Leslie B. Dunner has been appointed new music director of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, ASO board President Gregory Stiverson announced yesterday.
Dunner, who has been resident conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra for 10 years and resident conductor of Canada's Symphony Nova Scotia for two years, is taking the place of former music director Gisele Ben-Dor, now the music director of the Santa Barbara Symphony.
"We're simply delighted to have him. He is a musician of international reputation," Stiverson says. "He will bring to Annapolis a fresh view and enthusiasm."
He will take his post June 1 and will open the symphony's season as conductor for two free concerts: Sept. 5 at Downs Park in Pasadena and Sept. 6 at Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis.
Dunner, who has won awards and has guest-conducted from San Antonio, Texas, to South Africa, will have both artistic and administrative responsibilities, Stiverson says. Serving as principal conductor is one of these duties.
Dunner was chosen by an eight-member search committee. The process took two years, beginning with with nearly 300 applicants. The pool was eventually narrowed to four finalists: Dunner; Steven Smith, assistant conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra and associate conductor of the Kansas City Symphony; David Effron, music director of the Eastman Philharmonia and the Brevard Music Festival; and Miguel Harth-Bedoya, music director of the Eugene (Oregon) Symphony.
According to Stiverson, Harth-Bedoya was the first choice, but he and the symphony failed to come to an agreement on a contract.
"He [Dunner] was the second, but a very high second," Stiverson says. "They were completely different; like apples and oranges."
Dunner, a graduate of the New York High School of Music and Art, has also been involved in musical education for young people.
Pam Chaconas, the symphony's education director, is looking forward, with the help of Dunner, to expanding the symphony's current educational programs, such as concerts at Anne Arundel County elementary schools.
Chaconas saw Dunner's commitment to education in action when he came to Annapolis as a guest conductor in February.
"After the concert, I was looking for him, and I found him surrounded by kids, talking to them," Chaconas says. "He was asking their names, whether they played instruments. I was impressed."
Pub Date: 4/03/98