Thursday, March 1, 2007

Freeman to lead Symphony Chorus

Erin R. Freeman, currently the Richmond Symphony's assistant conductor, will succeed James Erb as director of the Richmond Symphony Chorus next season. She also will succeed Sarah Hatsuko Hicks as the orchestra's associate conductor.

Erb is retiring as director of the chorus, which he founded in 1971. Hicks is leaving after two seasons as the symphony's No. 2 conductor. She was named associate conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra last fall, and is one of seven finalists for the music directorship of the (Columbia) South Carolina Philharmonic.

Freeman joined the symphony this season after serving as music director of the Richmond Philharmonic (2004-2006). She sang in the Atlanta Symphony Chorus under Robert Shaw, and studied vocal performance at Northwestern University and conducting at Peabody Conservatory.

Michael Simpson, the chorus' accompanist, also will serve as its assistant director, substituting for Freeman when she has commitments with the orchestra.

Freeman was selected by Richmond Symphony Music Director Mark Russell Smith and a search committee including Erb and three members of the Symphony Chorus, Duke Gosnell, Laura C. Miles and Christine Smith.