Music Director Search

We are pleased to announce The Final Five Conducting Candidates! Each of the candidates listed below will be conducting one concert on our 2016-2017 Season.


Al Sturgis Headshot - edit

Al Sturgis

Guest Conducting on Saturday, October 15th, 2016

Alfred E. Sturgis is a highly sought after conductor whose versatility and extensive background allow him to journey comfortably into a wide variety of musical experiences. He currently serves as Music Director of the Tar River Orchestra, the Carolina Ballet and the North Carolina Master Chorale. Known for being a strong collaborative artist, Sturgis has also enjoyed a great deal of experience in Opera and Musical Theatre.

Sturgis has served as Guest Conductor for the New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center, North Carolina Symphony, Winston-Salem Symphony, Carolina Chamber Orchestra, Raleigh Civic Symphony, National Opera Company, Capital Opera, Long Leaf Opera, and North Carolina Theatre.  He has conducted orchestral and opera performances overseas in France, Bulgaria, and China, and recently served as a clinician for the inaugural London International Choral Festival.  Early in his career he performed a number of roles in musical theatre, opera, and oratorio, in addition to touring and recording in Southern France with the Robert Shaw Festival Singers. Sturgis still performs occasionally as a counter tenor or baritone.

Under his skilled artistic leadership the NC Master Chorale has made appearances at state and regional conferences of the American Choral Director’s Association, recorded three Christmas CDs, and several television broadcasts on WRAL and UNC-TV. They have also been involved in numerous successful collaborations with the Carolina Ballet and the North Carolina Symphony. Sturgis’s Ballet repertoire consists of over thirty works, including a number of world premieres, and he has amassed over 300 “Nutcracker” performances with the Carolina Ballet.  In recognition of his dynamic musical leadership, Sturgis was awarded the 1996 Raleigh Medal of Arts


Stefan Sanders Headshot - edit

Stefan Sanders

Guest Conducting Saturday, November 19th, 2016

Stefan Sanders is as an imaginative musician, devoted educator and ardent champion of many types of music. Sanders holds the Montante Family Endowed Associate Conductor Chair with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, where he leads performances on the Classical, Know the Score, and Pops series, as well as Education and Family concerts. Sanders also serves as the Music Director for the Round Rock Symphony (TX) where he is attracting much praise for innovative programming and collaborations with local arts organizations while attracting broader audiences and redefining the orchestra’s role in its community. Mr. Sanders is also the music director for the Greater Buffalo Youth Orchestra.

Sanders has collaborated with an array of distinguished guest artists and orchestras. Recent guest conducting engagements have included, the Orquesta Sinfónica de Guayaquil, Ecuador, Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Symphoria, Naples Philharmonic, San Antonio Symphony, Austin Symphony Orchestra, Austin Lyric Opera, Corpus Christi Opera, Round Top International Festival Institute. This season Sanders will make his European debut, with the Filharmonia Warminsko-Mazurska in Olsztyn, Poland. Mr. Sanders has also been selected to participate in the League of American Orchestras “Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview” with the
Nashville Symphony. This Preview is a prestigious showcase of talented conductors poised for music directorships of American orchestras.

Prior to a career as a conductor, Sanders was an internationally renowned trombonist, having performed as a soloist in North America, Asia and Europe. His performance of Eric Ewazen’s Concerto for Bass Trombone and Orchestra, with the Czech Philharmonic, can be heard on the Albany Records label. Sanders was a member of the Buffalo Philharmonic’s trombone section for seven seasons and has performed as a trombonist with several orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Seattle Opera’s 2001 production of Wagner’s Ring Cycle and the Florida Orchestra. Sanders was also invited by Sir Elton John to play in the orchestra for his Radio City Music Hall concerts in 2004 recorded for the Bravo Television Network.

Beginning formal conducting studies at the University of Texas at Austin, Sanders continued his studies as a fellow at the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen under the tutelage of maestros, Robert Spano, Larry Rachleff and Hugh Wolff. He is a graduate of the Juilliard School, the University of Texas at Austin, and the Interlochen Arts Academy.


