A Nelson resident has been named the new musical and artistic director of the Symphony of the Kootenays.
Jeff Faragher takes over from Bruce Dunn, who served as conductor for the past 11 years.
The announcement comes as the “gem in the cultural mosaic of the region” starts a new chapter that its new president promises to be bigger and better.
The Cranbrook-based Symphony of the Kootenays held its annual general meeting earlier this month — with its largest attendance in its 37-year history — where exciting changes were outlined.
Over the past four months, an interim board of directors — now the official board since the meeting — has been working to get the Symphony back on its feet, and to develop a plan to re-energize audiences and musicians.
“We got our financial and administrative house in order over that four-month period,” said president Steen Jorgensen. “Over that time, we had to put together a two-year sustainability plan, which is now in place. All debts have been paid, and we are marginally in the black.
“We went back and researched what worked and what didn’t work for the Symphony,” Jorgensen said.
“And we reached out to other symphonies and arts organizations for ideas, both in Canada and the US — in particular those that have gone through the same difficulties we were going through.
“From all that we have put together a plan that will bring the Symphony back bigger and better than ever.”
Jorgensen said the Symphony will be taking the 2012/13 season off, to consolidate and develop new programming and marketing initiatives. “Our approach is going to be an ‘audience first’ philosophy.”
One of the Symphony’s mandates is an outreach and education program, through schools, colleges and organizations, “to introduce residents — young people, in particular — to some of the greatest music ever written.”
The Symphony also intends to establish an affiliated youth orchestra over the next two years.
“There are more than 300 young musicians in our area — on strings or piano — who once they’ve reached a certain level in private instruction have no avenue by which to proceed to an orchestral setting,” Jorgensen said.
To become a member of the Symphony of the Kootenays society, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com or call 250-417-0935.