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Published: Tuesday, 11/6/2007

Sanderling to lead Chautauqua orchestra

Sanderling Sanderling

CHAUTAUQUA, N.Y. - Stefan Sanderling, principal conductor of the Toledo Symphony, was introduced yesterday as the new music director of the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra at the historic Chautauqua Institution, the venerable summer arts and culture center in southwestern New York state.

Marty W. Merkley, vice president and director of programming, said, "Stefan is a wonderful fit for Chautauqua and the CSO. He is an excellent musician, wonderful with audiences, and has a terrific sense of humor."

Starting next summer, Mr. Sanderling, who is in his fourth season with the Toledo Symphony, will conduct and guide the resident orchestra, which draws musicians from cities and orchestras nationwide and from three foreign countries.

The CSO, founded in 1929, performs 19 concerts and accompanies two ballet programs and four operas during its eight-week residency.

"If there is one place in the world where the utopia of a true synthesis of the arts, philosophy, religion, and education can become reality, this place is Chautauqua. I am thrilled to be a part of the Chautauqua Institution and look forward to my first season in the summer of 2008," Mr. Sanderling said.

He also is the music director of the Florida Orchestra and maintains a busy schedule of guest conducting and recording engagements worldwide.

Bob Bell, the Toledo Symphony's president and chief executive officer, said the move is a good fit for the orchestra. He said many Toledo-area residents visit Chautauqua in the summer and will be able to enjoy Mr. Sanderling's work there.

Mr. Bell said Mr. Sanderling's contract with the symphony goes through the 2009-10 concert season, and the conductor's work with the Toledo Symphony will not be affected by the Chautauqua appointment. Details of Mr. Sanderling's contract with the CSO were not released.

Founded in 1874 by Lewis Miller, an Akron inventor and manufacturer, and John Heyl Vincent, a Methodist minister who later became a bishop in the denomination, the Chautauqua was one of a series of ambitious gatherings around the country designed to inform, uplift, and inspire attendees.

Lakeside on Lake Erie is another survivor of that late Victorian-era phenomenon.

Since then, the summertime center on Lake Chautauqua has annually presented a nine-week series of lectures, concerts, operas, seminars, and conferences featuring top names in education, the arts and humanities, religion, and diplomacy and global politics.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Chautauqua has been the venue for such significant events as President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "I Hate War" speech in 1936 and President Ronald Reagan's discussion of U.S.-Soviet relations in 1987 to George Gershwin's creation of Concerto in F in a practice shack in 1925.

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