US orchestra picks new baton from 207 contenders

US orchestra picks new baton from 207 contenders


norman lebrecht

January 19, 2023

When Steven Larsen retired from the Rockford Symphony in Illinois in 2021, the orchestra quickly whittled down 207 deadline applications to a shortlist of nine (one of whom, Andrew Crust, got namechecked in the Cate Blanchett film, Tar).

The winner was announced last night.

He is the Israeli conductor Yaniv Attar, who is already employed as music director of the Bellingham Symphony and the Pennsylvania Chamber Orchestra and is Artistic Partner with Northwest Sinfonietta.


  • Alfred Wachs says:

    Lovely guy. Wishing him all best!

  • Jeffrey Biegel says:

    Congratulations and good luck! This is a very special orchestra, from the many years of dedication by Steve Larsen. The reason for their success is Steven’s humility and passion for the organization. He took cold calls on telephone before the internet and email. He loved performing traditional and new repertoire, and fed a hungry audience an incredible feast of music for decades. I wish you and the RSO a fabulous future and know you will have many special memories with them as Steve carries with him now.

  • CA says:

    207 applications for a position with a very small orchestra. I’m generally for the arts but not for a system that churns out so many talents in the face of minuscule opportunities. Here in the states we still graduate thousands of music students each year from conservatories. Most will struggle. I guess that’s now true n every field: oversupply of talent, under supply of jobs.

  • drummerman says:

    Norman, you may be surprised to learn that 207 applications is actually a low number. A few years ago the Asheville (NC) Symphony advertised for a music director; I’m told they got 420 applications.

    • DirtLawyer says:

      Having been to Rockford and to Asheville, I can understand why there’s such a difference in the number of applicants.