Florida orch stages public auditions for music director

Florida orch stages public auditions for music director


norman lebrecht

November 22, 2013

The Southwest Florida Symphony has joined the growing trend towards transparency and public voting in the selection of its next music director. It has announced five candidates, all of whom will spend a week this season with the Fort Myers community.

First up is Chelsea Tipton, 49, from Oklahoma: ‘My favorite composer would probably be Brahms and Gershwin.’ Read here.

chelsea tipton

The other candidates are:

Guillermo Figueroa (Jan. 11) Figueroa is music director of the Music in the Mountains Festival in Colorado and artistic director of the Figueroa Music and Arts Project in Albuquerque. He’s former music director of the New Mexico Symphony and principal guest conductor of the Puerto Rico Symphony.

• David Commanday (Feb. 8) Commanday is artistic director of the Heartland Festival Orchestra in Illinois. He’s held music director positions with the Boston, Joffrey and Richmond ballet companies, as well as with the Peoria Symphony and the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra.

• Andreas Delfs (March 1) Delfs is a well-known concert and opera conductor who has served as music director of Opera Bern, Staatstheater Hanover, the Milwaukee Symphony and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.

• Nir Kabaretti (March 29) Kabaretti is an acclaimed conductor who is music and artistic director of the Santa Barbara Symphony in California.


  • Richard Crampton says:

    Who is/was the current music director?

  • James Forrest says:

    Figueroa is an excellent musician!

  • Doug says:

    The “Beauty Pageant” is not a new idea. I managed one for a professional orchestra in the Mid West US in the mid 90’s. It raises many questions, the first one being, what if an audience loves one candidate and the orchestra hates him? Also, the longer you drag out the process, the less likely you can nail down your top choice. That’s just for starters…

    • James Forrest says:

      The notion that an orchestra should love, or even particularly like their Music Director would have surprised the great orchestral leaders of the past. Affection, I suggest, should be sought elsewhere! An orchestra needs a Music Director who can get them to play on time, in tune, and with the required modicum of expression. She or he should also be good at staffing, at personnel selection.. If, in addition, the Music Director can produce the occasional inspired interpretation in performance, well so much the better !!

  • Bill says:

    Half the job doesn’t take place on the podium. In addition to be able to be the leader who can coordinate the orchestra to achieve the best possible musical experiences for both players and audiences, they must be able to fund raise, inspire confidence in community leaders in their business acumen, be essentially the “development director” for the Symphony Orchestra. Symphony players who spend the most time with him in the audition process are often the ones who can best pick the best candidate.

  • Jeanne says:

    It will be hard to match Michael Hall’s capabilities. He was an audience favorite and during his tenure the orchestra was at its peak of performance. He is missed by many.