South Carolina Philharmonic


December 08, 2014

Nakahara signs contract extension

Music Director Morihiko Nakahara has signed a four-year contract extension after negotiations with the orchestra’s board of directors, keeping him a fixture in Columbia through the 2018/2019 season.

William O. Danielson, president of the S.C. Philharmonic board of directors, made the announcement. Danielson served as lead negotiator for the board, which voted unanimously this past spring to seek a renewal from the popular conductor.

Nakahara was named the fifth music director in S.C. Phil history in spring 2008, the result of a unanimous selection by a search committee that steered a multi-year process looking at more than 200 candidates from six continents. In addition to critical acclaim for the progress of the orchestra’s playing, highlights of his tenure include positioning the S.C. Phil as a regional leader in presenting new music and extensive collaborations with local musical talents.

Nakahara guided the orchestra through two S.C. Phil-commissioned world premieres, by Joan Tower and John Fitz Rogers, to celebrate its 50th season in 2013/2014. Another is set for March 14, 2015, as the Philharmonic leads the commissioning consortium to premiere Dan Visconti’s Beatbox for string quintet Sybarite5 – the first concerto ever composed for string quintet.

While international-caliber guest artists like Bela Fleck (with his band, The Flecktones, and individually) and Anne Akiko Meyers have helped raise the orchestra‘s profile, there have been several collaborations with “homegrown” musical talents: Edward Arron, who leads the CMA Chamber Music on Main series in Columbia, and Charleston-based Yuriy Bekker and Edward Hart. Additionally, the S.C. Phil commissioned and premiered in 2010 a double-piano concerto by USC’s Fitz Rogers for pianists Marina Lomazov and Joseph Rackers.

The orchestra is currently presenting its 51st Masterworks Series, along with multiple educational programs and concerts to further engage the entire community.

(Photo credit John Powell/Blue Collar Studio)

From Morihiko Nakahara, Music Director

“I am thrilled to continue leading this talented and dedicated group of musicians for the next four years. We have grown together artistically and organizationally as a musical family over the last seven seasons, and I look forward to sharing the joy and excitement of live symphonic music throughout the Midlands. I am also grateful to work with the S.C. Phil staff and board, both of whom are committed to artistic excellence and education.”

From William (Bill) O. Danielson, President, Board of Directors

“As president of the S.C. Phil board the past three years, it’s been my pleasure to work with Maestro Morihiko Nakahara. His talent, passion, and personality have been an excellent match for our community. It was my delight to work with him to secure his talents for an additional four years, through the 2018/2019 season. Morihiko's enthusiasm for our community remains high, consistent with the day he first arrived in Columbia. Bravo, Morihiko, bravo!”

From Rhonda P. Hunsinger, Executive Director

“I couldn’t be more thrilled that Morihiko is renewing his contract for another four years. He is enormously gifted and his rapport with our musicians has led to the significant artistic growth of our orchestra. This renewal allows us to continue the momentum that started with his arrival in 2008, and build upon the collaborative relationships and educational outreach he has helped us develop in our community.”

About the S.C. Philharmonic

An independent 501(c) (3) non-profit organization founded in 1964, the South Carolina Philharmonic entertains, educates, enriches and excites diverse audiences through live symphonic music. The introduction of Music Director Morihiko Nakahara in 2008/2009 ushered in a New Era of Artistic Excellence that is allowing the orchestra to move forward and become the Midlands pre-eminent performing arts group. It celebrated its 50th season in 2013/2014.

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