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Sanderling may get second job

The Florida Orchestra's music director is among three finalists for the same position with the Kansas City Symphony.

By JOHN FLEMING, Times Performing Arts Critic
Published May 22, 2004

Florida Orchestra music director Stefan Sanderling is in line for another music directorship, this one in Kansas City.

The Kansas City Symphony's search committee announced that Sanderling has been invited back June 6 for the last of three concerts by the finalists.

"Nothing has been decided," Sanderling said Friday, speaking from Toledo, Ohio, where he is conducting the Toledo Symphony this weekend.

This month, the Kansas City orchestra named two other finalists to succeed music director Anne Manson. Michael Stern will return on Thursday and David Lockington on June 4. Each will conduct a free hourlong concert and take questions from the audience. Sanderling, in his first season as the Florida Orchestra's music director, said he will conduct Beethoven's Symphony No. 6 at his concert.

Stern, a former resident of Tampa, is married to the Florida Orchestra's onetime principal oboe, Jeannette Bittar, and conducted the orchestra several times. He is founding music director of the IRIS Chamber Orchestra, in its fourth season in Memphis. Lockington is music director of the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra in Michigan.

Last weekend, Sanderling led the Kansas City Symphony in an all-Russian program that included Mussorgsky's Khovanshchina prelude, Tchaikovsky's Rococo Variations and the Shostakovich Fifth Symphony, a work he also performed with the Florida Orchestra this season.

Paul Horsley, music critic of the Kansas City Star, wrote in a review that Sanderling "showed a potent level of command over some difficult music, as well as an easy confidence with musicians and a sort of quietude of spirit that I found particularly impressive in a relatively young conductor. (He is 39.) If his Shostakovich was cool of temperament for my taste, Sanderling's abilities to connect with this orchestra - and with the audience - were palpable."

Sanderling acknowledged that he "had a good week there. It's always nice to be recognized."

He is in the first year of a five-year contract as music director of the Florida Orchestra and owns a house in St. Petersburg. However, it is not uncommon for conductors to lead two or even three orchestras, and speculation about his future has been persistent as the orchestra has struggled financially.

"These career things have to come last in my life compared to the music I am conducting every week," Sanderling said. "I always take them much less seriously than the people around me."

Next week, Sanderling winds up the Florida Orchestra's season with three concerts of Haydn's Sinfonia Concertante and Mahler's Fifth Symphony, essentially the program he is conducting this weekend in Toledo.

[Last modified May 22, 2004, 01:00:37]

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