Music News & Reviews

The next conductor of the Lexington Philharmonic is ... one of these people. Catch their tryouts.

From left, Thomas Heuser, Akiko Fujimoto, Kelly Corcoran, Enrico Lopez-Yañez, Julia Tai and Keitaro Harada.
From left, Thomas Heuser, Akiko Fujimoto, Kelly Corcoran, Enrico Lopez-Yañez, Julia Tai and Keitaro Harada.

Talk about your demanding job interviews: The Lexington Philharmonic’s upcoming fall and winter season will feature tryouts by six conductor finalists.

Director Scott Terrell announced last fall that he would be leaving after the season, which concludes with the sold-out finale, “Star Wars: A New Hope” in Concert on May 18.

The Lexington Philharmonic expects to announce the next music director and conductor in the summer of 2020.

The six candidates each will spend a week in Lexington, beginning in September, meeting the musicians before leading them in an audition performance, complete with guest musicians. The audience will have a chance to give feedback on each conductor as well.

The season’s performances will pair hallmark works of the classical canon with work by female composers, including a work by composer Julia Perry, born in Lexington’s East End neighborhood.

Season subscriptions, which also may include one of two holiday concerts, “A Cathedral Christmas” and “New Years Eve: Mardi Gras in New Orleans,” are available for $85-$430. Individual concert tickets for $25-$85 go on sale July 1.

Here is what is on the schedule:

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Thomas Heuser Photo Devine Kyla Jenkinson and Wesley Sebern

Opening night: “HOME”, Sept. 21

Home, conducted by music director and conductor finalist Thomas Heuser, opens the season with Julia Perry’s “A Short Piece for Orchestra.” Perry was born in Lexington’s East End neighborhood and went on to receive two Guggenheim fellowships, spend nearly a decade in Europe studying with prominent composers including Nadia Boulanger. By the 1960s, she had achieved critical acclaim, and her works were performed by the New York Philharmonic and other major orchestras. Violinist Stefan Jackiw joins as soloist for Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto, a charming and technically challenging work that embodies all of the warmth and wit of the composer. The evening closes with the passionate emotional depths of Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 6.”

Akiko Fujimoto Liz Garza Williams

”DEEP MUSIC”, Oct. 25, 2019

Music director and conductor finalist Akiko Fujimoto leads the orchestra in a program of moving works. The evening opens with Grammy-award winning composer Libby Larsen’s “Deep Summer Music,” a textural work inspired by the last days of summer in her home state of Minnesota. Harpist Allegra Lilly, principal harp of the St. Louis Symphony, joins for Ginastera’s “Harp Concerto.” Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 7” brings the evening to a joyous and boisterous close.

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Kelly Corcoran Bill Steber and Pat Casey Daley

”WIND POWER”, Nov. 22

Music director and conductor finalist Kelly Corcoran conducts an evening of works both powerful and ebullient. Jessie Montgomery’s

“Caught by The Wind” opens the evening with a powerful meditation on the cycle of life. Lexington-native Richard Deane, principal horn of the New York Philharmonic, returns to his hometown orchestra as soloist for Strauss’ “Horn Concerto No. 1,” followed by Brahms’ delightful “Symphony No. 2.”

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Enrico Lopez-Yañez Photo provided

”BLUE BEETHOVEN”, Feb. 21, 2020

Music director and conductor finalist Enrico Lopez-Yañez kicks off the second half of the 2019/2020 Season at “Blue Beethoven,” an evening of some of the most deeply emotive works in the canon. The evening opens with Jennifer Higdon’s beautiful and contemplative “blue cathedral,” one of the most popular contemporary works of the last decade. Pianist Norman Krieger joins the orchestra for Beethoven’s “Piano Concerto No. 4,” followed by Czech master Dvořák’s dynamic “Symphony No. 7.”

Julia Tai Photo provided

”TRANSFIGURATIONS”, April 17, 2020

Music director and conductor finalist Julia Tai leads the orchestra in a night of diverse and spirited works at “Transfigurations.” Inspired by the industrial landscape of Detroit composer Missy Mazzoli’s “River Rouge Transfiguration” transforms the grit and noise of Motor City into a resonant and unexpected work for orchestra. World-renowned cellist Gary Hoffman joins LexPhil as soloist for composer Ernest Bloch’s “Schelomo; Hebraic Rhapsody,” a work that embodies the spirit and sound of traditional Jewish music dating back thousands of years. The evening closes with Mendelssohn’s melodic Symphony No. 3, “Scottish.”

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Keitaro Harada Claudia Hershner

”BEYOND THE SKY”, May 16, 2020

Thefinale concert of the season “Beyond the Sky” will be led by the final music director and conductor finalist, Keitaro Harada. The evening kicks off with a percussive bang with Loren Loiacono’s “Smothered By Sky,” commissioned and premiered by the Detroit Symphony in 2017. Rising star violinist Bomsori Kim joins the orchestra for Wieniawski’s “Violin Concerto No. 2.” Described by Prokofiev as “a hymn to pure and noble spirit,” his Symphony No. 5 concludes the season.