Maestro Gary Lewis. He has attended dozens of workshops led by the world’s finest maestros, including Maestros Kirk Trevor, Neil Varon, Mark Gibson, Donald Schleicher, Markand Thakar, Gustav Meier, Joann Falletta, Jorge Mester, Michael Tilson Thomas, Carl St. Clair, Harold Farberman, and others.
Maestro/Captain Huff loves espresso, bicycling, and his novelist wife Taylor Morris.
Internationally acclaimed conductor, DIANE WITTRY, maintains a dual career as an esteemed music director and guest conductor throughout the world. She specializes in conducting American music abroad, and is known in the United States for her innovative and creative programming. Recently named as one of the "Top 30 Professional Musicians" by Musical America (Dec 2015) and the "Outstanding Alumnus of the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California (2013), Diane Wittry brings a proven track record regarding her ability to inspire musicians and to build an orchestra artistically and organizationally.
A frequent guest conductor of professional orchestras across the country, Diane Wittry has conducted orchestras throughout Europe and Asia, including China, Poland, Canada, Bosnia, Russia, Slovakia, Japan, Italy, as well as her regularly scheduled concerts with orchestras in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
In the United States, Diane Wittry has led performances by, among others, The Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Buffalo Philharmonic, Florida Philharmonic Orchestra, and the symphony orchestras of Milwaukee, San Diego, Houston, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Springfield, Topeka, Augusta, Stockton, Pottstown, Wichita, York, and Wichita Falls; while her international engagements include concerts with the Sarajevo Philharmonic in Bosnia, the Zabrze Philharmonic in Poland, the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, Russia's Maikop and Sochi symphony orchestras, Slovakia's State Orchestra-Kosice, Italy's Sinfonia Dell'Arte di Firenze, Canada's Niagara Symphony, and Japan's Osaka Symphony Orchestra. She has also conducted at the music festivals of Ojai (CA), Penn's Woods (PA), and I-Park (CT).
As the Music Director of the Allentown Symphony, PA ( www.AllentownSymphony.org ) a professional orchestra with a 3 million budget that performs about 24 concerts a year, Diane Wittry has established a reputation for her creative programming and innovative approach to concert formats. She has a proven ability to develop an orchestra musically and an extensive knowledge and experience with orchestral repertoire. The Stamford Advocate, CT, described Diane Wittry as "a conductor who specializes in finding creative ways to make the music fresh, accessible, and exciting." She has been a tireless advocate for the development of extensive educational programs and is very involved with the Allentown Symphony's new El Sistema Program for underprivileged children.
Diane Wittry continues as the Artistic Director (USA) for the International Cultural Exchange Program for Classical Musicians through the Sarajevo Philharmonic (Bosnia), and the Bosnian-Herzegovinian American Academy for Arts and Sciences. She also serves as the Artistic Director for Pizazz Music, and the Ridgewood Symphony, NJ.
Other orchestras that Diane Wittry has been the Music Director and Conductor of include the Norwalk Symphony (CT), the Southern California Sinfonia (CA), the Lamar Chamber Orchestra, and the Symphony of Southeast Texas, (Beaumont, TX), where her work garnered the League of American Orchestra's Helen M Thompson Award. She also was the Music Director and Conductor of the Greater Miami Youth Symphony (FL), a program with 200 students, three orchestras, and 12 chamber music ensembles, and the Meremblum Junior Symphony (CA).
Diane Wittry began her conducting studies with Daniel Lewis at the University of Southern California, from which she graduated with honors. While still a student, she was the recipient of a conducting fellowship from the Aspen Music Festival. Her other teachers and mentors include Michael Tilson Thomas, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Gustav Meier and Jorge Mester; most recently, she worked with the renowned Russian conductor Leonid Korchmar of the Kirov Opera, and Jorma Panula from Finland.
As a teacher, Diane Wittry, is a frequent guest lecturer at the Juilliard School, the Manhattan School of Music, and the Curtis Institute of Music, as well as other Universities and Colleges. She has been a faculty member at Lamar University (Beaumont, TX) where she successfully recruited a large class of string students from Europe and Asia for the Lamar Chamber Orchestra, and a lecturer at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music where she taught conducting courses. Diane Wittry has the ability to organize and build a nationally recognized orchestral program, and is sought after as a clinician, adjudicator, and conductor for All-State Orchestras. More recently, she conducted the Oregon All-State Orchestra, and she was the featured Masterclass Conducting Teacher at the national College Orchestra Directors Association (CODA).
