The fourth of six candidates, Aram Demirjian, 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 Demirjian:
The candidate: Demirjian is music director of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, a post he assumed last year. Prior to that he was associate conductor of the Kansas City Symphony. He is a cover conductor (filling in as needed) for the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, both plum positions. Recent guest conducting gigs have included concerts with Minnesota Orchestra and the Memphis and Omaha symphonies.
Education: A graduate of Harvard University, he was one of only two conductors in the inaugural class of the Orchestral Conducting program at the New England Conservatory of Music. He began his conducting career as music director of the Harvard Bach Society Orchestra.
Accomplishments: He was the only American out of seven conductors selected for the 2016 Bernard Haitink Masterclass at the Lucerne Easter Festival in Switzerland. In Kansas City, he was founding conductor of Classics Uncorked, a series that presents weeknight classical concerts “with thematic programming, narration, visual effects, musical demonstrations and audience interaction.” In 2014, he was featured as a guest artist in the Tanglewood Music Center’s Festival of Contemporary Music.
Fresno program: Demirjian will conduct Mozart’s “Overture to Don Giovanni,” music from Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess” and Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8. The highlight of the program likely will be Copland’s Clarinet Concerto, an American staple.
Guest artist: The Fresno Philharmonic welcomes a powerhouse soloist. Anthony McGill, principal clarinet of the New York Philharmonic, joins the orchestra in the Copland piece. He previously served as principal clarinet of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.
Get to know the candidate better: Demirjian 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.