SAVANNAH, GA – March 8, 2019 – The Savannah Philharmonic Search Committee announces the addition of two Music Director candidates to its group of artists scheduled to lead orchestral and choral performances through the end of the 2019-20 season. This pair of prospective leaders comes from a group of 30 candidates that the search committee has identified in partnership with musicians, music industry leaders, community members and arts enthusiasts.
On April 6, at the Johnny Mercer Theater, “Rhapsody in Blue and the Firebird Suite” will be conducted by Associate Conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Pops, Keitaro Harada. On May 4, at the Johnny Mercer Theater, Joseph Young, currently the Artistic Director of Ensembles for the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University and formerly Assistant Conductor of the Atlanta Symphony and Music Director of the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra, will guide the Savannah Philharmonic through its epic performance of Mahler’s Second Symphony. Both Harada and Young have conducted prestigious orchestras across the globe, to wide acclaim.
The Savannah Philharmonic Orchestra (SPO) Board Vice-Chair Scott Lauretti is leading the search committee, which is comprised of prominent musicians from the orchestra, community advocates and active philanthropists, and leaders from the area’s arts and cultural organizations. “The appearance of Harada and Young on the Savannah podium in April and May, mark an exciting moment in the evolution of the robust arts and culture scene in our community,” said Scott Lauretti. “The search committee continues to carefully vet exceptional individuals, in order to secure superior artistic leadership for the philharmonic’s sustained growth and development,” he continues.
Scott Lauretti, committee chairperson, is a successful business executive and entrepreneur, whose civic involvement includes stints as Chairman of the Board of the St. Joseph’s/Candler Foundations, President of the Board of Horizons Savannah, Chairman of the Board of The MedBank Foundation, President of the Italian Society of Savannah, member of the Savannah Country Day School Board of Trustees, member of the Board of Horizons National and member of the Board of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist Foundation. He is a current Fellow with the Harvard University Advanced Leadership Initiative.
Joining Lauretti on the search committee are philharmonic musicians Sinisa Ciric (violinist and concertmaster), Michael Daly (principal horn), Jeana Melilli (principal flute), and Kristen Spiridon (principal clarinet). In addition to her playing duties, Spiridon is a member of the SPO professional staff, serving as Education and Outreach Coordinator. Renee Portell, a singer with the Savannah Philharmonic Chorus, represents the institution’s vocal performers. Accomplished leaders from local arts organizations on the committee include Allen Henderson, President of the American Traditions Vocal Competition, Executive Director of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, and professor of music at Georgia Southern University; Roger Moss, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Savannah Children’s Choir, and talented vocalist; and Dr. Monica Dekle, Director of Music and Organist for Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church, and former Chorus Master for Savannah Philharmonic Chorus. SPO Board member delegates to the committee include Susan Whitaker, an active philanthropist; Nina Eidell, a long-time human resources executive and consultant; Rhegan White- Clemm, retired marketing executive and current SPO Board Chair; and Mel Whitehead, the Performing Arts Supervisor for the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System.
World-renowned operatic baritone and co-founder of the Savannah VOICE Festival, Sherrill Milnes, serves as an advisory member of the committee, and SPO Executive Director Terri O’Neill is an ex-officio member.
The SPO has engaged Henry Fogel, one of the best known and most influential performing arts administrators in the U.S., as consultant to the committee. Among his professional achievements, Mr. Fogel led the League of American Orchestras from 2003 to 2008, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association from 1985 to 2003, and the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington, D.C., from 1978 to 1981.
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