The Columbus Symphony Orchestra recently announced that Junichi Hirokami will serve as the organization’s next music director, beginning June 1st. This marks the first new music director appointment for 2006 and that fact in and of itself isn’t usually enough to stop the presses until you consider just how many orchestras are looking for music directors right now…
Columbus was one of several orchestras currently engaged in a music director search in 2006. Off the top of my head, I can think of eight ICSOM symphony orchestras currently looking for music directors: Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Honolulu, Louisville, Nashville, National, and Pittsburgh (if I’m missing any, let me know). I don’t know if this number is any sort of record but regardless, it’s still quite a few.
2005 witnessed a number of new appointments as well with the orchestras in Baltimore, Colorado, Kansas City, New Jersey, Phoenix, and St. Louis all announcing a new music director or christening a new music director’s tenure.
So where are all these conductors coming from? Apparently, a number of orchestras currently searching are wondering the same thing. In Chicago, mum’s the word as they dance the Big 5 dance with New York (who is already snatching up guest conductors with long term contracts in an attempt to corner the market while searching for Maestro Maazel’s replacement).
In Phoenix and Baltimore, they called off their search process early and simply announced a finalist whereas in Pittsburgh, they’ve decided to adopt a long term approach and have appointed a trifecta leadership team (after all, there’s no “I” in team) while they search for someone the organization considers a worthwhile replacement.
Nevertheless, the folks in Columbus get to bask in the post-music-director-appointment-glow for the time being. My sources inside the orchestra say that the players are very pleased with Maestro Hirokami and are looking forward to working with him. Now all they need is an executive director and they’re all set (by the way, Columbus isn’t the only outfit looking for both music and executive directors at the same time, Honolulu is in the same boat; when it rains, it pours).