MSO names interim CEO, announces Assistant Conductor finalists


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The Memphis Symphony Orchestra has named an interim CEO following Ryan Fleur's announcement that he was taking an executive position with the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra. Art Seessel, the former President of the Seessel's supermarket chain, will stand in as acting CEO while the organization searches for Fleur's replacement.

"The Memphis Symphony has long been a leader in the Memphis arts community," Seessel says. "I look forward to being a part of the symphony team."

Also, the MSO has narrowed its search for an assistant conductor to five candidates and auditions will be held on Sunday and Monday, April 15-16.

The five finalists, selected from 106 applicants from 21 countries are Christopher J. Whittaker, Alejandra Urrutia-Borlando, Melisse Brunet, Conner Gray Covington, and Roderick Cox.

"Their backgrounds are varied and all impressive," said Mei-Ann Chen, MSO music director.

Whittaker, currently completing his master's degree at the University of Michigan, is a conductor, composer and pianist originally from from York, Pennsylvania. Urrutia-Borlando won the Fourth International Conducting Competition in 2007. Brunet conducts the FiveOne Ensemble in Cleveland, Ohio and Covington is the assistant conductor of the Eastman School Symphony Orchestra at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. On two occasions Cox was selected to participate in the Conductors Guild Conductor/Composer Training Workshop at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music.

The public is invited to observe a portion of the auditions, April 16 from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts.

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