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Trio of conductors will try out with ECO baton

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By Sara Miller

After 27 seasons in existence, the Evergreen Chamber Orchestra is still going strong. For this time-tested organization, the 2010-11 season brings exciting changes. With the first concert of the season approaching on Nov. 21, the orchestra is welcoming the first in a trio of auditioning conductors. At the end of the season, one maestro will take the helm as the new leader of the Evergreen Chamber Orchestra.

Dr. William Morse, conductor since the inception of the ECO, announced his retirement last summer. Morse will assume the role of conductor emeritus of the orchestra and is looking forward to spending more time with his family and fly-fishing in the rivers of Colorado.

Upon Morse’s announcement, the orchestra’s board of directors created a conductor search committee. The committee and orchestra members spent the summer reviewing resumes to choose five candidates to audition with the orchestra. In September, the orchestra assembled to audition the five candidates chosen by the search committee. From these five, the orchestra chose three finalists who have been invited to be guest conductors for the 2010-11 season.

The orchestra’s concert on Sunday, Nov. 21, will be led by the first guest conductor, maestro Rene Knetsch. Knetsch received a master’s degree in violin performance and has made his living as a performing violinist, teacher and conductor. Before moving to Denver, he was a violinist with several professional orchestras including the Oklahoma, Jacksonville and Alabama symphonies. While living in Birmingham, Ala., he was music director of the Red Mountain Chamber Orchestra. Since moving to Denver, Knetsch has worked with a variety of musical organizations, including serving as the music director of the South Suburban Community Orchestra in Centennial, and teaching violin and viola at Arapahoe Community College.

The first concert’s program will feature traditional and contemporary pieces selected by Knetsch. The audience will enjoy pieces by Prokofiev, von Biber, Stravinsky and Haydn.

“Each conductor selected his or her own program,” says Betty Johnson, ECO spokeswoman. “They were allowed to send out to rent one contemporary piece, and each of the others was to be selected from the standard literature that we had in the orchestra library,”

The other two auditioning conductors will raise the baton in the spring of 2011. Dr. David Kish, a native of Pennsylvania, was appointed director of bands and assistant professor of music at Metropolitan State College of Denver in 2005. Kish will lead the orchestra in concert on Sunday, March 3, at 3 p.m.

Throughout her career, Cynthia Katsarelis has conducted professional, conservatory and youth orchestras. She is currently serving as music director and conductor of the Pro Musica Colorado Chamber Orchestra in Boulder, a professional chamber orchestra committed to repertoire from “classic to cutting-edge.” Katsarelis will conduct at the Sunday, April 17, concert.

At the end of the season, the orchestra members will vote and invite one conductor to step up to the helm. Each candidate brings a wealth of diverse experience and insight to the orchestra that will make for a rich musical experience this season.

Sara Miller, a freelance writer and a resident of Evergreen, lives with her husband, two children and a dog.

Evergreen Chamber Orchestra presents

Opening concert of the 2010-11 season

Sunday, Nov. 21, at 3 p.m.

Maestro Rene Knetsch conducting

All tickets are $15

Call 303-670-6558 or email info@evergreenchamberorch.org for details.