West News Wire: Carlos Miguel Prieto has been in charge of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra’s musical direction for 17 seasons. This summer, when conductor Matthew Kraemer assumes control, that changes.
The Board of Trustees of the orchestra recently declared that Kramer will take over in July and officially introduce himself to music enthusiasts in the middle of September.
The appointment was described by Kraemer as a “opportunity of a lifetime.”
“I am overjoyed. I’m really eager to move. The arrival of summer is urgently needed, he told The Associated Press. He said he was “grateful for the LPO’s trust” and hailed the Louisiana Philharmonic as “part of the cultural fabric of New Orleans and Louisiana.”
After the New Orleans Symphony Orchestra failed due to debt in 1991, a musician-owned cooperative known as the Louisiana Philharmonic was founded. It describes itself as the nation’s oldest full-time musician-governed and collaboratively operated orchestra.
Dr. Bernard Jaffe, the board president, said the organization had been searching “for a leader to take our talented musicians to new artistic heights and firmly plant roots in our great city, and we found exactly that person in Matthew.”
Kraemer, a native of Indiana, was appointed music director and principal conductor of the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra in 2015. He also served as music director of the Butler County Symphony in Pennsylvania and artistic director of Orchestra Indiana. In addition, he is a frequent collaborator with Broadway star Idina Menzel and has served as conductor for many of her engagements across the U.S.
“I’m a collaborative conductor,” Kraemer said of his style. “I am comfortable in how I work with musicians. I believe in being efficient and using rehearsal time strategically.” He said he believes in a lot of preparation beforehand to create an environment where the musicians “feel they can play their best.”
“He has exquisite musical intelligence and interpretive skills, considerable organizational leadership experience, and all the qualities of a modern music director,” Jaffe said.
Kraemer noted that under Prieto’s leadership the Louisiana Philharmonic was very successful at promoting the orchestra and has left a lasting impact on it and the community.
Kraemer said accepting the Louisiana Philharmonic’s offer to lead it was an opportunity he couldn’t turn down.