Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Richmond Symphony taps Harada

Keitaro Harada, music director of the Phoenix Youth Symphony, associate conductor of Arizona Opera and principal guest conductor of the Sierra Vista Symphony Orchestra, has been named the new associate conductor of the Richmond Symphony.

Harada will serve as primary conductor of the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra and Discovery Series educational concerts, as well as working with the symphony’s music director, Steven Smith, on preparing and conducting Richmond Symphony Pops, LolliPops and Masterworks concerts.

“With a wide variety of experiences behind him, [Harada] has already established himself as someone who connects well with orchestras and audiences alike,” Smith said in a prepared statement. “Kei will bring his infectious energy and enthusiastic imagination to our entire community.”

A 29-year-old native of Tokyo, Harada studied saxophone and conducted musical theater and cabaret at the University of Illinois at Urbanna-Champaign. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Mercer University in Georgia and was the inaugural recipient of the Rogers Institute for Orchestral and Opera Conducting Fellowship at the University of Arizona. He worked with Lorin Maazel at the Castleton Festival in Virginia in 2009 and was Seiji Ozawa Conducting Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center in Massachusetts in 2010.

Last year, Harada was one of six young conductors in the League of American Orchestras’ prestigious showcase, the Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview. This year, he received a Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award.

Here’s a video sampler of Harada at work: