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Sarasota Orchestra hopes to launch an 'expedited' search for its new music director soon

Sarasota Orchestra CEO Joe McKenna 014 Select.jpg
Alex Stafford
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Sarasota Orchestra CEO Joe McKenna

Earlier this year, the orchestra's sixth music director, Bramwell Tovey, died of sarcoma.

The Sarasota Orchestra is heading into its 75th season, and soon it will be searching for a new music director. But the last music director, the late Bramwell Tovey, is very much on CEO Joe McKenna’s mind.

Although he was with the orchestra for only a short period, his fingerprints are on everything.

“So, there's really two important things that Bramwell was well underway with. That was, of course, looking after the music-making, and he was fully supportive of the vision for an acoustical home for the orchestra, and he was actively involved in that planning prior to his passing,” McKenna said.

Tovey had a recurrence of sarcoma earlier this year and he did not survive.

Because the search is coming so soon after the last one, McKenna says he hopes it can be expedited to find a new music director quickly, without sacrificing quality. But he doesn't know what form the search will take.

McKenna says in searching for a new music director, they will look for someone with a culture of service, excellence and possibility.

“And leading the organization, bringing excellence and diversity and a wide range of experience to the leadership role," McKenna said. "And then really being steeped in that aspirational possibility mindset. You know, Bramwell felt strongly that when you stop dreaming, or you stop aspiring, the music goes flat.”

While it may seem like a simple answer, when they find the right person, McKenna said it will just click.

McKenna said the organization has identified a parcel of land on Fruitville Road to build the acoustical home for the Sarasota Orchestra and are in the “the advanced stages of the due diligence work,” and hope to close on the land for the new sometime in January.

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