Pianist is new artistic director in Santa Fe

Press release:
Santa Fe Pro Musica today announced the appointment of Anne-Marie McDermott as the organization’s first new Artistic Director since the organization was co-founded by the eminent woodwind musicians Tom O’Connor and Carol Redman in 1980. Over the coming two seasons, Ms. McDermott will transition into her new role overseeing the Pro Musica Orchestra and String Works Series while O’Connor prepares to step down from his post as Music Director (as announced last year). The Pro Musica Baroque Ensemble will continue to be led by co-founder Carol Redman. The appointment is the result of a national search to fill the leadership role and part of a strategic planning process that began in the 2017-18 season.

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  • An interesting part of this story is how Santa Fe Pro Musica stands apart from some of the other musical institutions in Santa Fe. It is very much a locally based institution that stands in contrast to the Santa Fe Opera and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival who generally bring in outside musicians who stay for the summer and then leave. Large amounts of cultural funding is absorbed by musicians who don’t really live in the city.

    The founders of Santa Fe Pro Musica, Tom O’Connor and Carol Redman, graduated from the University of New Mexico in the 70s, settled in Santa Fe, and founded and maintained their locally based organization for 40 years. They employ a lot of local musicians and have been deeply involved with music education in New Mexico for decades.

    Santa Fe has become so over run with second homers that the Native American, Hispanic, and Indo-Hispanic cultures that give the city its remarkable identity can often no longer afford to live there. The practice of using Santa Fe as a sort of “summer camp” for outside musicians exacerbates this cultural decentering and reinforces a system of racially informed plutocratic arts funding that is classist and often quite demeaning to the historic population.

    Even if the search were “nationally based,” Anne-Marie McDermott has long had connections to the region. I hope she will maintain the local focus of Santa Fe Pro Musica.

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