Seabury Hosts New HSO Musical Director



Bloomfield, CT. – On Thursday, September 22, Seabury welcomed Maestra and Conductor Carolyn Kuan, the new music director of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra (HSO.) Ms. Kuan is the first female and first Asian conductor and the youngest conductor in the orchestra’s 68 year history. She spoke before a group of both Seabury residents and members if the Adult Learning Program (ALP), about her youth and education and about the new HSO season.
A Taiwan native, Ms. Kuan’s interest in music arose at an early age in her homeland, as she began taking piano lessons, and then added voice composition, violin, flute and harp. “And a day’s lesson of trumpet as well, but I didn’t like trumpet very much,” she said with a laugh. She came to the United States at the age of 14, landing at Bradley International Airport and going on to study at Northfield Mount Hermon School and then Smith College, both in central Massachusetts. With further education and advanced degrees, she’s earned a reputation as one of the most auspicious young conductors in the country.
The 2011-2012 season opens October 20-23, with a premier performance that will include Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 2 and Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 (AKA, The Titan.) Kuan said she chose to open the season with Mahler, a symphony that uses every possible instrument, because, “… a symphony should be like the world, it should have a little bit of everything. And because it is a statement about how much I believe in the HSO. It’s a great statement piece.”
An advocate of modern and popular music, she noted that “classical music is evolving,” and that she has a keen interest in bringing in new audiences. “I decided to throw in a Beatboxer with Brahms,” she said to a mostly older crowd, whose blank stares implied she should offer an explanation. “It goes something like this …,” she said, briefly holding her fist up to her mouth like an emcee holding a microphone, coaxing deep, drumbeat and scratching sounds with her mouth. On January 5-8, the symphony will welcome Beatboxer Shoedekeh, in the HSO’s performance of Fujiko’s Fairy Tale, by Finnish composer Jan Mikael Vainio.
Ms. Kuan was pleased with the reception at Seabury, noting afterwards; “I thought they were a warm and lovely crowd, highly intelligent and curious about the symphony. I look forward to serving this community as the Music Director of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.”
Maestra Kuan has agreed to an initial three-year contract and will begin conducting the HSO on a full-time basis at the start of the 2011-12 performance season in September. Kuan succeeds Edward Cumming, who served as Music Director since fall 2002.

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