Copious Notes

Lexington Philharmonic director Scott Terrell leaving after upcoming season

Scott Terrell conducts the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra in a performance of John Corigliano’s “To Music” in the 2017-18 season finale concert May 19, 2018 at the Singletary Center for the Arts in Lexington, Ky.
Scott Terrell conducts the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra in a performance of John Corigliano’s “To Music” in the 2017-18 season finale concert May 19, 2018 at the Singletary Center for the Arts in Lexington, Ky. rcopley@herald-leader.com

Scott Terrell’s 10th season with the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra will be his last, the orchestra announced Friday morning.

The music director and conductor’s contact will be up at the end of June 2019, and he has elected not to renew it, the orchestras executive director and board chair said Friday. Terrell will conduct all of the concerts on the Philharmonic’s 2018-19 schedule, culminating with a May 18 performance of “Star Wars: A New Hope in Concert.”

“I feel that I have accomplished so much in my time with the Lexington Philharmonic with taking on such a large body of orchestral repertoire,” Terrell said through his agent. “I feel 10 years was a good amount of time to lead the orchestra.”

Throughout his Philharmonic career Terrell has maintained an active freelance and guest conducting career in the United States and Europe with ensembles such as the Philadelphia Orchestra and Arizona Opera, where he’ll conduct a September production of “Maria de Buenos Aires,” an Astor Piazzolla opera he conducted with the Philharmonic in 2013.

“Over the last several years, my guest conducting schedule has gotten busier and I have been fortunate to conduct some great orchestras and opera companies all over the world,” Terrell said. “I also recently signed with IMG Artists for worldwide representation, and it is my desire for this to become a more full-time endeavor.”

Lexington Philharmonic Board President Carol McLeod said Friday afternoon, “Someone who is as talented as he is, is also ambitious. It’s wonderful that we had him, and he has a lot to offer his profession.”

Terrell succeeded longtime music director George Zack in 2009, following a two-year national search. Since then, he has led the orchestra on a steady arc of artistic growth, including diversified programming, works by living composers and commissioning new works.

Philharmonic Executive Director Allison Kaiser, who has been with the orchestra for all but the first year of Terrell’s tenure, credited Terrell with growing and challenging the orchestra.

“Scott has opened up the repertoire for our community in a magnificent way, through all the varied and diverse repertoire he has introduced the community to,” Kaiser said. “We now have a community that is more adventuresome and willing, and perhaps eager to hear music that they’re not used to hearing from the orchestra.”

McLeod said the first order of business for the Philharmonic is to celebrate the final season of Terrell’s tenure, but acknowledged the orchestra board and staff would begin searching for his successor soon. Audiences could expect the 2019-20 season to be a year of audition concerts by finalists to succeed Terrell, much like the 2007-08 and 08-09 seasons were to find Terrell, she said.

The last search was the orchestra’s first conductor search in 37 years. With more recent experience, McLeod said the Philharmonic should be able to identify Terrell’s successor in the Spring of 2020.

“Every wants the best, and we’re going to get the very best that’s available to us,” McLeod said. “LexPhil is very important in this community, and we recognize the honor and obligation to meet the requirements of the community and live up to the honor our community bestows on us.”

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