Portland (Maine) Symphony Names Next Music Director

Classic Arts News   Portland (Maine) Symphony Names Next Music Director
Robert A. Moody has been appointed music director of the Portland Symphony Orchestra for a three year term beginning in the 2008-09 season. He replaces Toshio Shimada, who left in 2006 after a 20-year tenure.

The orchestra announced that Moody, 40 and originally trained as a cellist, will serve as music director designate during the 2007-08 season.

Moody's most recent appearance with the Portland orchestra was November 14 of last year, where he led a program of music by Marquez, Mozart and Tchaikovsky, featuring pianist Orion Weiss.

Charles Dimmick, PSO concertmaster and member of the search committee, said in a statement, "Robert Moody has the rare gift of inspiring musicians and audiences alike, and his charisma and energy made him an obvious choice. I am excited to begin a new era of music making with him, and look forward to the excitement he'll bring to each concert." Gordon Gayer, chair of the search committee, enthused about Moody's "enormous enthusiasm for a wide range of repertoire, charismatic engagement with the audience, and palpable chemistry with the musicians."

"You can tell when the chemistry is just 'right' between conductor, orchestra, audience, community," commented Moody. "And that was overwhelmingly clear to me with my first Portland experience."

Moody is currently music director of the Winston-Salem Symphony in North Carolina, a job he began in 2005 and which he plans to retain. He is also artistic director of Arizona MusicFest, a five-week festival during the winter in Arizona's Desert Foothills region. This season marks his eighth year leading the Oklahoma City Philharmonic's "Discovery" concert series. Last season marked the end of an eight-year tenure with the Phoenix Symphony, where Moody had served as associate, then resident conductor since 1998.

A native of the South Carolina hamlet of Possum Kingdom, Moody earned a bachelor's degree in music from Furman University in nearby Greenville. He completed a master's degree from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied conducting with Donald Neuen.

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