Indianapolis Makes the Call to Venzago

After a very public search for a new music director, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra named Mario Venzago to the post on April 29. Venzago signed a four-year contract with the orchestra, and his tenure was to begin "immediately."

The Swiss-born Venzago has spent five seasons as music director of the Basel Symphony Orchestra and is artistic director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's summer music festival. He becomes the sixth music director in the orchestra's history, succeeding Raymond Leppard, who is now conductor laureate.

Venzago was one of several conductors to make guest appearances with the ISO over the past two years. The orchestra's intentions were clear: Any could be considered for the top post. The evaluation process included input from musicians and comments from audience members. According to the orchestra, reaction from the various groups was consistent and the ultimate choice was unanimous. "Despite differences in background, musical knowledge, and experience, people collectively came up with pretty much the same feeling about each of our finalists," said ISO President Richard Hoffert.

The new music director will conduct three weeks of the 2002-03 season, with his first appearance scheduled for November 1.

...And Oregon Names Kalmar

Positive reviews from the orchestra and audience were also a factor in the Oregon Symphony's selection May 28 of Carlos Kalmar as music director. Kalmar will serve as music director designate for the 2002-03 season and will succeed James DePreist as the orchestra's tenth music director in 2003-04.

The orchestra had solicited public reaction to guest conductors over the past two seasons, and Kalmar emerged as a popular favorite of listeners, the search committee, and musicians. DePreist, who will become laureate music director, eased the way for a final selection with an announcement in early May that he would step down prior to the end of his contract in 2005 if a successor was determined.

Born in Uruguay to Austrian parents, Kalmar is music director of Vienna's Tonkünstlerorchester and principal conductor of the Grant Park Music Festival.