The appointment of Sarah Hicks as Associate Conductor of the North Carolina Symphony was announced today by its president and CEO, David Chambless Worters. “Sarah is a truly gifted conductor who has a fantastic track record for connecting with her audiences wherever she’s been,” says Worters. “The orchestra responded strongly to her musicianship in her audition last year. We were also impressed by her growing resume of collaborations with some of the most current stars in the music business today—trumpeter Chris Botti and pianist Ben Folds among them.”
Ms. Hicks replaces former assistant conductor Joan Landry whose three-year tenure with the Symphony concluded at the end of last season.
Ms. Hicks’s duties will include conducting education and classical concerts throughout the state as well as performances on the Classical, Pops and Friday Favorites Series in the Triangle. Her debut on the Raleigh and Chapel Hill Duke Medicine Classical Series will be January 22-24, 2010 in a program featuring works by Liszt and Dvořák, as well as Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfayer with guest soloist Randall Scarlata. This fall, she will conduct Holiday Pops concerts in Pinehurst, New Bern, Tarboro and Wilmington
Says North Carolina Symphony Music Director Grant Llewellyn, “Sarah Hicks is a brilliant addition to our artistic staff. She brings a wealth of experience, a real passion for making music and may certainly be counted among the rising young conductors of the day. Our audiences both here in the Triangle and throughout the state will be thrilled by her performances.”
Joining members of the North Carolina Symphony, who will present a Pub Concert at Spice Street in Chapel Hill on November 10 at 8pm, Ms. Hicks will lead a discussion on the significance of Picasso and his contemporaries in music and art. The evening, Tastes and Sounds of Picasso, will celebrate Duke University’s Nasher Museum of Art exhibition “Picasso and the Allure of Language.”
Sarah Hicks, noted recently in The New York Times as part of “a new wave of female conductors in their late 20s through early 40s,” joined the Minnesota Orchestra as Assistant Conductor beginning in the 2006-07 season, where she is conductor of an innovative new “Inside the Classics” series. She also holds the position of Staff Conductor at the Curtis Institute of Music. Throughout her career she has collaborated with diverse soloists, from Hilary Hahn and Nigel Kennedy to Pink Martini.
Ms. Hicks’s past positions include Associate Conductor of the Richmond Symphony Orchestra, Resident Conductor of the Florida Philharmonic and Assistant Conductor of the Philadelphia Singers, the chorus of the Philadelphia Orchestra, whom she led in nationwide radio broadcasts. She has also been Music Director of the Hawaii Symphony, an ensemble she founded in 1991 in her hometown of Honolulu.
A committed proponent of the performance of new music, Ms. Hicks has premiered works by young composers from both the Curtis Institute and the University of Pennsylvania and has conducted performances with Composers in the Shape of a Pear (Cleveland), premiering avant-garde works. She has also been a guest conductor of the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble and received her BA magna cum laude from Harvard University as a composition major; her AIDS Oratorio was premiered at Harvard in 1993, with a second performance at the Fogg Art Museum.
Praising Ms. Hicks’s versatile and vibrant musicianship, critics agree that she has secured a place among the next generation of up-and-coming American conductors of her generation. “I’m looking forward to working with this amazing ensemble,” says Ms. Hicks. “Every orchestra has a different personality and a different way of responding—this is both the challenge and the fun of what we do. There’s a learning curve first year with a new orchestra. I’m anxious