A cascade of guest conductors will lead the Colorado Springs Philharmonic in its new season.
After a dozen years with the orchestra, music director Josep Caballé-Domenech will exit his position in May, leaving behind an empty podium to fill. His last performances are May 20-21 when he conducts Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 9.
“We will honor our friend Josep Caballé-Domenech by finding the best possible successor to follow him,” wrote Philharmonic board chair Pamela Shockley-Zalabak in a newsletter to patrons. “A music director search can be invigorating for everyone, including our beloved musicians and neighbors in the audience.”
The 2023-2024 season kicks off Sept. 30 at Pikes Peak Center with works by Brahms and guest conductor Ari Pelto, music director for Opera Colorado. Some concerts take place at Ent Center for the Arts. Season highlights include a Pops performance of the classic 1987 film “The Princess Bride”; the return of Capathia Jenkins, who performed songs by Aretha Franklin with the orchestra last year; Troupe Vertigo, an acrobatics troupe that will perform alongside the orchestra; and the music of the Rolling Stones.
Season tickets are on sale now and begin at $84. Call 575-9632 or go online to csphilharmonic.org. The orchestra also offers the Free for Kids program — the purchase of one adult ticket secures up to two free tickets for kids. Free for Kids tickets must be requested in person at PPC or Ent Center box offices.
After Caballé-Domenech announced he was leaving a year ago, invitations went out immediately to guest conductors. They were invited to program a concert for the orchestra, with two stipulations: They couldn’t select anything the orchestra had performed in the last several years, and there needed to be some element of diversity in the programming, though that wasn’t defined.
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“We decided to make it almost unlimited for them to express themselves,” said Philharmonic President and CEO Nathan Newbrough. “I’m thrilled with what they came back with. We didn’t need to tweak any of their programs. We’ve heard good reviews from musicians and excitement when they saw these programs.”
Next season’s conductors include Chloé Van Soeterstède, Mei-Ann Chen, Ari Pelto and Michael Repper.
”These are well-positioned conductors who are at the top of their craft and making a difference out there with American orchestras,” Newbrough said.
The guest conductors aren’t necessarily candidates for the music director position, though it’s possible some will become candidates, Newbrough says. The conducting world, both in the U.S. and internationally, is applying for the position. The orchestra received 250 applications before hiring Caballé-Domenech.
“While we are naturally seeking a talented conductor, we are also looking for a leader who will fit well within our community,” wrote Shockley-Zalabak.
“The most important aspect of the search will be when a select group of candidates have the opportunity to work with the Philharmonic musicians and perform for our audience.”
A 14-member search committee will review the applications. There’s no timeline for determining a final candidate.
”It’s not just about resumes,” Newbrough said. “This is about chemistry and personalities meshing well with one another, and the ability to come in and work with the musicians.”
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