BSO announces music director finalists

Bainbridge Symphony Orchestra director Wesley Schulz’s imminent departure portends a springtime evolution for the orchestra, said Bainbridge Performing Arts spokeswoman Sally Jo Martine.

Following an extensive search and rigorous competition for the position being relinquished, BPA and BSO have announced two impressive finalists for the role of BSO music director — and audience members can help usher in the final selection by attending the upcoming spring concerts.

Tigran Arakelyan will lead the BSO in “Superheroes and Villains!” on April 14 and April 15, and Bobby Collins will lead the BSO in “Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4” on June 1 and June 3.

Guest conductor Mario Alejandro Torres will step in to conduct the remaining concert of the season, “Franck Symphony in D minor” on Feb. 17 and Feb. 18.

Arakelyan is the music director for Bainbridge Island Youth Orchestras, the Federal Way Youth Symphony Orchestra and the artistic director/conductor of Port Townsend Community Orchestra and has held conducting positions with California Philharmonic, Los Angeles Youth Orchestra, Whatcom Symphony Orchestra, Rainier Symphony, Northridge Youth Philharmonic and the University of Washington.

He received a doctorate in musical arts in conducting from the University of Washington, studying with Ludovic Morlot and David Alexander Rahbee.

“[The April] collaboration is especially special because it is with the BSO and the talented young musicians of BIYO,” Arakelyan said.

“In the 21st century, two of the most important institutions for the future of orchestral music in the U.S. are youth orchestras and community orchestras. They educate and inspire communities all over the country. I look forward to working with the BSO musicians and sharing the music with the supportive community.”

Collins currently serves as music director and cofounder of The Sound Ensemble and conducting assistant to music director Sarah Ioannides at Symphony Tacoma.

His recent awards include the Legh Burns Conducting Fellowship for the Pacific Northwest Conducting Institute, as well as having been named one of the 2017-18 Conducting Fellows for Allentown Symphony Orchestra.

Collins is deeply honored, he said, to be a finalist for the Bainbridge position. And, as a former member of the orchestra, said, “I have experienced firsthand the unique community that surrounds the orchestra and fills the island. This is a treasure that I hope to honor, nurture and enrich as music director. The BSO has established itself as a central part of the island’s cultural identity and I hope to deepen the impact of its work by continuing to provide magnificent concerts while expanding our outreach so that nobody misses the opportunity to experience the joy of music.”

“It’s exciting to approach a new chapter in the BSO’s rich legacy here from a position of such strength,” said BPA executive director Dominique Cantwell.

“Both of our candidates bring thoughtful and unique qualities to their work that I think will continue to help the orchestra grow within our community,” Cantwell said. “I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us.”

Based in Seattle, the BSO’s February guest conductor, Mario Alejandro Torres, is bringing a new and exciting sound to the Poulsbo Community Orchestra, where he has been recently appointed music and artistic director.

In February 2017, he did a conducting fellowship with the Seattle Symphony, assisting Maestro Ludovic Morlot in an exciting concert where Hilary Hahn performed the impassioned Bruch’s first violin concerto. And at the University of Washington, his energy and passion to work with young musicians have set UW Campus Philharmonia Orchestras to higher artistic performances.

Photo courtesy of the Bainbridge Symphony Orchestra | Bobby Collins                                 Photo courtesy of the Bainbridge Symphony Orchestra | Tigran Arakelyan

Photo courtesy of the Bainbridge Symphony Orchestra | Bobby Collins Photo courtesy of the Bainbridge Symphony Orchestra | Tigran Arakelyan