Maestra Tania Miller named Acting Principal Conductor of the RI Philharmonic Orchestra & Music School

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Maestra Tania Miller will take over as Acting Principal Conductor of the RI Philharmonic Orchestra & Music School following the passing of Maestro Bramwell Tovey. His commitment was secured in early July at the invitation of Tovey and with the full support of the organization’s board, management and orchestra committee. Miller will lead three concerts during the season and will also take on off-stage duties. Other concerts previously scheduled for Tovey will be conducted by Kensho Watanabe and Sascha Goetzel. Leonard Slatkin will join Renée Fleming for the 2023 Annual Gala Concert on June 3, 2023.

Tania Miller was Music Director of the Victoria Symphony Orchestra of Canada for 14 seasons and was named Music Director Emeritus for her commitment to the orchestra and the community. She has distinguished herself as a visionary and innovative leader with a growing international reputation as a highly effective communicator and advocate for the arts. When she first appeared with the RI Phil in January 2019, critic Channing Gray commented on her “throbbing and joyful rendition of Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony”, including a “breathtaking swirling final movement”. She returned the following November on just two weeks’ notice and left audiences and orchestra spellbound with her masterful rendition of Shostakovich’s epic Symphony No. 10. Ms. Miller most recently appeared at the 2022 Annual Gala Concert. As Acting Principal Conductor, she will conduct the October season opener with cellist Sterling Elliott, the May season finale presentation of The Requiem of Verdi and a January program that includes a side-by-side performance of Dvorak’s 8th Symphony with the RI Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. In previous engagements with the RI Phil, Ms. Miller has participated in community gatherings and school activities. As Acting Principal Conductor, Miller will help plan the orchestra’s 23-24 season, work with music school students, and engage with audiences, donors, and community partners throughout the season. .

Internationally acclaimed conductor Leonard Slatkin last appeared with the RI Phil in May 2022 leading a rousing concert of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Providence Singers. He is Laureate Music Director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO), Honorary Music Director of the Orchester National de Lyon (ONL), and Laureate Conductor of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra (SLSO). He maintains a rigorous schedule of guest conductors around the world and is active as a composer, author and educator. Slatkin has held positions in New Orleans, St. Louis, Washington, DC, London (with BBCSO), Detroit and Lyon, France. He has also held leadership positions in Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Cleveland.

Emerging on the international scene over the past three years, Kensho Watanabe is poised to become one of the most exciting and versatile young conductors to come out of the United States. He last conducted the RI Phil in November 2021 for a program of Florence Price, Ravel, and Rachmaninoff’s lovely 2nd Symphony. Watanabe was recently recognized as a recipient of a Career Assistance Award by the Solti Foundation US. He served as assistant conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra from 2016 to 2019, and during that time made his critically acclaimed debut with the orchestra and pianist Daniil Trifonov, succeeding his mentor Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

A dynamic, charismatic and compelling musical presence on the podium, Sascha Goetzel has established himself as a multifaceted conductor – a remarkable orchestra builder, creative programmer, entrepreneur, educator and advocate for musicians and artists. At the end of 2021, he was appointed musical director of the Orchester National des Pays de la Loire, a position he assumed for a first term of four years from September 2022. He was also appointed musical director of the Orchester National des Pays de la Loire. NYO-CAN, the National Youth Orchestra of Canada starting summer 2022.

Bramwell Tovey, Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra, died peacefully on July 12. Diagnosed with a rare form of sarcoma in May 2019, Tovey underwent surgery at Dana Farber in Boston in June 2021 that briefly left him cancer-free. In January of this year, analyzes confirmed a recurrence from which he ultimately could not recover.

The Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra’s 2022-23 season will be dedicated to the memory of Bramwell Tovey and celebrate his joy of music and his passion for music education. A memorial fund will be established in Bramwell Tovey’s name to support the Rhode Island Philharmonic Music School and its impact on future generations of young musicians in Bramwell’s adopted state. Fund details will follow.

Photo: Todd Rosenberg

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