Friday, April 3, 2009

FSO Search Committee Member Responds

(in response to Anne Midgette's blog post, "Jackson to Reno - and Fairfax?")

This season in which 6 highly qualified and artistically individual Music Directors have visited and conducted in our Fairfax community with the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra has been in the words of audience members around me been 'Exciting! You are going to have a tough job choosing!, "Next season we are definitely going to be season subscribers - we love them all!", "They are all so talented and creative, how are you going to choose?", etc.,

As a member of the Search Committee, we have loved the audience reaction and participation both on paper and online! We have been excited to see the buzz that word of mouth has created in the community as ticket sales have increased with each performance; this despite a difficult and challenging economy!

We have spent the past 18 months or so on a global search for the perfect fit in conductor selection to lead our orchestra to a new level of excellence and a bold vision for the future!

More than 240 applicants from around the world were reviewed, and then narrowed down to the 6 finalists who have been our conductors for our past season.

Each conductor has spent a week with us : attending a Board reception, meeting with our education leaders with FCPS, meeting with locally elected officials, and of course rehearsing, meeting with our subscibers and members of the public, and culminating in what can only be described as 'exciting performances' for all involved!

Our 6 finalists include a woman, 3 of international background, and hail from communities across the nation. They are exceptional artists in their own right, are highly committed to educational programming, and have excellent public speaking and community relation skills. Each have impeccable references, and in the words of 2 experts in selecting new conductors whom we have consulted with through our search process, have been 'excellent choices'!

We are excited as we near the end of our search process with our last candidate, Chris Zimmerman who will conduct on May 2nd at George Mason University. We encourage the community to attend and join us in our search!

You can learn more about all of our candidates by visiting

Yes, this will be a very difficult decision in the end because each of them would be an amazing choice to lead our community symphony to the next level of excellence, and to bring our young people into an even greater understanding, passion and appreciation of symphony!

Hope to see you there!
Valerie Dale
Member of the FSO Search Committee
Chair of the FSO Education Committee