The Anchorage Symphony Orchestra has announced that Artistic Advisor and Interim Conductor Elizabeth Schulze will be their next Music Director. Hailed by critics as “an ideal musical director whose contagious energy is as contagious as her exuberant and resolutely committed musicality”, she is also musical director and conductor of the Maryland Symphony Orchestra.
Schulze first joined the ASO as an artistic advisor in January 2021 following the sudden passing of Maestro Randall Craig Fleischer, who served as the ASO’s music director for 21 years. The organization intended to have a traditional Music Director search that would have presented 5 finalist candidates performing concerts during the 2022-2023 season and announcing a new Music Director in the spring of 2023.
“In January, we began screening over 100 applicants for this position,” said Robert Misulich, Chairman of ASO’s Board of Directors. “As we gradually triaged applications and began preparing to conduct interviews to reach a shortlist of five finalists, conversations with our musicians indicated that we needed to pause and re-evaluate this process. We learned that the challenge of COVID-19 coupled with the loss of Randy shortly after the start of the pandemic had a significant impact on our musicians; they longed for stability in their musical creation and they were very pleased with the progress made by the orchestra during of the final season. We put our search for Music Director on hold and turned to Elizabeth, who has fulfilled the role admirably over the past 16 months. The entire ASO family thinks this is a great fit for us, and we feel relieved and hopeful about the direction the Orchestra is taking under Elizabeth’s artistic direction.
Schulze commented on her new role: “I am absolutely delighted to continue my work with the excellent musicians of this wonderful orchestra. colleague, Randy Fleischer, but also, with a renewed focus on overcoming the barriers of isolation and silence imposed by the pandemic. Now we are moving forward to create exciting performances, engage new audiences and deepen our roots in our splendid community with opportunities in educating our precious up-and-coming generation and collaborating with the vast community of talented artists. among us.”
John Cleveland, President of the ASO Players Association and ASO Trumpeter, enthused: “I am thrilled that we have chosen Elizabeth Schulze as the new Music Director of the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra! She is a breath of fresh air. “fresh air after a few very difficult years. She took on the challenge of leading this orchestra and passed the test with flying colors! I think Elizabeth is a perfect fit for us and I know our beloved Randall Craig Fleischer would be very happy with our choice. “
ASO Executive Director Sherri Burkhart Reddick shared, “After Randy passed away, we knew we needed an artistic advisor to guide us until we found a new music director, and we recognized that Elizabeth’s friendship with Randy would serve our musicians, our board, our staff, community, and me as we healed from her loss. She was exactly the right choice. All credit goes to Elizabeth not only for helping us heal, but also for reigniting the passion in our musicians. She’s already made them better. They hear. They feel. And they truly anticipate that she will take them to a new level. Elizabeth is an exceptional musician, a compassionate leader and endeared to the ASO family. A bond was formed quickly, and it will be a great adventure to see where her artistic vision takes us.”
Positions previously held by Schulze include an appointment as Associate Conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the Hudson Valley Philharmonic Orchestra, Cover Conductor and Executive Assistant for the New York Philharmonic, and a nomination sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts. For Schulze’s full biography, visit www.AnchorageSymphony.org.
The Anchorage Symphony will announce its 2022/23 season in early summer.