LSM Newswire

Monday, January 11, 2010

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Announces Contract Extension for Principal Guest Conductor Donald Runnicles


Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Board Chair Ben Johnson announced today that the contract for Principal Guest Conductor Donald Runnicles will be extended for one year, through the 2011-12 season.  Following the end of his contract, Mr. Runnicles will continue to appear as a guest conductor with the Orchestra for two weeks annually he currently appears four weeks each season.

The excitement and fulfillment of working with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra deepens for me each year, said Mr. Runnicles. I have such confidence in both this Orchestra and Roberts leadership, and look forward to continuing our musical partnership.

Music Director Robert Spano and Mr. Runnicles, whose tenures with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra began in the 2001-02 season, are currently in their ninth season with the Orchestra.  At the end of Mr. Runnicless contract, they will have shared more than a decade of shaping the Orchestras musical direction. 

Robert Spano and Donald Runnicles have formed a superb artistic team with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra over nearly ten years, said Mr. Johnson.  The Orchestra has never sounded better and the team has grown together in stature and reputation.  Robert and Donald have created a bond with not only the musicians, but with the people of Atlanta, and it was the shared desire of the entire organization to keep the team in place.  We are delighted that Donald will continue on the team, and we look forward to our continued journey together.

It is my greatest joy to work with this Orchestra and I can think of no better artistic partner and friend to share in this journey than Donald, said Mr. Spano.  I am so happy to have him here, and I look forward to all that lies before us. 

Robert and Donald have, for nearly a decade, helped shape musical perspective and programming within this Orchestra and throughout the country, said Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Interim CEO  Donald F. Fox.  The ASO has, for years now, been a hub of creativity through performances, presentations, and learning forums, all inspired by the work of our artistic team.  We are so honored to have Donald here through the 2011-12 season, and look forward to all he and Robert will continue to create.

I am so proud to have led the search that brought Robert and Donald to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in 2001, said Woodruff Arts Center President and CEO Joe Bankoff.  To have watched the Creative Partnership grow this Orchestra as a whole has been tremendous.  Keeping this artistic team in place for another couple of years thrills all of us here at the Arts Center, and we look forward to continued innovative and exciting music-making from this great Orchestra.
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PRINCIPAL GUEST CONDUCTOR DONALD RUNNICLES is now in his ninth year with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. This season Mr. Runnicles took up two new top artistic posts in Europe General Music Director of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, and Chief Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.  For 17 years, he was the Music Director and Principal Conductor of the San Francisco Opera, where he conducted more than 60 productions in over 350 performances. Mr. Runnicles is also Music Director of the Grand Teton Summer Music Festival in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Last month Mr. Runnicles brought the ASO Chorus back to the Berlin Philharmonic, for their third visit with him, this time for lavishly-praised performances of Brahmss A German Requiem.   He has also brought the ASO Chamber Chorus to Carnegie Hall for a performance of Mozarts Requiem with the Orchestra of St. Lukes. 

Mr. Runnicless recordings with the Atlanta Symphony include a critically acclaimed concert disc with soprano Christine Brewer singing Strauss and Wagner; Mozarts Requiem; Orffs Carmina Burana; and Beethovens Ninth Symphony, among others, all on Telarc (with whom the Atlanta Symphony has had a 30-year recording relationship). During that time, the Orchestra has recorded more than 100 albums, and its recordings have won 26 Grammy Awards.  Also in Mr. Runnicless discography are a highly praised live recording of Wagners Tristan und Isolde released in 2007 by Warner Classics, with Christine Brewer and John Treleaven; Britten Billy Budd with Bo Skovhus, Neil Shicoff and the Vienna State Opera; a Grammy-nominated recital of German Romantic opera arias with tenor Ben Heppner; Ring excerpts with the Dresden Staatskapelle; Humperdinck Hnsel und Gretel; Bellini I Capuleti e i Montecchi; and a disc with soprano Jane Eaglen of works by Strauss, Wagner and Berg.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Appoints New Concertmaster

Music Director Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra today announced the appointment of violinist David Coucheron as ASO Concertmaster, effective September 2010. Mr. Coucherons chair is endowed by Mr. and Mrs. Howard R. Peevy. He succeeds Cecylia Arzewski, who completed her tenure with the Atlanta Symphony at the end of the 2007-08 season.

Originally from Oslo, Norway, Mr. Coucheron began playing violin at the age of three. He earned his Bachelor of Music degree from The Curtis Institute of Music, his Master of Music from The Juilliard School, and his Master of Musical Performance from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, studying with teachers including Igor Ozim, Aaron Rosand, Lewis Kaplan, and David Takeno Mr. Coucheron has worked with conductors such as Robert Spano, Alan Gilbert, Michael Tilson Thomas, Simon Rattle, Mstislav Rostropovich, David Zinman, Roger Norrington, Simone Young, and Charles Dutoit, and performed as a soloist with orchestras including the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra (Maxim Vengerov conducting), the Sendai Symphony Orchestra, the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra. He has played solo recitals at the Oslo Chamber Music Festival, Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall (London), the Kennedy Center, the Olympic Winter Games (Salt Lake City, Utah), as well as in Beograd, Serbia, and Shanghai, China. Mr. Coucherons chamber music performances have included appearances at Suntory Hall, Wigmore Hall, the Oslo Chamber Music Festival, and Alice Tully Hall. His recordings with sister, and pianist, Julie Coucheron, include David and Julie (Naxos/Mudi), and Debut (Naxos). Some of his awards and recognitions are first prize at the Concorso Internazionale di Musica Citta di Pinerolo Competition in 2009 (Turin, Italy), first prize at The Princess Astrid Competition in 2002 (Trondheim, Norway), and Third Prize at the Manchester International Violin Competition in 2005 (Manchester, U.K.). Mr. Coucheron plays a 1725 Stradivarius.

Mr. Coucheron impressed us all through this long and detailed search process, said Music Director Robert Spano. It is very exciting to have such a vital and dynamic talent join us. We eagerly anticipate welcoming him to Atlanta.

I am so excited to work with the warm, wonderful, and talented musicians of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, said Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster Designate David Coucheron. I am especially anticipating collaborations with Music Director Robert Spano and Principal Guest Conductor Donald Runnicles
they are both so inspiring, and always bring out the very best in this Orchestra. Although it is early in my career, I recognize the responsibilities that come with this position. I am thrilled to be here, and I look forward to heightening the musicianship of this great Orchestra so that we continue to offer the very best musical experience for our audience.

I am just delighted for David, said violinist and teacher Aaron Rosand. David worked with me for five years at The Curtis Institute he is a gifted and thorough musician, and resonates qualities of leadership, presence, and a very gentle character with a wonderful demeanor. I think David is the ideal person for this position, and I know the ASOs audience will love him.