Rei Hotoda is one of six finalists vying for the opportunity to become music director of the Fresno Philharmonic. Now it’s her turn in the spotlight.
Hotoda is spending the week doing media interviews, rehearsing with the musicians, and meeting with audience members, musicians, patrons and students. Her visit culminates Sunday with an appearance at the “Words on Music” pre-concert lecture and then conducting a Masterworks concert.
Here’s a rundown on Hotoda:
The candidate – Hotoda is associate conductor of the Utah Symphony Orchestra in Salt Lake City, a post she assumed in 2015. Her recent guest conducting gigs have included the symphony orchestras in Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Edmonton, Fort Worth, Jacksonville, Utah, Toronto and Winnipeg. A noted pianist, she can lead an orchestra from the piano as well as the podium. Prior to her time in Utah, she was assistant conductor of both the Winnipeg and Dallas symphony orchestras.
Education – She holds a doctor of musical arts degree in piano performance from the University of Southern California and a bachelor of music degree in piano performance from the Eastman School of Music.
Accomplishments – Hotoda studied conducting with Gustav Meier at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore. She’s a big fan of new music and has conducted premieres of works by such composers as John Cage, Gene Coleman, Luc Ferrari, Dai Fujikura and Salvatore Sciarrino. Women composers are a particular interest, and she’s drawn attention to Vivian Fung, Jennifer Higdon and Kotoka Suzuki. As a soloist, Hotoda has conducted from the piano with the Dallas, Edmonton, Utah, and Winnipeg symphony orchestras.
Fresno program – Hotoda will conduct “The Rhyme of Taigu” by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Zhou Long, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 (“Emperor”) and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5.
Guest artist – Pianist Shai Wosner’s latest recording, featuring concertos and solo works by Haydn and Ligeti with the Danish National Symphony, was released in June on the Onyx label. It was named “Concerto Choice” in September by BBC Music Magazine.
Get to know the candidate better – Hotoda will join the orchestra’s Benjamin Boone in the pre-concert lecture at 2 p.m. And a post-concert reception in the lower lobby after the performance is open to all ticket holders.