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Announcing our 2013-2014 LFS Music Director Candidates
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Lake Forest Symphony Announces Five Music Director Candidates
 
                The Lake Forest Symphony is pleased to announce five guest conductors, Vladimir Kulenovic, Russell Ger, Andrés Franco, Stilian Kirov, and Jacomo Rafael Bairos, who are candidates for the position of Music Director. Each will lead a pair of classical subscription concerts in 2013-2014.  Following a two month international search process, this announcement is accompanied by great excitement and anticipation. 
                Maestro Heatherington’s final performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, “Resurrection,” this past weekend were lauded by the Chicago Classical Review’s Tim Christiansen as “intense and spellbinding,” and were a fitting conclusion to his 13 years as music director.  Maestro Heatherington has been awarded the title “Music Director Emeritus” by the LFS Board of Directors.
                The Lake Forest Symphony search committee is comprised of ten people: three LFS musicians elected by their peers (David Katz, Michael Buckwalter and Bob Barris), three LFS Board members (Committee Chair Richard Morehead, Ray Frick and George Speros) and three community leaders (Joanna Rolek, Tom Tropp and LFS Guild Co-President Betty Benton), as well as LFS Executive Director Susan Lape.  Henry Fogel, Dean of the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University and former president of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association and the League of American Orchestras, serves as consultant to the search process. 
              Henry Fogel commented that the search committee “has gone about its work with a wonderful seriousness of purpose. Its composition assures a wide range of perspectives, which is extraordinarily healthy. I have enjoyed working with this committee immensely, and look forward to a wonderful result when the process concludes.”
                Richard Morehead said that the committee “benefitted greatly from the experience and approach of Henry Fogel, whose thorough and efficient method of evaluation involved paper applications, video submissions and interviews via Skype. We are all delighted with the guest conductors selected and look forward to a great season ahead.” 
              Each candidate will conduct one concert pair (and all requisite rehearsals) next year, in addition to attending a donor dinner, a Lake Forest Symphony Guild tea, pre-concert lectures and post-concert receptions.  All five conductors have been asked to program one 15-20 minute work of their choosing which complements the major works and guest artist performances which were announced earlier this year. 
              Executive Director Susan Lape said, “We were especially impressed by the candidates’ breadth of experience and willingness to reach out to new audiences. While we do not require the candidates to live in the area full-time, our new Music Director will be expected to be physically present for at least 10 weeks each year. We are looking for the right leader to help chart the future of our Symphony, and we are fortunate to have some truly world-class options.”   
               In an effort to select the conductor who is the best fit on and off the podium, the LFS Search Committee will include surveys taken from orchestra members and symphony patrons. The next Lake Forest Symphony Music Director will be announced at the conclusion of the 2013-2014 Season.
Opening Gala Concert
September 7-8, 2013
Vladimir Kulenovic, Guest Conductor
Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue and Stravinsky Firebird Suite (1919)
Featuring Ralph Votapek, piano
 
Following the completion of his post-graduate conducting studies at the Juilliard School, Vladimir Kulenovic was named Associate Conductor of Utah Symphony | Utah Opera in the U.S., Principal Conductor of the Kyoto International Music Festival in Japan and Resident Conductor of the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra in Serbia.  His recent guest conducting engagements included collaborations with renowned orchestras in the US, Europe in Asia, as well as illustrious soloists including Leon Fleisher, Mischa Maisky, Akiko Suwanai, Joseph Silverstein and Augustin Hadelich, to name but a few.
 
This season in Europe, Kulenovic leads Leipzig Symphony, Belgrade Philharmonic, Slovenian Philharmonic, Zagreb Philharmonic and Macedonian Philharmonic.  Following his debut in Asia at the Kyoto Music Festival, he led two critically acclaimed performances with Evergreen Symphony at the National Concert Hall in Taipei, and will return there in 2013/14. In the U.S., Kulenovic will conduct the final concert of the 2012/13 Utah Symphony subscription season in Abravanel Hall, make his debut with the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra in Michigan, and conduct the Jacksonville Symphony as one of 6 top emerging conductors chosen by the League of American Orchestras for the biannual Bruno Walter National Conducting Preview.
 
