Symphony names Aram Demirjian new assistant conductor Aram Demirjian to succeed Steven Jarvi as assistant conductor of Kansas City Symphony
BY ROBERT TRUSSELL
The Kansas City Star
The Kansas City Symphony has named 25-year-old Aram Demirjian of Boston its new assistant conductor.
Demirjian, who will assume his conducting duties at the beginning of the 2012-2013 season, was chosen after an intense audition process in which six invited candidates competed to succeed associate conductor Steven Jarvi.
Jarvi will leave the Symphony after this, his fourth season here to devote more time to an active schedule as a guest conductor for operas and concerts around the country. It has also been reported that Jarvi is one of eight finalists vying to become music director of the Windsor (Ont.) Symphony Orchestra in Canada.
The assistant conductor plays a crucial role. Demirjian will conduct pops concerts, children’s recitals and educational performances as well as all of the Symphony’s outdoor appearances, including the annual Symphony in the Flint Hills concert.
He will also conduct the annual performances of Handel’s “Messiah” and the Christmas Festival. In addition, Demirjian will serve as the orchestra’s “cover conductor” — in essence a permanent understudy — who can take the podium should music director Michael Stern or a guest conductor be unable to conduct.
“We were actually looking for the complete package, but it has to begin and end, I suppose, with what is shown on the podium,” Stern said. “We expect a lot from them, and they end up doing a lot. We set the bar pretty high. We’ve had some terrific people come through as assistant conductors.”
Some orchestras, Stern said, audition assistant conductors “like an afterthought.” The Symphony, by contrast, put its candidates through a gauntlet of conducting challenging compositions with the orchestra and one rehearsal with the Kansas City Symphony Chorus. The candidates even had to prepare mock speeches so the audition committee could judge their manner addressing an audience. The six candidates were winnowed to three finalists before a final selection was made.
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- March 3, 2012 / 10:45 am