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Knoxville Symphony Orchestra announces Aram Demirjian as 8th music director

May 31, 2016

A new era begins

Today, the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra announced Aram Demirjian as its eighth Music Director. After a year-long search and vetting process, Maestro Demirjian was chosen from the nine candidates for the position. A search committee formed to interview and select the final candidates for the next conductor, who, in addition to conducting concerts, will provide musical leadership, artistic vision, and an organizational presence in the community, helping to drive the KSO forward in fulfilling its mission.

Aram Demirjian

Aram Demirjian

“This was indeed a tough decision, but what an exciting time to be a part of the Knoxville Symphony,” said KSO Board President Cynthia Moxley. “The selection committee, led by Jim Martin, did a thorough and lengthy search in choosing Maestro Demirjian as our next conductor and music director. We had many excellent candidates, but we ultimately picked Maestro Demirjian because of his artistic vision and dynamic personality — both on and off stage. He is a vibrant, young conductor with a great future ahead of him. In fact, I think he will be a superstar who will build on the excellence of the KSO and help us reach new and larger audiences.”

“I am extremely honored and excited to be named the next Music Director of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra,” said Aram Demirjian. “Knoxville is a city that is brimming with artistic possibility, and I believe the Symphony is poised to achieve great things in coming years.

As the newest member of the KSO family, I am eager to team up with my new colleagues and advance the great work being done by the Symphony on stage, in schools and out in the community. I firmly believe that classical music can be for everyone, and we are going to work hard to build a vibrant, inviting culture in which all Knoxvillians are inspired to share in the eye-opening symphonic experiences we create. No matter what your age, background or musical taste, there will be a seat at the KSO table for you.”

About the New Music Director, Aram Demirjian

Aram Demirjian is a dynamic emerging leader on the American musical landscape, known for his ability to bridge tradition with innovation and to forge magnetic rapport with his audiences. In a recent 4-year tenure as Associate Conductor of the Kansas City Symphony, Demirjian was instrumental in the development of the nationally recognized Classics Uncorked series, which presents symphonic classics with progressive, approachable fresh perspectives in casual settings. He also was responsible for programming and conducting original education concerts for over 40,000 grade school students annually, and he frequently conducted the Youth Symphony of Kansas City. His recent and forthcoming guest conducting appearances include the Minnesota Orchestra, Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, Louisiana, Boise and Fresno philharmonic orchestras, the Omaha, Memphis, Illinois symphonies and the Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music. Prior to his appointment in Kansas City, Demirjian served on the conducting faculty of the New England Conservatory Preparatory School.

About the Music Director Search

The search committee included KSO Board members, 10 Knoxville Symphony Orchestra musicians, representatives from the Knoxville Symphony League and staff along with community members. There were approximately 160 applicants for the KSO Music Director position. The search committee narrowed the applicants to 30 and reviewed each candidate thoroughly, including watching submitted videos of the candidates in action. Three candidates who were scheduled to guest conduct during the 2014-2015 season (Sameer Patel, Lawrence Loh, Vladimir Kulenovic) and the six finalists who conducted a pair of concerts during the 2015-2016 Season (Marcelo Lehninger, Shizuo “Z” Kuwahara, Aram Demirjian, Eckart Preu, Jacomo Bairos, Steven Jarvi) were all considered. The 9 candidates were interviewed and the Music Director search committee presented its top choice for the KSO Board of Directors’ approval. The board voted to approve Aram Demirjian as the new Music Director and Maestro Demirjian accepted the position.

About the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra

Established in 1935, the KSO has contributed to the cultural life in East Tennessee continuously for 80 years, providing excellence in musical and educational programs. The Orchestra consists of 80 professional musicians and performs 250 programs throughout the region each season, reaching audiences of more than 200,000 people. The KSO performs in traditional venues such as the Tennessee Theatre, Bijou Theatre and the Civic Auditorium as well as non-traditional places like hospitals, schools, city parks and churches.