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Evansville Philharmonic Names Five Finalists For New Music Director

Isaiah Seibert

From a field of more than 200 applicants, the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra (EPO) will choose among five finalists to serve as the organization’s new music director.

A search committee made up of eleven members, six from the board and five from the orchestra, chose the finalists, whose names were announced at a press conference at the EPO offices Monday morning

Each finalist will visit Evansville during the upcoming season to serve as guest conductor for a concert.

"They’ll each be here for a full week," said Thomas Josenhans, the orchestra's principal clarinetist and chair of the search committee. "They’ll work with the chorus. They’ll work with the youth orchestras. They’ll of course conduct a concert with the orchestra.”

“But we’re also hoping that they’ll get to meet important parts of our community so there’ll be a public event," Josenhans added. We’ve started talking about other constituencies that are important for the music director to work with whether that’s business or political leaders in the community.”

The first candidate to visit Evansville will be Laura Jackson. She's currently in her tenth year as music director at the Reno Philharmonic. A graduate of Indiana University (IU), she was previously an assistant conductor at the Atlanta Symphony. She will conduct a concert Sept. 28, which will include Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 and Sibelius' Symphony No. 2. 

Scott Seaton will conduct the orchestra Oct. 29 in music by Tchaikovsky and Beethoven. Seaton conducts two orchestras in California, the North State Symphony and the Veridian Symphony Orchesta. He was previously the music director of an orchestra in North Dakota. 

Holding multiple degrees in music from Southern Methodist University, Michelle Merrill is the music director of the Coastal Symphony of Georgia. She was previously an associate conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. She will conduct a concert Nov. 16 in music by Mozart, Mendelssohn, and Copland. 

Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra Music Director Charles Latshaw will come to Evansville for a concert Jan. 18, 2020. He will lead the orchestra in music by Marquez, Brahms, and Tchaikovsky. Seaton holds multiple degrees from IU's Jacobs School of Music. He's not new to Indiana. He's previously worked for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic.

The last finalist is Roger Kalia, who's currently the music director of Orchestra Santa Monica. He holds a degree from IU, where he was previously an assoicate instructor and assistant conductor of the IU Opera Theater and New Music Ensemble. He will conduct the EPO at a concert Feb. 29, 2020. 

The new music director will be announced in early April 2020. He or she will replace the current music director, Alfred Savia, who’s retiring after more than 30 years with the orchestra.