In recent years, the conductor's baton of the Peabody Symphony Orchestra looked more like a runner's baton going from one temporary conductor to another. It showed.
Saturday night, Peabody's new permanent leader from the University of Cincinnati Conservatory, Hajime Teri Murai, gave Baltimore a new rejuvenated orchestra in his debut here. Its promise of fine things with stability needed only the two hours of the delightful concert to show the future is here already with a major upgrading.
Small, wiry and super-active on the podium, Murai delighted in extracting a variety of moods from the 80 players, opening with the frothy "Oberon Overture" of Weber and closing with a dynamic, multi-shaded Symphony No. 2 by Sibelius. Clearly, while improvements will be made, the orchestra is already Murai's. Members seemed to love playing for him.