Music Director Search

The WSO has selected 5 exceptional candidates to fill the Music Director position. Each candidate will perform a Masterworks concert in the 2019-2020 season and the audience will have the opportunity to give feedback on their performance. This is an exciting opportunity to be part of the WSO's journey into a new era of musical excellence.

James Blachly

James Blachly

James Blachly is a conductor dedicated to artistic excellence and broader accessibility. He currently serves as Music Director of the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra, Experiential Orchestra, and Geneva Light Opera. In his first three seasons with the Johnstown Symphony, the orchestra increased season ticket sales by 43%. With the Experiential Orchestra, he has invited audiences to dance to Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, sit within the orchestra at Lincoln Center, and engage with Symphonie fantastique and Petrushka with circus choreography. His work to advance the field has recently been highlighted in Symphony Magazine. A strong supporter of composers of our time, Mr. Blachly has commissioned and premiered more than 50 new works. Dedicated to music education, he regularly conducts workshops for the New York Philharmonic, and he is the co-founder of Make Music NOLA, a thriving El Sistema-Inspired program in New Orleans.

Masterworks Concert 4: A Musical Home; Smith, Barber, and Dovrák

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Andrés Lopera

Andrés Lopera

One of the most celebrated Latin American conductors in the United States, Andrés Lopera recently completed a successful three-year tenure as Assistant Conductor of the Colorado Symphony and is now finishing his first season in the same role with the Columbus Symphony. Lopera has directed intricate performances with principal orchestras such as the Oregon Symphony, Toledo Symphony, New World Symphony, San Antonio Symphony and Portland Columbia Symphony Orchestra, as well as summer festivals, including the National Repertory Orchestra and the Youth Orchestra of the Americas. In October 2017, Lopera covered a celebrated series of concerts with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under the direction of Gustavo Dudamel and Carlos Miguel Prieto. Lopera received his Master of Music in Orchestra Conducting from New England Conservatory.

Masterworks Concert 5: Romantics

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Paul Polivnick

Paul Polivnick

Paul Polivnick is a leading figure on the world stage, having guest conducted over 80 orchestras in Europe, North America and Asia including the remarkable London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, National Orchestra of Lille, France, Vienna Radio Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, and the sumptuous Seoul, Moscow and Los Angeles Philharmonics. He is former Music Director of the Alabama Symphony and Oberlin Conservatory Orchestras, Associate Principal Conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony, and current Music Director and Conductor Laureate of the New Hampshire Music Festival. He received his training at Juilliard School of Music with degrees in violin performance and conducting.

Masterworks Concert 2: Mendelssohn & Beethoven

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Wesley Schulz

Wesley Schulz

Broadly acclaimed, Wesley Schulz holds the Lucy Moore Ruffin Chair as Associate Conductor of the North Carolina Symphony where he conducts over one hundred concerts annually. Additionally, he is the newly appointed Music Director of the Auburn Symphony Orchestra. Previously, Schulz served as Music Director of the Bainbridge Symphony Orchestra, Seattle Festival Orchestra, and in 2014-2015 Schulz was the Conducting Fellow at the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. Schulz graduated magna cum laude with Bachelor’s Degrees in both Percussion Performance and Music Education from Ball State University, followed synchronously by Doctorate & Master’s degrees in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Texas at Austin.

Masterworks Concert 1: Brahms & Sibelius

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Steven White

Steven White

Praised by Opera News as a conductor who “squeezes every drop of excitement and pathos from the score,” Steven White is one of North America’s premiere conductors of both symphonic and operatic repertoire. Among the many orchestras Maestro White has conducted are the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the Moscow Philharmonic, the San Diego Symphony Orchestra, the Utah Symphony Orchestra the Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the New World Symphony Orchestra, the Spoleto Festival Orchestra, the Colorado Symphony, the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, and the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. He is currently an Associate and Cover Conductor of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City and Artistic Director of Opera Roanoke.

Masterworks Concert 3: Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5

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