Ingrid White and Reece Bleakley practice their duet for the Juneau Symphony’s collaborative event with Sealaska Heritage Institute, Shuká Hít Series: Flutes From Around the World, Saturday, Jan.19, 2019. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly File)

Ingrid White and Reece Bleakley practice their duet for the Juneau Symphony’s collaborative event with Sealaska Heritage Institute, Shuká Hít Series: Flutes From Around the World, Saturday, Jan.19, 2019. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly File)

Juneau Symphony continues search for director, prepares for upcoming showcase

March and April will be big months for the symphony

It’s almost decision-making time for the Juneau Symphony.

In April, an announcement is expected regarding finalist candidates to fill the symphony’s music director vacancy.

“We’re about a month and a half away from announcing who the final candidates will be,” said symphony board Vice President Beth Pendleton in a phone interview. “The top three candidates will each do a main stage concert in the 2019-2020 season starting in the fall.”

Previous music director Troy Quinn announced in June 2018, he accepted the position of music director of the Venice Symphony in Florida.

[Armenian folk music, classical music and indigenous flute share a night]

The symphony received 48 applications to fill the position, which Pendleton said is about the level of response the symphony expected.

“It’s a really diverse group,” Pendleton said. “It’s largely from the United States, but we also have candidates that applied from outside the United States.”

A new music director isn’t expected to take over the position until the summer of 2020, Pendleton said.

The reason for the lengthy search is that whoever is ultimately selected to serve as the symphony’s music director will have a big impact on the symphony and the rest of Juneau’s arts community, Pendleton said.

“Not only are they the conductor and artistic director for the symphony, they really are the face of the symphony,” Pendleton said. “They have a key role in their presence in the community, working with other arts organizations, being an advocate for Juneau’s arts community and helping people to recognize this incredible orchestra that we have here.”

“It’s important we get the right person not only from an artistic sense, from a musical fit, but also somebody who’s going to be a good fit for the Juneau community.”

Showcase tradition is back again

Before the symphony makes any big announcements, it will be time for its annual showcase performances.

The showcases, which started in the early ’90s, have traditionally been a way to highlight individual symphony musicians in a smaller setting, said Teresa Bleakley, interim executive director for the symphony.

[Sitka could be coming to a screen near you]

This year’s shows will do that, but the March 2 and March 3 performances will feature young performers, too.

“This year we’re featuring not only symphony musicians, but rising stars, too,” said Heather Parker, a symphony board member, musician and co-coordinator for the showcase.

This year’s performances include: cellist Finn Adam, flutist Reece Bleakley and violinist Lila Quigley. Symphony favorites will include Jack Hodges, Bill Paulick, Kristina Paulick, Sally Schlichting, Rick Trostel, Alan Young and Taylor Young. Ketchikan trumpeter Jeff Karlson, Todd Hunt and pianist Doug Smith will also perform.

Ingrid White and Reece Bleakley practice their duet for the Juneau Symphony’s collaborative event with Sealaska Heritage Institute, Shuká Hít Series: Flutes From Around the World, Saturday, Jan.19, 2019. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly File)

Ingrid White and Reece Bleakley practice their duet for the Juneau Symphony’s collaborative event with Sealaska Heritage Institute, Shuká Hít Series: Flutes From Around the World, Saturday, Jan.19, 2019. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly File)

The performances will include Special Guests, Aurora Strings Ensemble, who are students of violin instructor Guo Hua Xia.

Musically, the show is expected to include classics like Bach as well as newer pieces.

“It’s a good mix of young and old, just like the performers,” Bleakley joked.

Know & Go

What: The Symphony Showcase

When: 8 p.m., Saturday, March 2 and 3 p.m., Sunday, March 3.

Where: Saturday’s show is at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, 9161 Cinema Drive, and Sunday’s show is at Northern Light United Church, 400 W. 11th Street.

Admission: General admission costs $15 or $5 for students, and tickets are available now at Hearthside Books, the JACC, and online at www.juneausymphony.org. There will also be tickets for purchase at the door. Showcase admission is complimentary for season ticketholders, and tickets will be waiting at will call.


• Contact arts and culture reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter @BenHohenstatt.


In this February 2017 file photo Todd Hunt watches over the cast of the Orpheus Project’s production of “West Side Story.” Hunt will be among the local musicians who perform in the upcoming Juneau Symphony Showcase. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

In this February 2017 file photo Todd Hunt watches over the cast of the Orpheus Project’s production of “West Side Story.” Hunt will be among the local musicians who perform in the upcoming Juneau Symphony Showcase. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

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