Peabody alumnus is back to conduct concert

February 19, 1993|By Phil Greenfield | Phil Greenfield,Contributing Writer

A conductor familiar to many in Anne Arundel County will take the stage at the Peabody Conservatory on Feb. 25 as it commemorates the 100th anniversary of its Alumni Association.

Peter Bay, a alumnus of the Baltimore conservatory and former conductor of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, will conduct the concert.

He will lead the Conservatory Orchestra in a pair of contemporary works by Kilar and Lutoslawski, and in the monumental Piano Concerto No. 3 by Rachmaninoff. Mr. Bay's soloist in "Rachy 3" will by Jenny Lin, the pianistic powerhouse who has charmed and wowed audiences at First Night Annapolis for the past two years.

Things have been on the up-and-up for Mr. Bay since his departure from the Maryland Hall podium in spring 1990. He is resident conductor of the Rochester Philharmonic and associate conductor of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.

"I'm happy just to be employed," the 35-year-old conductor said with a laugh. "I'm lucky that I have two great orchestras to work with and that I'm doing the work I love."

The modern conducting game certainly requires flexibility.

When Mr. Bay resigned from the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, he and his wife, Jennifer, left their Rochester, N.Y., home and moved to St. Paul on the assumption that the Chamber Orchestra would occupy most of his time.

But, after his ascension to the resident post with the Philharmonic, the couple moved back to Rochester, where Mrs. Bay won an extended round of auditions to join the orchestra's horn section.

"All the travel back and forth gets pretty hectic," Mr. Bay said. "But the association with these orchestras is worth it. And it's just great for Jennifer that she won the position."

Mr. Bay has assumed a greater role in determining the artistic policy of the Rochester Philharmonic and regularly appears on subscription concerts conducting such works as Tchaikovsky's "Manfred" Symphony and Symphony No. 1 of John Corigliano. The latter is dedicated to the memory of AIDS victims known by the composer. "It's a powerful, powerful work," he said.

In addition to guest conducting such ensembles as the Arkansas Symphony, the Nebraska Chamber Orchestra and the Fort Wayne (Ind.) Philharmonic, Mr. Bay spends 12 weeks a year in St. Paul, where he helps Hugh Wolf, maestro of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.

The two are old chums from Peabody. "I admire him immensely," Mr. Bay said. "He's doing great things with the orchestra."

VTC Last summer at Wolf Trap, Mr. Bay led a sold-out concert of Hollywood movie music with the National Symphony. "We put together selections from 'Ben Hur,' 'Citizen Kane,' 'Gone With the Wind,' 'North By Northwest,' and the old 'Robin Hood,' " he said. "It went quite well."

So well, that it will be repeated with the nationals at Wolf Trap this June, and Mr. Bay might well be conducting it with the St. Louis Symphony.

"I'm just hoping my next step will be a big step up. And in the meantime, I'm just trying to stay busy," Mr. Bay said. "Luckily, that's exactly what's happening."

His Annapolis Symphony Orchestra memories are fond. "I miss the orchestra, I miss the management and I miss the community," he said. "I truly look forward to coming back and hearing the orchestra once again."

Peter Bay will conduct the Peabody Symphony Orchestra on Feb. 25 at 8:15 p.m. in the Miriam A. Friedberg Concert Hall, 1 E. Mount Vernon Place, Baltimore. Tickets are $10 each. Call (410) 659-8124 for reservations.

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