PRESS AND MEDIA
Prize-Winning Conductor Carlos Izcaray Takes the Baton as new Music Director of the
Alabama Symphony Orchestras
The music director search sponsored by PNC Bank has come to an end. Internationally acclaimed conductor Carlos Izcaray has been appointed Music Director of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. The Venezuelan-born conductor, currently based in Berlin, Germany, will relocate to Birmingham and begin his tenure in September 2015.
Izcaray (pronounced eez-ca-RYE) has signed an initial four-year contract that calls for up to 20 weeks per season. He will lead the ASO in a variety of concerts each season, and will play a key role in programming, community engagement and educational activities. His next ASO appearance, as Music Director Designate, will be the Regions EBSCO Masterworks concerts on February 13 and 14, 2015.
"It is with great joy and humility that I am invited to become the Alabama Symphony's nextmusic director. I felt an immediate connection with the musicians and with the incredibly welcoming people of Birmingham. Their warmth has touched my heart, and my family and I are looking forward to joining the Birmingham community." – Carlos Izcaray
"Today marks the beginning of an exciting partnership between the world-class musicians of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra and one of the greatest young musical talents of our time," says Alabama Symphony Orchestra President Curt Long. "Carlos impressed us with his exceptional skills both on and off the podium, and I'm certain he'll be a major asset for Birmingham and the cultural life in the state of Alabama."
Izcaray made his ASO debut in September 2014 and was immediately invited back for a special concert in December.
Music education is one of Carlos Izcaray's deepest passions. Born in Caracas, Venezuela into a family of several artistic generations, Izcaray is representative of the new Venezuelan musician as at age 3 he was enrolled in Venezuela's renowned public system of youth orchestras known as El Sistema. Conducting with his father since he was a teenager, Izcaray went on to become a distinguished fellow at the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen. His teachers include Maestros David Zinman, Patrick Summers, Eduardo Díazmuñoz, Lajos Zeke, Frank Cooper, and Emile Naumoff. He is an alumnus of the Interlochen Arts Academy, New World School of the Arts, and Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. For three years, Izcaray was Conductor of the Mozarteum-Caracas Chamber Orchestra.
"These are exciting times for the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. We are thrilled to have Carlos join our team and look forward to a wonderful new season for the ASO starting this fall! I personally want to thank everyone who has helped us with this long and challenging process, including our music director search sponsor PNC Bank. I believe that what Carlos will bring will help enrich our community and have a broader impact on all the residents of Birmingham." - William A. Bowron, Jr., CEO Red Diamond INC. and ASA Chair of the Board.
"As presenting sponsor of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra's Music Director Search, PNC congratulates everyone at the ASO for their dedicated work throughout the search process," said Brian Bucher, PNC Regional President. "We look forward to continuing our support of the organization and Mr. Izcaray, as he will undoubtedly create a positive impact for our community on behalf of the arts here in Birmingham."
Jon Blankenship, Principal of Blankenship and Seay Consulting Group and chair of the ASO's Music Director Search committee, remarked, "In our search for a new music director, we worked with many excellent conductors across three seasons. The four musicians on our committee took a true leadership role in the search, and with dedication from the board members on the committee, we found the best and most exciting candidate. Carlos has the ideal combination of great musicianship, inspired leadership for the entire ASO organization and, just as essential, strong chemistry with the musicians of the Alabama Symphony. I look forward to sensational concerts with Carlos on stage."
Another of Carlos Izcaray's great interests is contemporary music, and he will take charge of the ASO's award-winning Wells Fargo The Classical EDGE series. Throughout his career, Izcaray has shown special interest in tackling some of the most complex scores in the symphonic repertoire, and he has premiered or commissioned instrumental, choral and operatic works by composers worldwide. He is a regular guest at Wexford Festival Opera, one of today's leading stage for rarely performed and contemporary repertoire. His 2010 production of Saverio Mercadante's Virginia won the Best Opera prize at the Irish Theatre Awards, immediately followed by another nomination for his 2011 production of La Cour de Célimène, by Ambroise Thomas. He is equally distinguished as a passionate performer of the standard repertoire. His performances of Carmen at Opera Theatre of St. Louis earned him rave reviews from the North American Press.
A distinguished instrumentalist, Izcaray was featured as concert soloist and chamber musician worldwide, and he served as Principal Cello and Artistic President of the Venezuela Symphony Orchestra prior to engaging fully on a podium career. During his student years, he won the Kuttner Prize, the top chamber music award at Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music. Increasingly active as a composer, Izcaray's most recent orchestral piece, Cota Mil, was premiered by the Orquesta Sinfónica Municipal de Caracas, The state's premier performing arts organization and only full-time professional orchestra, the Alabama Symphony Orchestra serves nearly 100,000 individuals a year as we fulfill our mission of changing lives through music.
About the Alabama Symphony Orchestra
Our more than 160 performances a year include our classical Regions/EBSCO Masterworks series, our star-studded Red Diamond Super POPS! Series, and our Explorer and Young People's Concerts for young music lovers. Outside of the concert hall, we reach a large and diverse audience through free community engagement performances, a statewide tour, and education programs that serve more than 30,000 children. We are also home to the four-year-old Alabama Symphony Youth Orchestra, which nurtures talent from across our state. Carlos Izcaray will follow the distinguished tenure of Justin Brown who led the ASO to national acclaim and its Carnegie Hall debut at the Spring for Music Festival in 2012.
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