Our 30th Anniversary season promises to be a memorable one with four uniquely talented guest conductors, one of whom we hope will be named the new Music Director of the San Juan Symphony. Three appear as candidates, and one renews a special relationship.

Blake Richardson, Director of Orchestral Studies at the University of Alabama, visits in October. In demand as a conductor and educator in the U.S. and abroad, Blake is a Fulbright Scholar who received his Doctor of Musical Arts in Orchestral Conducting from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music in August 2012. Having worked as associate conductor to acclaimed maestro Lorin Maazel, he joined the conducting staff of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra in 2014. He has also served as principal conductor or the Wildwood Academy of Music and the Arts, and as assistant conductor to Valery Gergiev for the inaugural tour of Carnegie Hall's NYO-USA. He is the recipient of scholarships and awards from the Vienna Philharmonic, the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, the Chautauqua Institution, and the National Opera Association.

Conductor Thomas Heuser joins us in November. Thomas was named Music Director of the Idaho Falls Symphony in 2011. Simultaneously, he has served as the principal guest conductor of the San Francisco Academy Orchestra since 2013. In 2010, he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for orchestral conducting in Munich, Germany. He has also conducted the Idaho State Civic Symphony, the Hayward Festival Youth Orchestra, the Utah Symphony Youth Orchestra, and the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra. He received his Doctor of Musical Arts in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music in 2013 with a minor in Opera Coaching.

Third, Geoffrey Robson will conduct our February concerts. Geoff has been the Associate Conductor of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra since 2008, and the Music Director of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Youth Ensembles since 2012. Last year, as Visiting Professor of Music at the University of Central Arkansas, he also conducted the Conway Symphony Orchestra. He completed his M.M. in violin performance at Yale University in 2004, and later enrolled in the orchestral conducting program at the Mannes College of Music in New York City where he also studied choral conducting and opera.

Philip Mann returns to Durango to close our season with a celebratory collaboration that includes the Durango Choral Society and perennial favorite Norman Krieger. Formerly the San Diego Symphony's Associate Conductor, Philip is in his fifth season as Music Director of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. As a Rhodes scholar, he studied and conducted at Oxford, and was later honored as both an American Conducting Fellow and a winner of the Vienna Philharmonic's Karajan Fellowship. He has worked with orchestras and operas worldwide, most recently recording Brahms with the London Symphony Orchestra, and additional work with l'Orchestre symphonique de Qu├ębec, Cleveland Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, Georgian State Opera, the National Symphony of Cyprus, and a completely sold out run at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall. Choosing not to be a candidate for the SJS Music Director position himself, Philip hopes to continue his relationship with the SJS as a principal guest conductor.

We are looking forward to a varied and exciting season with these highly accomplished musicians. Buy season tickets so you don't miss a beat!

---Kathy Myrick, Executive Director