3 finalists vie for Britt musical director position

JACKSONVILLE — One of three finalists will clinch the Britt Festivals' musical director and conductor position after auditioning during August's Classical Festival.

Each finalist — Mei-Ann Chen, Teddy Abrams and David Danzmayr — will spend a week at Britt, leading the orchestra in rehearsals and during two weekend concerts apiece during Britt's Classical Festival. The new director will be chosen after the performances, which run each Friday and Saturday, Aug. 2-18.

"This is an exciting time, with so many possibilities to look forward to," Britt Executive Director Donna Briggs said in a news release. "In our 50-year history, we have had just four music directors, and it's been more than 20 years since our last search."

Mei-Ann Chen, music director of the Memphis Symphony and Chicago Sinfonietta, will conduct the opening night concert Aug. 2, accompanied by guest pianist Jon Kimura Parker. Her Aug. 3 concert will include pianist Ian Parker. Chen's performances will include Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony and Beethoven's Seventh's Symphony.

Teddy Abrams, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra's assistant conductor and resident conductor of Budapest's MAV Symphony Orchestra, will perform Aug. 9, conducting pianist Yuja Wang in Gershwin's Concerto in F. His Aug. 10 concert will feature violinist Augustin Hadelich performing Stravinsky's Violin Concerto. Abram's performances also will include Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra and Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5.

Third conductor finalist David Danzmayr, music director of the Illinois Philharmonic in Chicago, will lead his first concert Aug. 16. He will be accompanied by pianist Lisa Smirnova performing Shostakovich's Piano Concerto No. 2. His Aug. 17 concert will feature violinist Jennifer Koh performing Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto. The concert will conclude with Dvorak's Symphony No. 8.

Britt's final classical season concert will be held Aug. 18. Classical Festival tickets can be purchased presale through March 31. For more information, call the box office at either 1-800-882-7488 or 541-773-6077, or visit online at www.brittfest.org.

Britt's full schedule of concerts will be announced April 3.

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