November 14th, 2007 5:33 pm | by Stephen Marc Beaudoin News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, CLEAN UP

Symphony Res Conductor Up for Cali Gig


The Oregon Symphony's fresh-faced 34-year-old resident conductor is up for a new out-of-state gig.

Gregory Vajda was recently announced by the Music in the Mountains festival in Nevada County, Calif., as one of two finalists for the Artistic Director position there. The festival programs multi-week mini-festivals of classical and other musics each season. Their founder and longtime and artistic director, Paul Perry, is retiring after 27 years on the job.

In an interview with The Union, a Northern California newspaper serving Nevada county, MIM's president Jeff Leiter announced Vajda and San Francisco-based conductor Stephen Prutsman as finalists for the post, saying both are in the midst of "stellar" careers. Leiter also told The Union:
"We're now dealing on a high professional level," Leiter said. "We are, in a way, going to join the regular music world. The person who becomes the artistic director will go to different places and bring to the county the culture he finds and the people he meets at orchestras throughout the world."
During the next year and a half, Vajda will guest conduct several programs at MIM, and will program and lead the entirety of the festival's spring 2009 festival. The organization plans to name Perry's successor by summer of 2009. If Vajda wins the appointment, it won't likely affect his work with the Oregon Symphony.

Vajda, whose increasingly busy international schedule takes him to Baltimore, Budapest, Texas and Salzburg in the coming months, appears on the Oregon Symphony podium several times a season, recently leading the Symphony's "Inside the Score" series. Last February, he impressed as a last-moment substitution for Carlos Kalmar in a jazz-soaked Symphony program including Kurt Weill's dangerous and brilliant "Seven Deadly Sins." The performance bristled with energy, style and communicative strength.

[photo above: Gregory Vajda, courtesy of Santa Rosa Symphony]

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