Friday, July 02, 2010

Official business

In today's Courier-Post, I had the pleasure of breaking the news that Camden's Symphony in C has appointed a new president. Krishna Thiagarajan -- I asked him several times for the correct pronunciation of his last name -- comes to the Symphony from the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, where his colleagues praised his leadership as director of education and community outreach and, for the last year, senior director of artistic operations.

Thiagarajan -- I'm told his former students called him "Dr. T" -- impressed me with his thoughtful approach to orchestral programming during unsteady economic times, as well as with his deeply-felt connection to classical repertoire and his willingness to try new things (he mentioned performing George Crumb's music -- possibly the Four Nocturnes (Summer Night II) -- and it was all I could do to refrain from gushing over Crumb and contemporary music in general). Following a season in which the Symphony performed at a high level, made its Carnegie Hall debut, and faced a daunting budget shortage due to delays in state funding, Thiagarajan comes into a situation with more potential than peril, but weaning the Symphony off of unreliable funding sources -- the state council on the arts included -- will be an immediate, pressing challenge.

He'll be on the job effective September 1, though he won't arrive in Camden until the 8th, owing to a long-planned trip to his native Germany. I look forward to many more conversations with him on the Symphony and its future, the classical repertoire, and, if possible, the contributions to the beer-drinking world from his hometown of Dortmund.

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