The Sarasota Orchestra today announced the appointment of Jeffrey Kahane to the position of Music Director for the Sarasota Music Festival. Kahane has agreed to a three-year contract and will officially begin his position as Music Director on August 1, 2016.
"Our Board is honored to be announcing the appointment of Jeffrey. We believe his international reputation as a conductor, pianist and educator is a perfect fit for the Festival and will help advance our aspirations for the Festival’s growth and evolution, as well as Sarasota’s reputation as a cultural destination,” said Anne Folsom-Smith, Board Chair of the Sarasota Orchestra.
Ani Kavafian has been a Sarasota Music Festival faculty member for more than 20 years and served on the search committee.
"I am thrilled that this wonderful festival, where I was once a student, will be led by someone who is at the top of everyone’s list as a musician, educator and performer. Jeffrey Kahane is truly brilliant but also a kind and thoughtful person who, I believe, will take this festival to even greater heights,” Kavafian said.
Kavafian is an acclaimed recitalist, soloist and chamber musician, and a professor at Yale University.
"David Steves, chair of the Search Committee and a Board member said: “Our search committee was comprised of Festival faculty, Board and staff members, as well as Sarasota Orchestra and community representation. We are excited to have found a new Music Director with the qualifications and passion worthy of furthering the legacy of the Festival built by Paul Wolfe and Robert Levin.”
Kahane is a renowned conductor and pianist who has appeared with many of the world’s great orchestras. He completes his tenure as Music Director of The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra at the end of the 16/17 season and is currently the Artistic Director of ChamberFest at the Green Music Center at Sonoma State University. His previous leadership posts include Music Director of the Colorado Symphony and the Santa Rosa Symphony.
Kahane has recorded extensively and is a recipient of ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming for his work with LACO and the Colorado Symphony. Beginning in the fall, he will be a Professor of Keyboard Studies at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music. Earlier in his career he was a Van Cliburn Competition finalist, first prize winner of the Arthur Rubinstein Competition, and the recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant.
"My first experience with the Sarasota Music Festival was as a piano faculty member in 2015. I was quite touched by the exceptional educational opportunities, the impressive faculty and the truly heartwarming reception by Sarasota audiences. There is no question that Sarasota is a special place with a vibrant arts community,” said Kahane of his appointment.
The 53rd Festival dates are June 5 -24, 2017.