Vermont Youth Orchestra music director Braunstein leaving after just months

Vermont Youth Orchestra music director Braunstein leaving after just months

Organization won’t discuss reasons for departure; meeting with parents slated for Jan. 9

BY MIKE DONOGHUE, FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER • WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2010

Ronald Braunstein, who began as music director and conductor for the Vermont Youth Orchestra during the summer, is moving on, but nobody will say why or where he is going.

Braunstein will remain in his position until Jan. 31, John Davis, chairman of the Vermont Youth Orchestra Association, said Wednesday. Davis said Braunstein is due to continue to hold practices and events until he leaves. The VYO is among the attractions for Burlington’s First Night at 2 p.m. Dec. 31 at the Flynn Center.

Davis declined to answer several questions about the departure, characterizing it as a “human resources” issue, during a phone interview with the Free Press. Davis said he was unaware if Braunstein had lined up a new job.

In an e-mail later, he said the board had discussed the issue in executive session. Davis also said he considers Braunstein’s salary confidential.

Lisamarie Charlesworth, marketing and public relations director for the orchestra, had deflected questions about Braunstein’s departure to Davis.

“I’m not going to comment,” Charlesworth said. “I’m in public relations.”

Attempts to reach Braunstein were unsuccessful.

Braunstein was introduced in February as the permanent replacement for Troy Peters, who served for 14 years. Peters left during the summer of 2008, and the VYO used interim conductors during the nationwide search.

The move comes just three days after Braunstein had directed “Orchestrapalooza” at the Flynn Theater in Burlington.

“The concert was wonderful. I’m shocked,” said Margie Leith of Burlington, whose daughter, Sachi, a Burlington High School senior, plays trumpet for the VYO.

Margie Leith said there had been discussion among VYO members on Facebook accounts about the departure. Some of the teens would like Braunstein to say, she said.

“We don’t know the exact reason,” she said. “It would be a loss if he left.”

The VYO has set up a special phone line extension for parents wanting to speak with Davis about Braunstein’s departure. Davis said that phone feature was added to the VYO switchboard menu Wednesday.

The board also plans to have a special meeting for parents of youth orchestra members at 2:30 p.m. Jan. 9. It will take place at the Elley-Long Music Center, which serves as the VYO home, on the north campus of St. Michael’s College in Colchester.

When hired, Braunstein, 55, came with a strong resume, including having taught young musicians at The Juilliard School and the Mannes School of Music in New York.

Davis said at the time, “Ronald is a remarkable conductor and a caring educator who has spent the past two decades working with some of the world’s most talented musicians. He brings a wealth of energy and experience with him to Vermont and we look forward to watching our students advance musically under his leadership.”

 

Contact Mike Donoghue at 660-1845 or mdonoghue@burlingtonfreepress.com

 


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