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Tacoma Symphony music director Harvey Felder to step down in 2014

Post by Rosemary Ponnekanti / The News Tribune on April 21, 2011 at 11:55 am with 6 Comments »
April 21, 2011 11:55 am

The Tacoma Symphony Orchestra has just announced that its long-time musical director Harvey Felder will be stepping down from his position at the end of the 2013-2014 season, three years from now. Felder’s contract, begun in 1993, expires next year, but the director is staying on to facilitate a national search for a replacement, according to the orchestra’s board of directors. Felder is leaving his position to take on new musical projects, but will be named the TSO’s first Conductor Laureate.

“I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity the TSO and its patrons have given me over the past 17 years, and I could never repay the kindness that so many have bestowed upon me during my tenure,” Felder said. “I look forward to working with the board and the rest of the symphony staff to find someone who can help the organization to continue its growth.”

As director, Felder not only took the 85-member orchestra from amateur volunteer to professional level but increased the annual performance schedule to six subscription concerts, began the Simply Symphonic educational series for elementary schoolchildren and held workshops for high-school students in outlying districts such as Puyallup. The orchestra is known for standard repertoire in its programming, but has also begun playing more adventurous pops concerts (such as the recent performance with electric harpist Deborah Henson-Conant) and appearing at the Puyallup Fair with artists such as Kenny Rogers, Wynona Judd and Chicago.

Felder also recently worked with local composer Greg Youtz on the orchestra’s first full-length commissioned concerto, featuring its two percussionists.

“I know I speak not only on behalf of the board but for our staff, musicians and subscribers when I say that the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra would not be what it is today without Maestro Felder’s vision and leadership,” said board president Clark D’Elia. “We know it will be a tough task to find someone to carry forward the tradition and the standards that Harvey has set, so we are especially appreciative of his offer to stay an additional two years to help us with that challenge.”

After leaving the TSO, Felder intends to work on new musical projects such as a national chamber orchestra slated to debut in 2012.

“The reality is that the role of a music director is all-consuming, leaving little time for other serious endeavors, and for the past 17 years, that has been something I’ve willingly done,” Felder added. “As I approach my 20-year anniversary though, I now wish to take the time and energy to breathe life into a few other musical endeavors.”

The orchestra will conclude its current season with an all-Russian concert featuring pianist Aviram Reichert on April 30.


Leave a comment Comments → 6
  1. Wow – We have been very fortunate to have Felder — I’ve been a fan of his and of the TSO for a long time. I wish him well as he moves forward.

  2. JC Cannon says:

    The Tacoma Symphony under the direction of Harvey Felder has been simply a delight to experience. I spent many enjoyable evenings listening to the amazing music he brought to life along with the artistry of his conducting. He will truly be missed. I look forward to watching his new career unfold.

  3. PLUViolin says:

    The City of Tacoma has completely transformed itself since the early 1990s with the creation and renovation of museums, trade centers, concert halls, residential and retail space. Everybody knows that the arts have been central to Tacoma’s Renaissance and Maestro Harvey Felder has played one of they key roles in the revival of Tacoma’s downtown core through the Arts. The entire City of Tacoma owes Harvey a debt of gratitude for transforming the Tacoma Symphony in much the same way that the City has transformed itself. Thank you for all you have done for the Arts and for Tacoma, Harvey!

  4. hopemoore says:

    My first exposure to the Tacoma Symphony was not at an evening performance, but at a Simply Symphonic education concert. Along with hundreds of fifth grade students I “saw” the music for the first time. I watched Maestro Felder captivate his young audience with the magic of not only “hearing” the music but “watching” how the music was made. The effect that the Maestro has had on our community goes well beyond the amazing concerts he conducted. His impact can not fully be measured without considering how he changed the way people think about symphonic music. His “conversations” with the audience helped us all “see” the music, understand it and fall in love with it. He brought the music to life in Tacoma as the city transformed itself. TSO’s first Conductor Laureate is a well deserved tribute. Harvey, thank you for all you have done for our city and especially our youth. You will be a hard act to follow and I wish you the best.

  5. As longtime subscribers, a past president, ongoing supporters and most importantly a friend, we wish to express our deep appreciation for the unbelievable leadership role Harvey has played in his time with
    the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra. Our very best wishes for the future of the Orchestra and for Maestro Felder’s ongoing professional success.

    Wendell and Pauline Stroud

  6. For me, Harvey Felder is the embodiment of the words professional, creative, outreach, education, humor, honor, precision, inventive, inviting, informing, encouraging and so many more. His music sensibility could only be outdone by his warmth from the stage. Maestro Felder’s ability to draw us into the music so we can begin to understand the emotions, the pressures of the era in which the music was written, and the wonderful stories that are bottled up inside the great works, actually make classical music come alive for many of us in the audience.
    Thank you Harvey for loving Tacoma and putting everything you have into choosing the music, interpreting it and adding the Technicolor shadings that only you can see and feel in your soul to create such memorable concerts.
    Like many others, I would venture to say, my wife and family will not miss a concert nor waste a moment as we look forward to the next three years and what Harvey will bring as his final creations for our enjoyment. Harvey, you will be missed. I hope you will bring your next endeavors on tour and make sure that Tacoma is on the list of cities. We will look forward to every concert.

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