Music in the Mountains announces director search

Music in the Mountains is excited to announce its search for the next music director.

Since 2014, when Pete Nowlen was hired as Artistic Advisor at the end of Artistic Director Gregory Vadja’s tenure in 2013, the orchestra has been playing with an array of guest conductors. Many of these conductors have also worked with critically acclaimed orchestras around the world.

Earlier this year, MIM Director Emeritus and Founder Paul Perry passed away. It was Perry who embodied the group’s mission to inspire and connect people of all ages through extraordinary music performances, community engagement and music education. And it was his vision along with current MIM Board President Terry Brown to produce a world-class classical music festival in Nevada County.

“Losing Maestro Perry was very hard and we have since been in a state of transition,” explains Cristine Kelly, MIM Executive Director. “We’re looking for someone who will continue Paul’s vision and fall in love with our orchestra and our community.”

When that happens, the newly formed search committee will make a recommendation to the MIM board. It could happen this year, next year, or the year after that.

“When the magic happens, we have to be prepared to move on it, but still be willing to take the time to get it right,” says Robert Erdmann, search committee chair.

“Our orchestra is very flexible and adept at playing with different conductors and in a very tight timeline,” states Kelly. “But it definitely heightens the level of excitement for the audience wondering who might be the next conductor and music director.”

Music lovers will have the unique opportunity to see four extraordinary conductors on the podium at this year’s SummerFest, June 16 through July 5 at the Nevada County Fairgrounds.


Daniel Stewart is the newly appointed Music Director of the Santa Cruz Symphony. Mr. Stewart’s first season in Santa Cruz has led to great critical acclaim. In the fall of 2012, Mr. Stewart was appointed by James Levine as Conductor with the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program.

Mr. Stewart’s recent work at the Metropolitan Opera has included sharing conducting with Met Music Director James Levine for the Met/Juilliard co-production of “A Concert of Comic Operas”, as well as readings with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Mr. Stewart will lead the MIM Festival Orchestra in the opening Classics Series concert, The Glory of the Russian Ballet, featuring former principal dancers from the Joffrey Ballet, Michael Levine and Maia Wilkins.

Florin Parvulescu returns from the 2014 season to lead the orchestra’s first outdoor pops performance with Cirque de la Symphonie on June 27. Mr. Parvulescu is a first violinist with the San Francisco Symphony. He studied conducting with both David Zinman at the Aspen Music Festival and Michael Tilson-Thomas. As a conductor, he has led the New World Symphony, the Aspen Academy Orchestra, the Icicle Creek Festival Orchestra and the Academy Orchestra of San Francisco.

Constantine Kitsopoulos is a conductor whose musical experiences comfortably span the worlds of opera and symphony, where he conducts in such venues as Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall and Royal Albert Hall, and musical theater, where he can be found leading orchestras on Broadway.

Kitsopoulos is in his eighth year as Music Director of the Queens Symphony Orchestra and continues as General Director of Chatham Opera, which he founded in 2005. He serves as Music Director of the Festival of the Arts BOCA, an extraordinary multi-day cultural arts event for South Florida, and was most recently appointed Artistic Director of the OK Mozart Festival, Oklahoma’s premier music festival, where he led his second season this past June.

He will be on the podium this summer on June 24, to conduct the Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 5 with soloist Conrad Tao, in a program that also features the Sibelius Symphony No. 2. In addition, Kitsopoulos will lead the crowd-favorite Happy Birthday USA program on July 3.

MIM’s Resident Conductor, Ryan Murray, will be on the podium twice this summer. Last year, Mr. Murray was selected as a winner of the Vienna Philharmonic’s prestigious Ansbacher Fellowship for Young Conductors. He spent the summer of 2014 in residence at the Salzburg Festival alongside the Vienna Philharmonic where he was able to engage with renowned conductors Ricardo Muti, Gustavo Dudamel, Daniele Gatti and Mariss Jansons.

In addition to holding the position of Music Director with Townsend Opera, Ryan is also the Associate Conductor for the Modesto Symphony Orchestra and Music Director for the Modesto Symphony Youth Orchestra; with whom he made his conducting debut at Carnegie Hall in 2014.

Mr. Murray will conduct the MIM Festival Orchestra and Chorus in the Mozart Requiem on June 28, and will be on the podium with Storm Large and her Band for the July 5 benefit concert entitled The Crazy Arc of Love.

—Music in the Mountains

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