CHARLESTON, W.Va. (March 21,2017) – The West Virginia Symphony Orchestra (WVSO) continues its search for a new music director with conducting candidate Kevin Rhodes leading the WVSO in a Saturday, May 6, performance at the Clay Center for the Arts & Sciences in Charleston and a Sunday, May 7, performance at Blennerhassett School in Parkersburg.

“We are excited to welcome Maestro Kevin Rhodes to the Clay Center stage, but Kevin is not the only star who will entertaining the audiences,” said WVSO President Joe Tackett. “The real attraction will be the 41 youth musicians who will be sharing their love of music with the entire community.”


Rhodes will lead the WVSO and the West Virginia Youth Symphony in performing the final movement of Howard Hanson’s Symphony No. 2 in D-Flat Major Opus 30 “Romantic” in Charleston. Guest pianist Viktor Valkov, winner of the 2015 Astral Artists National Auditions and a gold medalist at the 2012 New Orleans International Piano Competition, will then join the WVSO in Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in D-Flat Minor, Opus 30. The concert will conclude with Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique: Épisode de la vie d'un artiste ... en cinq parties.”

Rhodes, who is music director and conductor of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra in Massachusetts and Traverse Symphony Orchestra in Michigan, is one of six candidates vying to replace retiring Maestro Grant Cooper, who has led the WVSO since 2001.

Tickets for the Charleston performance, which starts at 7:30 p.m., can be purchased by visiting or by calling the Clay Center Box Office at 304.561.3570. $10 “Tweet Seats” are available in the second balcony where the audience is encouraged to share their concert experience with the WVSO via social media. This concert is part of the Capitol Conference Center Symphonic Series and is sponsored by Jim & Keith Straw, Ellen’s Home Made Ice Cream and KVC West Virginia.

Rhodes will be conducting the WVSO and Valkov in Parkersburg, beginning at 3 p.m. Tickets are $22 and student tickets are $10. They can be purchased by visiting, by calling 304.485.4200 or at the door the day of the performance. This concert is sponsored by Jerry L. Villers and Eric Erb, financial advisors at People’s Bank.

Rhodes, who has led more than 50 orchestras in 15 countries, will be fully immersed in Charleston, Parkersburg and the surrounding area the week before the concerts, with many free and open-to-the-public opportunities for the community to engage and interact with him. He will meet with different constituencies, including musicians, board, staff, the West Virginia Symphony Chorus, the youth symphony, Kanawha County string educators, media, Rotarians, and more. For additional public opportunities to meet Rhodes, please visit for the full week’s schedule.       

Rhodes began his professional conducting career at the age of 16 in his hometown of Evansville, Ind., and received his bachelor’s degree in piano performance from Michigan State University and his master’s degree in orchestral conducting from the University of Illinois. Among his many accomplishments, Rhodes led the Springfield Symphony in the nationally televised NFL season kickoff game in the fall of 2015 in a performance with rap artist T-Pain of “O Fortuna” from Carmina Burana.

Sponsors for the conductor’s search are Capitol Conference Center, BrickStreet Insurance, Appalachian Power, FHL Bank of Pittsburgh, the Bernard H. and Blanche E. Jacobson Foundation and the BB&T West Virginia Foundation.

The WVSO 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.



Monday, May 1

4 – 6 p.m. | Get the Scoop on Kevin – Conducting Candidate Kevin Rhodes will serve ice cream at Ellen’s Home Made Ice Cream, 225 Capitol St., Charleston. This event is open to the public.

6:30 – 7:30 p.m. | West Virginia Youth Symphony Rehearsal visit – Horace Mann Middle School

8 – 8:30 p.m. | West Virginia Symphony Chorus Rehearsal visit – Christ United Methodist Church

Tuesday, May 2

5 p.m. | Meet Kevin Rhodes, Parkersburg Country Club. This event is open to the public.

Wednesday, May 3

7:30 – 8:30 a.m. | Vandalia Rotary Presentation, Embassy Suites, Charleston

9 – 11 a.m. | Kanawha County String Education program visit (contact for exact time and location)

3:30 – 4:15 p.m. | Edgewood Summit Presentation, Baker Lane, Charleston

Thursday, May 4

Noon – 1 p.m. | Baton, Bites, and Insights –  Clay Center stage (bring-your-lunch lecture; free & open to the public)

7 – 9:30 p.m. | WVSO Open Rehearsal – Clay Center

Friday, May 5

4 – 6:30 p.m.   | WVSO Open Rehearsal – Clay Center

8 – 10:30 p.m. | WVSO Open Rehearsal – Clay Center

Saturday, May 6

10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. | WVSO Open Rehearsal – Clay Center

6:30 – 7 p.m. | Pre-Concert Talk – Clay Center stage

7:30 – 10 p.m. |Symphonic 6 Concert – Clay Center, Charleston

Sunday, May 7

3 p.m. | Symphonic 6 Concert – Blennerhassett School, Parkersburg