CHARLESTON, W.VA. (05/30/17) – The West Virginia Symphony Orchestra (WVSO) is pleased to announce Lawrence Loh as its 10th conductor and music director.
“We had six truly exceptional candidates to choose from,” said WVSO Vice Chair and Search Committee Chair Cindy McGhee. “While it was a very tough decision to make, Larry’s varied experience with innovative programming in classical, pops and music education dovetails perfectly with the West Virginia Symphony’s mission. Larry is an exceptional leader and a very genuine person who built instant connections during his week with the WVSO.”
Patrons who completed surveys asking for their input in selecting the WVSO’s next maestro had this to say about Loh: “Magnetic. Fabulous.” “I was mesmerized.” “Very energetic and fun to watch.” “He … unified the music into an art form that made you cry.” and “His demeanor, musical knowledge, style and personality are a perfect fit for the WVSO.”
Many of the musicians agreed. One described Loh as a man with “tremendous energy and spontaneity in performance, very engaging.” Another was impressed by his “exceptional musicianship,” describing him as “an extraordinary communicator with a great personality, excellent abilities in conveying the score and fantastic technique.”
Loh, who is the music director of Symphoria in Syracuse, N.Y., and the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Pa., was one of six finalists culled from 167 applicants who sought to succeed retiring Maestro Grant Cooper after 16 years at the helm.
A dynamic conductor with impressive range and talent, Loh said he is eager to help the WVSO expand its programming, concert repertoire, audience and reach.
“The WVSO is already doing so much, but I get excited just thinking about all the possibilities,” he said. “I am just thrilled to join the WVSO.”
Loh comes to the WVSO two years after ending a decade-long association with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, where he was promoted from assistant to associate and later resident conductor. For years, he led the Pittsburgh Symphony’s enormously popular Fiddlesticks Family Concert Series, playing the part of script writer, host and conductor. He also was music director of the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra.
Off the podium, Loh is an arts leader and music advocate. He created a successful Apprentice Conductor Program at the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic to foster young conductors through professional experience and mentorship. In Pittsburgh, he cultivated new audiences through the Community Engagements Concerts as well as the groundbreaking Sensory Friendly Concert designed for people with sensory sensitivities, including individuals on the autism spectrum. He also worked as a guest conductor and clinician with the New York and Pennsylvania music teachers associations and developed strong relationships in local schools.
The 2017-2018 season will be a transitional year for the WVSO as Loh begins his new duties in West Virginia. Because of previous commitments, Loh will conduct three of the WVSO’s symphonic concerts and one pops concert next season. However, he will also spend time meeting music lovers across the state and leading the orchestra in a multi-city tour in April 2018, then programming and conducting Symphony Sunday 2018. Guest conductors, including Cooper, will lead the remaining WVSO concerts.
WVSO President Joe Tackett said the WVSO’s year-long search for its next conductor created an energy and buzz in the community unlike any he’s ever experienced before, and bringing Loh on board will help fuel and maintain that level of excitement for years to come.
“We are really looking forward to welcoming Larry to the WVSO family,” Tackett said. “He brings amazing energy and talent to one of West Virginia’s greatest treasures, the WVSO.”
The music director search was made possible through the generous support of Appalachian Power, the Bernard H. and Blanche E. Jacobson Foundation, the BB&T West Virginia Foundation, BrickStreet Insurance, Capitol Conference Center and FHL Bank of Pittsburgh.
The West Virginia Symphony Orchestra is West Virginia’s premier performing arts organization, presenting classical, pops, and chamber-music concerts annually throughout the Mountain State. Currently in its 78th season, the WVSO is a proud member of the community and enriches the region by providing affordable, high-quality concerts, collaborations with West Virginia arts organizations and a nationally award-winning education program.