During a rainy and unseasonably cold morning press conference held Friday, The Pasadena Symphony Association announced the appointment of David Lockington as its new Music Director. and Nicholas McGegan as its Principal Guest Conductor, an innovative partnership of powerhouse artistic leadership. Lockington is the fifth Music Director of Pasadena’s 85-year-old treasured Symphony Orchestra. McGegan’s newly created position formalizes a synergistic relationship between the conductor and the orchestra, and represents a deep commitment of engagement to complement the orchestra’s future artistic direction and impact on its community. Lockington’s and McGegan’s initial three-year contracts commence this year with the 2013-14 Singpoli Classics Series. In 2014-15, both will regularly conduct the orchestra.
“After conducting and getting to know the orchestra, I am excited to begin an extended relationship exploring great music-making,” says Lockington. “I am also looking forward to connecting to the fabric of Pasadena and stimulating even more interest in supporting this community’s live music.”
Diane Rankin, President of the Pasadena Symphony Association reflects, “Looking at musicianship, technique, knowledge, leadership, and inspiration, David Lockington and Nic McGegan kept rising to the top, epitomizing the definition of performance standard and genuine community engagement. We feel very fortunate to have these two remarkable artists as part of our organization and community.”
“I am thrilled to be a part of the artistic leadership team of the Pasadena Symphony, along with David and Pops Conductor Michael Feinstein,” says McGegan. “The Pasadena Symphony is the perfect creative playground for all of us! I look forward to expanding my orchestral repertoire in upcoming seasons here.”
“The musicians of our orchestra passionately declared their preference for David and Nic,” states Paul Jan Zdunek, CEO of the Association. “David is perfect, as our visions completely align. With Nicholas as an artistic partner to David and Michael Feinstein, this new team is sure to take us to places we have only dreamed about.”
Drew Dembowski, Principal Bass states, “As a member of the Pasadena Symphony since 1975, I could not be feeling more positive about our prospects for the future and more proud of the collaborative efforts of all those involved in this process.”
An accomplished cellist before turning to conducting, David Lockington spent 14 seasons as Music Director of the Grand Rapids Symphony, where he created a legacy that the New York Times called “a model in the Classical music world.” Nominated for a GRAMMY® in 2007, Lockington has also held the music directorships of the Long Island Philharmonic, New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, Cheyenne Symphony and Ohio Chamber Orchestra. Since September 2007, he has served as music director of the Modesto Symphony Orchestra. In 2012, he was named principal conductor of Spain’s Orquesta Sinfonica del Principado de Asturias. Guest conducting engagements include appearances throughout North America and internationally.
Nicholas McGegan is a pioneer in exporting historical practices of period instruments to the conventional symphonic forces. His discography includes more than 100 recordings, including the Gramophone-winning, GRAMMY® nominated world premiere of Handel’s “Susanna.” He is also credited with the first performance in modern times of Handel’s “Gloria.” As long-standing music director of the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Philharmonia Chorale, McGegan established the leading period performance ensemble in the United States. Active in opera as well, he was Principal Conductor of Sweden’s Drottingholm 1993-96 annual festival and Artistic Director of the Göttingen International Handel Festival. He has also guest-conducted across the United States.
Highlights of the upcoming 2013-14 Singpoli Classics Series includes Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto, Bernstein’s Serenade, and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 plus world renowned soloists Anne Akiko Meyers (violin) and Shai Wosner (piano). Season Subscriptions are on sale now and may be purchased by phone at 626-793-7172 or online at www.PasadenadaenaSymphony-Pops.org.
-Photo and story by Terry Miller