Diane Wittry has taught national and international conducting courses and workshops through the International Conductors Institute, the South Carolina Conductor's Institute, and the Beyond the Baton Conducting Seminars and Workshops. She has served as a National Conducting Mentor for regional music directors in their first or second year through the League of American Orchestras, as well as being a frequent faculty member for the League's National Leadership Academy. She is also a part of the National Conducting Mentoring Committee through the Conductors Guild and a frequent guest speaker at national conferences and for civic organizations.
An award winning author and scholar, her book, "Beyond the Baton", (Oxford University Press, 2007) www.BeyondtheBaton.com was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and has become a standard, both nationally and internationally, in the field. Her most recent book "Baton Basics - Communicating Music Through Gestures" (Oxford University Press, Dec.2014) is being utilized by conducting classes across the country.
Over the years, Diane Wittry has received many honors and awards, including the American Symphony Orchestra League's Helen M. Thompson Award for outstanding artistic leadership of a regional orchestra. She has been the subject of profiles in The New York Times and Newsweek. Ms. Wittry received an Outstand Achievement Award, Allentown, PA, the Women of Excellence Award in Beaumont, Texas, the Arts Ovation Award and the Woman of Distinction Award from Allentown, PA. And she is only the third American to be named - in recognition of her leadership in the arts and humanities - the recipient of the prestigious Fiorino Doro Award from the City of Vinci, Italy.
Recently, Diane Wittry has also established a reputation as a composer. Her orchestral piece, "Mist" was premiered by the Allentown Symphony Orchestra and has had many performances and radio broadcasts nationally and internationally. It is available for streaming at Amazon.com in a recording by the Slovak State Philharmonic. Her other compositions, Lamentoso, after the rain, Concerto for Home-made Instruments, and the Ode to Joy Fanfare, have all received premieres and multiple performances. Her music is published by the Theodore Presser Company.
Diane Wittry has been a juror for the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers' (ASCAP) Annual Rudolf Nissim Composer's Competition in New York, an adjudicator for new compositions for the artist residency program at I-Park in Connecticut, and she has also served as a music panelist for National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, DC.
Currently Music Director and Conductor of Altoona Symphony Orchestra in Pennsylvania, TERESA CHEUNG is in frequent demand for symphonic, choral and operatic productions in the USA and Canada. A native of Hong Kong living in New York City, Cheung received her Master’s Degree in Conducting from Eastman School of Music and is a recipient of the JoAnn Falletta Conducting Award for the most promising female conductors.
Cheung was Resident Conductor for the American Symphony Orchestra from 2004 to 2012, Assistant Conductor for Bard Music Festival for eight seasons and Resident Conductor for Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra. She has collaborated with orchestras including Amarillo Symphony, New Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra, The Phoenix Symphony, Portland Symphony Orchestra, Regina Opera, Stamford Symphony, West Michigan Symphony Orchestra and Woodstock Chamber Orchestra. She also appears as conductor for colleges and universities, and has served as a conducting clinician for Lincoln Center’s “Meet the Artist” programme.
Known for her creative concert programming, collaborative projects and outreach programs, Cheung is a passionate advocate for music education for all ages. Since the beginning of her tenure with Altoona Symphony, she has created numerous programs that engaged children, high-school musicians and choristers. The orchestra also performed in numerous occasions with university ensembles, and has collaborated with Karl Middleman (Commonwealth Speaker for the Pennsylvania Humanities Council) in “Dvořák’s New World”, a program of Humanities on the Road which was broadcast throughout the state of Pennsylvania in 2011.
Apart from orchestral performances, Cheung recently made her conducting début with New York City Ballet. While at the Bard, she was rehearsal/offstage conductor for a number of rarely-performed operatic masterworks, including the highly-acclaimed US première of Franz Schreker’s Der Ferne Klang in 2010, the first fully-staged production of Schumann’s Genoveva in the USA in 2006, and Marc Blitzstein’s Regina in 2004.