Conductor Stefan Sanderling has accepted a two-year appointment as principal guest conductor and artistic adviser to the Toledo Symphony, the orchestra announced today. The move temporarily resolves a leadership vacancy that has existed since May, 2001, when former music director Andrew Massey stepped down.
“I am looking forward to dreaming with the orchestra's management and musicians to see what we can accomplish here,” Sanderling said.
The search process continues for a music director to take the helm beginning with the 2004-2005 season.
“Stefan Sanderling was hired to serve our needs for ongoing leadership in artistic direction until the long-term search process is complete,” said Tom Schmidt, an orchestra board member who serves as chairman of the conductor search committee.
“We wanted to make sure we continued to grow during this time of transition and believe Stefan's abilities will take the orchestra to the next level. Stefan represents a new artistic standard in leadership for the orchestra,” Schmidt said.
For the 2002-2003 season Sanderling will receive about $20,000 for conducting two concerts. His compensation for artistic duties is on a per-service basis and is expected to be somewhat higher.
A native of Germany, the 37-year-old conductor was recently appointed music director of the Tampa-based Florida Symphony, a post he assumes with the 2003-2004 season.
Sanderling continues as chief conductor at the Orchestra de Bretagne in Rennes, France, where he has conducted since 1996. He has been a frequent guest with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and appeared last season with both the Toledo and Detroit symphonies.
“I never seen this orchestra so positive about a conductor. This is the standard against which we should judge,” said 30-year veteran violist Bernard Linden.
Management is also expecting big things from Sanderling, who was the unanimous choice of the orchestra screening committee.
“We are looking for Mr. Sanderling to provide leadership in the areas of planning and artistry,” said Toledo Symphony president and CEO Robert Bell.
“We are confident he will raise the orchestra to the highest possible levels of achievement. Moreover, we believe Mr. Sanderling's international profile will bring increased attention to the fine music tradition we have in Toledo.”
Because concert programming has already been set, Sanderling is slated during the coming season to conduct only the Sept. 11 subscriber appreciation concert at the Stranahan Theater and the Jan. 11 Mozart and More program at the Franciscan Life Center of Lourdes College.
Conducting involvement during the 2003-2004 season, the orchestra's 60th, is expected to include three classics series weekends in the Peristyle and one Mozart and More program.
Despite Sanderling's limited presence on the podium, Bell expects him to have a major impact.
“He will have all the responsibilities and authority of music director. We felt it essential to have this kind of solid leadership in place as we plan and implement our 60th season,” Bell said.
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