British-born conductor Bramwell Tovey will begin his role as Music Director Designate on September 1, 2021 and assume the title of Music Director in Fall 2022 — a role that will extend into the next four seasons.
“My decision to accept the invitation to become music director of Sarasota Orchestra was made because the musicians’ artistry and dedication, the organization’s health, and the community’s support all resonated with an inspirational amount of vision," Tovey wrote in a release.
Tovey previously served as music director of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra for 18 years, where he placed great emphasis on the orchestra's role in community and education.
While in Vancouver, Tovey oversaw the creation of the VSO School of Music that is now housed in a center bearing his name. He has also served as music director of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Luxembourg. He is in demand as a guest conductor at other major ensembles including the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, and orchestras in Europe and Asia.
The orchestra's search committee unanimously recommended Tovey. Anne Folsom Smith, board member and chair of the committee cited his "proven artistic leadership, experiences as an institutional leader and his desire to join us in Sarasota” as providing a "strong foundation on which to realize our long-term aspirations for a new music center," the Sarasota Magazine reported.
Highlights of the upcoming season, include a special concert on October 30 titled "Tovey: The Adventure Begins" — which will feature violinist James Ehnes, a frequent collaborator of Tovey, and music by Beethoven, Verdi, Saint-Saëns, and Sarasate. Additionally, he will conduct two-weekend concerts and plan the following season.