After an invigorating lineup of five highly qualified candidates, the Fresno Philharmonic’s search for a new music director is coming to an end. José-Luis Novo is the sixth and final candidate.
Novo is spending the week doing media interviews, rehearsing with the musicians, and meeting with audience members, musicians, patrons and students. His 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 Novo:
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The candidate: If you’re thinking Novo seems familiar, he is. The native of Spain was guest conductor of the Fresno Philharmonic in a 2015 concert based on dances from Spain and Latin America. He is music director of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra in Maryland and the Binghamton Philharmonic Orchestra in New York State. Recent appearances include the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra, Symphony Silicon Valley and the Cleveland Philharmonic.
Education: Novo studied at his hometown conservatory of Valladolid in Spain and the Royal Conservatory of Music in Brussels, where he earned a first prize in violin. He came to the U.S. in 1988 as a Fulbright Scholar, earning both Master of Music and Master of Musical Arts degrees from Yale University.
Accomplishments: In 1992, the Spanish foundation La Caixa awarded him a fellowship to study at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he completed a Master of Music degree in orchestral conducting. As a violinist, he made recordings for the Spanish and Norwegian public radio networks.
Fresno program: Novo will conduct Mozart’s Overture to “The Magic Flute,” Ravel’s “La Valse” and Stravinsky’s “Firebird Suite,” all works associated with the artist Marc Chagall.
Guest artist: Violinist Chee-Yun joins the orchestra for Dvorak’s Violin Concerto. She has performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the London Philharmonic, and the Toronto, Houston, Seattle, Pittsburgh and National symphony orchestras, among others.
Get to know the candidate better: Novo 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.