Symphony names six music director finalists

The Richmond Symphony has announced six candidates to become the sixth music director of the Richmond Symphony, succeeding Steven Smith, whose 10-year tenure with the orchestra concludes at the end of the 2018-19 season.

Selected from a field of more than 200 applicants, each candidate will spend two weeks here in the 2019-20 season, conducting several concerts including one Masterworks program, speaking with city leaders and participating in the orchestra’s educational and community engagement activities.

The candidates, in order of their appearances in Richmond next season:

* Roderick Cox, winner of the 2018 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award of the US Solti Foundation, formerly associate conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra and assistant conductor of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra and music director of the Alabama Symphony Youth Orchestra.

* Paolo Bortolameolli, born in Chile, a pianist now serving as assistant conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, formerly principal conductor of the New Haven (CN) Chamber Orchestra and a participant in a number of new-music ventures.

* Ankush Kumar Bahl, an American of Indian descent, formerly assistant conductor of Washington’s National Symphony Orchestra, assistant to the late conductor Kurt Masur at several orchestras and a sometime collaborator with jazz artists and groups.

* Laura Jackson, a violinist as well as a conductor, currently in her 10th season as music director of the Reno (NV) Philharmonic, formerly assistant conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

* Valentina Peleggi, the Italian-born, London-schooled resident conductor of the OSESP São Paulo Symphony Orchestra in Brazil and principal conductor of its chorus and guest music director of São Paulo’s Theatro São Pedro.

* Farkhad Khudyev, who studied violin, piano and composition in his native Turkmenistan in Central Asia, a winner of the German Solti Conducting Competition, formerly assistant conductor of the London Philharmonic and music director of the New Haven Chamber Orchestra, currently music director of the Hidden Valley Orchestra Institute and Youth Music Monterey County in California.

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