Aram Demirjian Headshot - editAram Demirjian

Guest Conducting Saturday, December 10th, 2016

Aram Demirjian is a dynamic emerging leader on the American musical landscape. Known for his “zeal and fresh perspective” (KC Metropolis) and “confident and expressive style” (Kansas City Star), Demirjian bridges the musical traditions of the past with the cultural appetites of the present, forging a magnetic rapport with audience members of all ages and backgrounds and creating inspiring musical experiences in both familiar and progressive concert formats.

In his four years as Associate Conductor of the Kansas City Symphony (KCS), Demirjian conducted over 200 performances in the acoustically superb Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Among his most substantial achievements, he was instrumental in designing and launching Classics Uncorked, a widely acclaimed series that presents weeknight classical concerts, enhancing the concert hall experience with thematic programming, narration, visual effects, musical demonstrations and audience interaction. These programs have garnered effusive praise for their fun, casual atmosphere and diverse repertoire selection, attracting thousands of first-time and long-time patrons and earning the recognition of such organizations as 21cm Magazine, which featured the series as its January 2016 “POP Pick,” and the New World Symphony’s New Audiences Initiative. A sincere believer in music’s capacity to empower, inspire and enrich, Demirjian’s education and community outreach activities have reached over 45,000 students and adult learners annually. Additional highlights of his time in Kansas City include conducting his subscription debut featuring Debussy’s La mer, annual performances of Handel’s Messiah and the wildly popular Screenland at the Symphony series, which combines full-length feature films with a live soundtrack from the orchestra.

Demirjian’s 2016/17 season includes multiple return engagements with the Louisiana Philharmonic, debuts with the Corpus Christi Symphony, Fresno Philharmonic and Illinois Symphony, and his European debut on the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra’s Dominicales series, which features rising conductors of the next generation. Recent highlights include debuts with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Auburn, Knoxville, Memphis and Omaha symphonies and performances at the Tanglewood Music Center. Demirjian also is a frequent cover conductor with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.


Phonix Symphony Portraits by Jared PlattJoseph Young

Guest Conducting Saturday, February 25th, 2017

Increasingly recognized as “one of the most gifted conductors of his generation,”  Joseph Young is currently the Assistant Conductor of the Atlanta Symphony.  In his role,  Joseph conducts more than 50 concerts per season with the Atlanta Symphony,  which include programs on the Delta Classical Series, Concerts for Young People and Families, and various other concerts geared towards specific audiences in the community.  Mr. Young also serves as the Music Director of the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra, where he is the driving force behind the ensemble’s artistic growth.  Previous appointments have included Resident Conductor of the Phoenix Symphony, where he made his subscription debut in the 2011/12 season,  and the League of American Orchestras Conducting Fellow with Buffalo Philharmonic and Baltimore Symphony.

Joseph made his major American orchestral debut in January 2008 with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and has since appeared with the Saint Louis Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Colorado Symphony, Charleston Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, Bamberger Symphoniker, Spoleto Festival Orchestra, Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música, Orquesta Sinfonica y Coro de RTVE (Madrid),  and Chicago Sinfonietta, among others.  In the 2015/16 Season he will make his subscription debut with the Atlanta Symphony, and Little Orchestra Society.   This season he will also return to the Baltimore Symphony,  and St. Louis Symphony.

Joseph is a recipient of the 2015 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award for young conductors, an award he also won in 2008, and 2014.  In 2013, Joseph was a Semi-finalist in the Gustav Mahler International Conducting Competition (Bamberg, Germany). In 2011, he was one out of six conductors featured in the League of American Orchestras’ prestigious Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview, hosted by the Louisiana Philharmonic.

Joseph earned his bachelor’s degree in music education at the University of South Carolina, and completed graduate studies with Gustav Meier and Markand Thakar at the Peabody Conservatory in 2009, earning an artist’s diploma in conducting.  He has been mentored by many world-renowned conductors including Jorma Panula, Robert Spano and Marin Alsop whom he continues to maintain a close relationship.


