Musical Musings

Jeffrey Kahane Extends Festival Leadership Contract

The Sarasota Orchestra today announced that Jeffrey Kahane signed a three-year contract renewal as Music Director of the Sarasota Music Festival. Kahane was also appointed as Artistic Advisor for Sarasota Orchestra while a search is underway for a new music director.

Kahane began his Festival leadership position on June 1, 2017, with the signing of his first three-year contract. His second three-year contract takes effect on August 1, 2019 and will continue his leadership of the Festival through 2022. As the third Music Director in Sarasota Music Festival's history, Kahane succeeds Festival founder Paul Wolfe and Robert Levin, who continues to serve as a Festival faculty member.

"Our Board recognizes the artistic growth of the Sarasota Music Festival under Jeffrey Kahane's leadership. During the coming three years, Jeffrey will continue to lead the Festival to an even greater level of achievement and success," commented Joseph McKenna, President and CEO of Sarasota Orchestra.

In addition to his Sarasota Music Festival contract renewal, Kahane will also serve in the temporary role of Artistic Advisor while the Orchestra continues its search for a successor to Music Director Anu Tali.  It is customary for orchestras to have guidance in artistic matters and planning in the absence of a music director and while a formal search process for a new orchestra leader takes place.

Kahane, a dynamic musical leader, is critically acclaimed and in demand worldwide as a guest conductor and pianist. In addition to his role as Music Director of the Sarasota Music Festival, Kahane serves as Professor of Keyboard Studies at University of Southern California Thornton School of Music. In May 2017, Kahane completed his 20th and final season as Music Director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, where he continues to serve as Conductor Laureate. He also served as the Music Director of the Colorado Symphony from 2005 until 2010, and was Music Director of the Santa Rosa Symphony for 10 seasons.

Kahane has received much recognition for his innovative programming and commitment to education and community involvement with all three orchestras. He received ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming for his work in both Los Angeles and Denver.

"We are pleased to engage Jeffrey for this advising role during the Music Director search process. His knowledge of Sarasota and experience with our organization were key factors in securing his assistance during this transition period," said David Steves, Board Chair.

"I am thrilled to continue my rewarding work with the Sarasota Music Festival and look forward to accomplishing much in the coming years. I am also honored to be named Artistic Advisor for Sarasota Orchestra. With my deep affection for the Sarasota community, I am happy to be of assistance during this interim period," said Kahane.  

About the Sarasota Music Festival:

Every June, faculty artists and pre-professional musicians come together in Sarasota to study and perform chamber and orchestral music. Nearly 500 applicants worldwide audition to participate in the Sarasota Music Festival each year, but only 60 are accepted as Fellows for the prestigious Festival, a program of Sarasota Orchestra. 

Founded by Paul Wolfe, the Sarasota Music Festival began in 1965 as a one-week event with seven guest artists. Wolfe was its director for 42 years as the Festival garnered international acclaim.  Robert Levin led the Festival for the 10 years following Wolfe.

In its third season under Music Director Jeffrey Kahane, the 2019 Festival welcomes more than 40 faculty artists, including many of the Festival's own alumni.   

About Sarasota Orchestra:

For 70 years, Sarasota Orchestra has been engaging music lovers from around the region and visitors from around the world. The Orchestra performs more than 125 classical, Pops, education and community engagement concerts each year and thrives as the oldest continuing orchestra in the state of Florida. Youth programs provide concert experiences for about 10,000 students per year and include an extensive youth orchestra program of eight ensembles and more than 300 students. The Sarasota Music Festival is a world-renowned performance and teaching festival that attracts young musicians and faculty from across the globe each June. 

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