An alumnus of the Juilliard School, Kulenovic was awarded the Charles Schiff Conducting Prize for Excellence upon the completion of his post-graduate studies with James DePreist and Alan Gilbert.  In addition to his formal studies, he continuously worked with Kurt Masur since 2008 in New York, Bonn, Leipzig and Verbier. As the Conducting Fellow at the Verbier Festival, Kulenovic conducted the Festival Orchestra in two internationally televised performances on Medici TV and was subsequently invited to serve as the conducting assistant to Kurt Masur at the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra.  In addition, Kulenovic also had the honor to prepare the orchestra at the Dubrovnik Festival for Zubin Mehta. 
 
Mr. Kulenovic was awarded the prestigious Alfred B. Whitney Prize for the highest scholastic achievement at the Boston Conservatory, where he graduated summa cum laude as Valedictorian, earning degrees in Conducting and Piano Performance.  As a pianist, Mr. Kulenovic won the 2nd Prize at the Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Paris.
Celestial Harmony
November 2-3, 2013
Russell Ger, Guest Conductor
James Stephenson Celestial Suite and Holst The Planets
 
Russell Ger has conducted a broad spectrum of orchestral, operatic, and choral music both in North America and his home country of Australia. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in musicology with First Class Honours from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, and a Master’s in Orchestral Conducting from the Boston Conservatory. As an alumnus of the Symphony Australia Conductor Development Programme he worked with many of the top professional orchestras in Australia over a period of several years.
 
Mr. Ger recently completed a tour of the East Coast with renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman, promoting the recording project they completed for Sony Music in late 2011. The tour saw performances before packed houses at Boston's Symphony Hall, Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall, Long Island’s Tilles Performing Arts Center, and an audience of 6,000 at the Barclays Center arena in Brooklyn New York. Selections from the disc were also performed at the PBS ‘Great Performances’ 40th Anniversary Gala at Lincoln Center in November of 2012, and later this year they will appear at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.
 
One of the highlights of Mr. Ger's early career came in 2003 when he conducted the finale from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at the Sydney Opera House. For a major fundraising campaign he assembled a massed community chorus accompanied by an orchestra comprising Sydney Symphony and Australian Opera-Ballet Orchestra members. The following year he repeated this performance at the Sydney Convention Centre for an audience exceeding 3,000.
Beethoven and Shostakovich
January 11-12, 2014
Andrés Franco, Guest Conductor
Shostakovich Piano Concerto No. 2 and Beethoven Symphony No. 3 (Eroica)
Featuring Lukáš Vondráček, piano
 
Andrés Franco is currently Associate Conductor of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and Artistic Director of the Concerts in the Garden Summer Festival. He also served as Music Director of the Philharmonic of Kansas City from 2004-2010.  He recently made a highly successful debut conducting the Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León/Spain, in addition to Pops and Family Concerts with both the Houston and St. Louis symphonies.
 
A native of Colombia, Mr. Franco is dedicated to preserving and performing the music of the Americas.  As Principal Conductor of Caminos del Inka, Inc., he has led many performances of Latin American music by composers of our time, such as Jimmy López, Diego Luzuriaga and Astor Piazzolla. 
 
In South America, Andrés Franco has appeared with the National Symphony Orchestra of Peru, the Medellin Philharmonic/Bogotá, EAFIT Symphony Orchestra, and the Bogotá Philharmonic. In the United States, he has led the Corpus Christi, Eugene, and Stockton (CA) symphonies, in addition to numerous performances with the Fort Worth Symphony. This season, Andrés Franco debuted with the Elgin Symphony in Illinois, returned to Missouri’s Springfield Symphony, and will debut with the National Symphony of Colombia in June 2013.
 
Mr. Franco holds a bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance from the Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia, as well as master of music degrees in Piano Performance and Conducting from Texas Christian University.  In addition to his studies with Miguel Harth-Bedoya, he has also studied with Kurt Masur, Marin Alsop, Helmut Rilling, Gerard Schwartz and Leonard Slatkin.
 
Andrés Franco lives in Fort Worth, Texas, with his wife Victoria Luperi, Principal Clarinetist in the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. 
Pictures at an Exhibition
April 12-13, 2014
Stilian Kirov, guest conductor
Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition (arr. Ravel)
 
Stilian Kirov is the Associate Conductor of the Seattle Symphony and has also served as Associate Conductor of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the Memphis Youth Symphony Program. He has conducted orchestras around the world, including the Orchestre Colonne (France), Zagreb Philharmonic (Croatia), Lansing Symphony, Orchestra of Colours (Greece), State Hermitage Orchestra (Russia), New World Symphony, Thüringen Philharmonic Orchestra (Germany), National Repertory Orchestra, Sofia Festival Orchestra, Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra “Leopolis” (Ukraine), Amarillo Symphony and the Juilliard Orchestra, among others. After his very successful debut in 2012, Mr. Kirov is also a regular guest conductor for the Pacific Northwest Ballet.
 
