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Arts / Culture

Sarasota Orchestra Hires Veteran Conductor As New Music Director

An older white man in a tuxedo holds a conductor's baton.
David Cooper
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Bramwell Tovey has agreed to a five-year contract, starting on September first.

Bramwell Tovey will be just the sixth music director in the Sarasota Orchestra's 72-year history.

The Sarasota Orchestra has named Bramwell Tovey as its new music director.

The British-born conductor, who led the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra for 18 years, becomes just the sixth music director in the Sarasota Orchestra's 72-year history.

Tovey has held the baton for orchestras around the world, from the BBC Concert Orchestra to the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Joseph McKenna, the Sarasota Orchestra President and CEO said Tovey is an important hire for the organization.

"Bramwell has a really distinguished career,” McKenna said. "He’s a fabulous musician, composer, and pianist, deeply dedicated to education. He really does embody all the wonderful things that the Sarasota Orchestra needs as we move beyond this pandemic into our next stage of artistic development and growth."

Tovey was one of a rotating cast of guest conductors for the Sarasota Orchestra last season before the coronavirus pandemic led to canceled performances.

McKenna said it was clear then that Tovey was a front runner for the job.

"From the first rehearsal there was an energy and excitement that Bramwell brought to the podium and our musicians rose to that," he said. "So that chemistry and that connection between they as an ensemble and he as a conductor was really noticeable from the first rehearsal."

The conductor has agreed to a five-year contract, starting on September first.

During his first year as Music Director Designate, Tovey will conduct two weekends, plan the full 2022/2023 season, and will lead the Orchestra in a special concert entitled "Tovey: The Adventure Begins," Oct, 30 at the Sarasota Opera House.

In a statement Tovey said, “my decision to accept the invitation to become Music Director of Sarasota Orchestra was made because the musicians’ artistry and dedication, the organization’s health and the community’s support all resonated with an inspirational unanimity of vision.”

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