We were excited to learn last week that, after a lengthy vetting process that included the auditions of five strong contenders, the Winston-Salem Symphony has chosen conductor and composer Timothy Redmond as its new music director.
“Overall, Tim was the strongest candidate,” David Levy, a professor of music at Wake Forest University and a member of the search committee, told the Journal’s Lynn Felder.
Now, unfortunately, we have to wait until fall for his premiere performance.
Symphony aficionados first became acquainted with Redmond when he led the symphony in Sibelius’ “Symphony No. 1 in E Minor” in April. “As a conductor, he got the musicians excited to play,” Levy said, “and he got the audience excited. In some ways, he’s the most experienced of the conductors.
“He generated far and away the most enthusiasm. We have great hopes for how the orchestra is going to function under his direction.”
“We, the musicians, immediately felt a connection with Tim when he took the podium,” Corine Brouwer, the symphony’s concertmaster, said. “During rehearsals and during the concerts, his extraordinary level of musicianship and his leadership were inspiring. He was engaging and collaborative and fun both on and off the podium. I know he will be a great addition to our community.”
Though we expect full-time attention when he’s here, this will be Redmond’s second music-director job. A Brit, he’s also music director at the Cambridge Philharmonic. He also conducts throughout Europe and teaches conducting at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
He’ll maintain a home in London, where he lives with his wife. They have two children in college. But he’ll have a second residence here in Winston-Salem.
He’s a busy man — but not too busy to have a personal touch.
“Another thing that I loved about Tim was his remarkable wit,” Brouwer said. “Maybe it’s his British sense of humor, but he put us all at ease through his demeanor. I really appreciated that he asked the musicians for improvements during rehearsals in such a way that had us all laughing. Yet we also felt inspired, thinking, yes, of course we should play it that way in order to perform at our very best. His approach was refreshing and delightful.”
His first concert with the orchestra, in October, will feature Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring.” He’ll also conduct four more Classics concerts and two Pops concerts during his first season.
“The 2019-20 season will be a year of transition as Tim works around other pre-existing commitments,” Merritt Vale, president and chief executive of the symphony for 19 years, told the Journal. “Tim looks forward to being settled as he begins his first full season with us in 2020-2021.”
His contract with the symphony is for four years.
Redmond replaces Robert Moody, who served as music director for 13 years and earned a reputation for championing musical innovation and bringing in high-caliber guest artists. He also increased the audience size and diversity of the symphony.
We don’t expect Redmond to duplicate Moody’s work — he’ll make his own unique imprint. But we hope the symphony will continue to expand its audience — and grow artistically. It’s important to the City of Arts and Innovation to have a creative and inventive music director who will lead the symphony to new heights and dimensions.
We feel confident that Redmond is up to the job.
Welcome to Winston-Salem, Maestro. We hope your stay here is happy and productive.