The wide range of Seattle Symphony concerts that Mr. Kirov conducts in 2013/2014 season will include concerts from the Mostly Mozart series, Beyond the Score® series, Discover Music series, Community Concerts and more.  Mr. Kirov has been invited to be a 2013 Conducting Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. In 2012 he was a fellow at the Aspen Music Festival, and in 2010 was awarded the David Effron Conducting Fellowship at the Chautauqua Music Festival, where he has also returned in 2012 as a guest conductor. In 2011, Mr. Kirov made his debut at the Musical Olympus International Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia.  The members of the Festival's honorary committee included some of the world's most distinguished artists such as Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, Placido Domingo, Montserrat Caballe, Zubin Mehta, Yuri Temirkanov, Mariss Jansons and Yo-Yo Ma. 
 
Among Stilian Kirov’s numerous awards and prizes are an Emmy Award for the Soundtrack Project with the Memphis Symphony; the Orchestra Preference Award and Third Prize at the 2010 Mitropoulos Conducting Competition; the Bruno Walter Memorial Scholarship and Charles Schiff Conducting Award for outstanding achievement at The Juilliard School; and France’s 2010 ADAMI Conducting Prize, which culminated in a showcase concert at the Salle Gaveau with Orchestre Colonne in October 2010. Following the successful performance, Mr. Kirov was re-invited to conduct the orchestra’s 2011/2012 Season Opening Concert in Paris. 
 
Mr. Kirov is a graduate in orchestral conducting of The Juilliard School, where he was a student of James DePreist. He also holds a master's degree from the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris, where he studied with Dominique Rouits. He has worked with distinguished conductors such as Kurt Masur, Robert Spano, Michael Tilson Thomas, Gianluigi Gelmetti, George Manahan and Asher Fisch, among others.
 
A gifted pianist, Stilian Kirov is the 2001 gold medalist of the Claude Kahn International Piano Competition in Paris.
All-American
May 17-18, 2014
Jacomo Rafael Bairos, Guest Conductor
Barber Violin Concerto and Copland Appalachian Spring
Featuring Rachel Barton Pine, violin
 
Described as “expressive and passionate” [Malaysian Straits Times], and lauded by the Leipziger Volkszeitung as a "very impressive conductor.... who was elegantly demanding in Mendelssohn's Reformation Symphony", Jacomo Bairos enjoys a rising international career as conductor, champion of new music and dedicated educator.
 
Regularly working with some of America’s finest orchestras and ensembles, 2012/13 season highlights include return engagements with the Atlanta and Charleston Symphony Orchestras as well as debuts with the Leipzig (Germany), North Carolina, Amarillo, and Tallahassee Symphony Orchestras. After finishing two seasons as an Associate Conductor, Mr. Bairos continued his work as guest conductor with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, programming and conducting a variety of concerts to include subscriptions on the innovative Knight Sounds and heralded Pops series through the 2012/13 season.
 
Recent seasons included return engagements with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, the Orquesta National do Porto (ONP) and the Bangor Symphony Orchestra as well as performances with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Malaysia Philharmonic and the Singapore Symphony Orchestra.
 
Mr. Bairos has worked with an array of distinguished artists such as Shlomo Mintz, Elena Urioste, Caroline Goulding, Latin-Grammy winner, Nestor Torres, the crossover group ProjectTrio, and Cuban Band Tiempo Libre to name a few.
 
Awarded the prestigious 2012 Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Scholarship by Maestro Kurt Masur, he traveled to Leipzig Germany to share concerts with the Leipzig Symphony Orchestra, assist at the Gewandhaus Orchestra and further his studies and mentorship with Mo. Masur.
 
Mr. Bairos primary conducting mentors are Gustav Meier, and Robert Spano. He has also studied intensively with Kurt Masur, Jorma Punula, Marin Alsop, Hugh Wolff, Christopher Warren-Green, Edward Polochick and Larry Rachleff.
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