Letter from Leif Bjaland
February 12, 2011
I have learned that personal growth often requires one to make changes and this belief has prompted me to embrace a new chapter in my life. In so doing, I wanted to share with you my decision to make next season - my 15th year with the Sarasota Orchestra - my last.
I’m grateful to artistic visionaries like Paul Wolfe and David Cohen for building the Florida West Coast Symphony and proud of our many accomplishments since I joined the Orchestra in 1997. Since that time the Sarasota Orchestra has grown to become one of the finest regional orchestras in the United States. Our Journeys to Genius series and recent Espana Masterworks program have broken new artistic ground. The collaborations with countless cultural organizations have been fruitful. And the commissioning of several new musical works during my tenure has contributed to our art form.
It has been a privilege to work with such exceptional musicians and our dedicated staff. Most of all, I cherish the friendships I have made in this community and the many special moments we have shared in the many concerts I’ve conducted over the past fourteen years.
I am confident that the musicians, staff, conductors and Board of the Sarasota Orchestra are committed to the artistic excellence for which you have come to expect and which has been made possible through your ongoing support. I believe in smooth transitions. It is good for organizations and will be helpful to the musicians and staff I care about deeply. Next season will serve as an important bridge year. I will be conducting a number of Masterworks concerts and participating in a farewell event. A roster of guest conductors will be invited to lead other Masterworks concerts.
It has been an honor to serve as Artistic Director. Perpetuating the role and excellence of orchestral music for our community and our youth is only possible with your support. I know that I speak for all my colleagues at the Sarasota Orchestra when I ask you to provide your continued support to an organization that means so much to all of us.
I look forward to sharing some more special moments with you as I conduct concerts in the coming months and next season.
Artistic Director and Conductor