Hopkins chooses Manhattan conductor for its symphony

April 16, 1991|By Ernest F. Imhoff | Ernest F. Imhoff,Evening Sun Staff

The Hopkins Symphony Orchestra has named Robert Black, conductor of the New Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra, of Manhattan, as its new music director, effective after the last concert of its current season April 28.

Black, 40, is ending his fifth season with New Amsterdam and recently led orchestras in Finland and Poland. Local music buffs may recall he conducted the Tidewater Chamber Ensemble last summer and the New York Music Ensemble at the Baltimore Museum of Art in February.

The new music director beat out four other finalists and more than 90 applicants in replacing Harvey Felder, now an assistant conductor with the Milwaukee Symphony. Eric Townell has been acting music director.

From his New York base, Black will continue leading the New Amersterdam and commute here to direct weekly Monday HSO rehearsals and the 1991-92 season at Shriver Hall, Johns Hopkins University. The orchestra is composed of 70 area musicans including Hopkins students and employees.

"The decision to offer the position to Robert Black was enthusiastically endorsed by the Search Committee and supported by the HSO Advisory Board," said Mary Ellen Porter, special assistant to the dean of Homewood school services.

The New Yorker studied at Oberlin University and the Juilliard School, where his teacher was pianist Beveridge Webster. His credits include a new compact disc recording with the Warsaw Philharmonic and earlier CD recordings of "adventuresome works" with the PRISM Orchestra.

Black has composed several orchestral pieces. He won the Edward Steuermann Memorial Prize for extraordinary distinction in piano performance. Black and his wife, Christine, live in Manhattan. Black is a Dallas native, Dallas Cowboys fan and a cook dedicated to Southwestern, Cajun-Creole and Indonesian cuisines.

The last concert of this season, at 3 p.m. April 28, features baritone Randal Woodfield. The program includes Mendelssohn's "The Hebrides," Ravel's "Don Quichotte," Vaughan Williams' "Songs of Travel" and Schuman's "New England Triptych." Call 338-6332 for ticket information.

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