Dina Gilbert Headshot - editDina Gilbert

Guest Conducting Saturday, March 25th, 2017

Recognized for her energy, precision and versatility, Dina Gilbert brings great passion to the orchestral repertoire, and is also dedicated to conducting new commissions and works by Canadian composers. A native of Québec, she is the assistant conductor at the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal since April 2013, where her role is to assist Kent Nagano at rehearsals, concerts, recordings and tours, as well as assisting guest conductors. In addition to frequently conducting rehearsals with the OSM, Mrs Gilbert leads the orchestra in many concerts, including main series subscription events, youth concerts and the annual OSM in the Parks concerts.

Dina Gilbert is the founder and artistic director of Ensemble Arkea, a Montreal-based professional chamber orchestra that presents innovative interpretations of orchestral music. In 2012 she made her debut with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa. That same year, she was assistant conductor of the Peterborough Symphony Orchestra and the Kawartha Youth Orchestra. Overseas she has conducted the Mihail Jora Philharmonic Orchestra (Romania), the Estonian National Youth Orchestra, the Pärnu City Orchestra (Estonia) and the China Youth Symphony Orchestra (China). In February 2014, she has been invited to conduct the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra (Germany) as one of the selected participants in the prestigious Sir Georg Solti International Conductor’s Competition. She has collaborated many times with young Canadian composers, premiering over thirty works and has also conducted many studio recordings for films and video games soundtracks. 

In 2015-2016, Dina Gilbert will make her debuts with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre métropolitain, the Orchestre symphonique du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean and the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra. In addition to conducting several educational concerts at the OSM, she will join Maestro Kent Nagano to conduct the Fourth Symphony of Charles Ives and will also conduct a concert dedicated to the Movie Soundtracks. 

Dina Gilbert earned a doctorate from the Université de Montréal, where she studied with Jean-François Rivest and Paolo Bellomia. She is also the holder of a Bachelor’s degree in clarinet performance and a Master’s in conducting.  She polished her skills in masterclasses with Kenneth Kiesler, Leonid Grin, Peter Eötvös, Johannes Schlaefli, Pinchas Zukerman and Neeme Järvi. During her doctoral studies she was awarded a grant from the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture. She has also received support from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec and the Fondation Père-Lindsay.


Featured Musician

Joseph Murrell – Bass Trombone

Joseph Murrell webJoseph Murrell, a native of Louisville, Kentucky, joined the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra as Bass Trombone in July 2015. In addition to his position in the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra, he has performed with the Dayton Philharmonic, Richmond Symphony and Kentucky Symphony Orchestras. He has also frequently performed with the Dayton Winds, and Derby City Brass Band. Joseph, active in the trombone community, is also a contributor to the International Trombone Association Publication, acting as a Literature Reviewer for newly composed works and method books.
As a pedagogue, Joseph has maintained a private teaching studio for almost a decade, acting as Brass Faculty at North Hardin High School, The Brown School for Performing Arts, Beechwood Independent and Randall K. Cooper High School. Many of his students have gone on to study music at the University level.
Joseph Murrell received his Masters of Music degree from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music where he studied with Peter Norton and Timothy Anderson. He holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Louisville where he studied with Dr. Brett Shuster. Joseph is currently a Doctorate of Musical Arts Candidate at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

To Educate. To Entertain. To Inspire.

The Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1956 in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and is a professional, regional orchestra whose mission is to educate, entertain, and inspire the citizens of the Fayetteville, North Carolina region as the leading musical resource.  Praised for its artistic excellence, the Symphony leads in the cultural and educational landscape for Fayetteville and the southeastern North Carolina region.

The Fayetteville Symphony performs 6-8 concerts during any given season performing both at Methodist University and Fayetteville State University. Partnerships with other arts agencies include collaborative performances with Cape Fear Regional Theatre, chamber concerts at St. John’s Episcopal Church, as well as a military appreciation concert held over Memorial Day Weekend in collaboration with The Army Ground Forces Band of Ft. Bragg. The Symphony brings music to the schools and the community by performing educational concerts, as well as having its own Fayetteville Symphony Youth Orchestra and Summer Music Camps.

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