Vermont Symphony Orchestra

Music Director Search

From 2021 into 2023, the Vermont Symphony Orchestra will engage in an exciting process of selecting its next Music Director, following the twenty-year tenure of our illustrious Music Director, Jaime Laredo. We are delighted to share information about our seven outstanding candidates with you.

The VSO Music Director is responsible for organization-wide artistic leadership, building on a legacy of artistic excellence and innovation, and providing a forward-looking vision to inspire musicians and audiences alike.

Search Committee Members

  • Cathleen Stadecker, Chair
  • Elise Brunelle
  • Nancy Dimock
  • Brian Harwood
  • Anne Janson
  • Matt LaRocca
  • Lyn Lauffer
  • Eleanor Long
  • Steve MacQueen
  • Karen Mittelman
  • Matthew Evan Taylor
  • Katherine Winterstein

Music Director Candidates

AKIKO FUJIMOTO

Conducting October 30, 2021

Akiko Fujimoto was named Music Director of the Mid-Texas Symphony in May 2019. Fujimoto has electrified audiences throughout North America and has guest conducted the National Symphony Orchestra, Florida Orchestra, North Carolina Symphony, Houston Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Lexington Philharmonic, and the Corpus Christi Symphony.

Fujimoto has also conducted the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra at St. Magnus Festival and Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra as a participant in the Young Conductors Programme. Upcoming highlights include engagements with the San Francisco Symphony, Florida Orchestra, Vermont Symphony Orchestra, Virginia Symphony, and the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.

At the Minnesota Orchestra, Fujimoto served as Assistant Conductor for the 2017–18 season under Music Director Osmo Vänska and was promoted to Associate Conductor for the following two seasons. During the 2017–2020 seasons, Fujimoto also served as cover conductor for Esa-Pekka Salonen, Zubin Mehta, and Susanna Mälkki at the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Prior to arriving in Minnesota, she was Assistant then Associate Conductor of the San Antonio Symphony and Conducting Associate for the Virginia Symphony.

A passionate advocate for young musicians, Fujimoto has held conducting appointments at Harvard University, Stanford University, and the College of William & Mary. While in Virginia, she also served as Music Director of the Williamsburg Youth Orchestras. Born in Japan, Fujimoto holds a bachelor’s degree in music and psychology from Stanford University and Master of Music degrees in conducting from Boston University and the Eastman School of Music.

PETER ASKIM

Conducting Holiday Pops 2021

Active as a composer, conductor, and educator, Peter Askim is Founder and Artistic Director of The Next Festival of Emerging Artists, Director of Orchestral Studies at NC State University and conductor of the Raleigh Civic Symphony and Chamber Orchestra.

As a conductor, he is known for innovative programming, championing the work of living composers and his advocacy of underrepresented voices in the concert hall. He has conducted premieres by Nico Muhly, Aaron Jay Kernis, Christopher Theofanidis, Brett Dean, Jeff Scott, Aleksandra Vrebalov and led the American premiere of Florence Price’s Ethiopia’s Shadow in America. His work was featured on HBO and National Public Radio conducting folk-rock legend Richard Thompson’s soundtrack for The Cold Blue, and he has collaborated with such artists as Matt Haimovitz, Vijay Iyer, Jennifer Koh, Miranda Cuckson, Jeffrey Zeigler, Nadia Sirota, Sō Percussion and the bluegrass sensation Balsam Range.

Called a “Modern Master” by The Strad, Peter Askim’s works have been performed by the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, the Honolulu Symphony, the Trondheim Symfoniorkester, Cantus Ansambl Zagreb, and the American Viola Society, as well as by performers such as ETHEL, the Aizuri Quartet, conductor/flut.     ist Ransom Wilson and cellist Jeffrey Zeigler. With a style that is both lyrical and driving, his music is at once romantic, powerful, emotionally direct and a little bit rock’n’roll.
With the creation of The Next Festival of Emerging Artists, Askim founded a festival dedicated to the next generation of performers, composers and choreographers. Founded in 2013, the festival structure encourages young artists, ages 20-30, to focus on artistic development, entrepreneurial career strategies and the music of living composers. It has been awarded grants by the Amphion, ASCAP, BMI, Heineman and Williamson foundations, and the Copland Fund for Music. With the onset of the COVID pandemic, he provided free workshops, masterclasses and resources to support young artists through challenging times. Through the Festival, he has presented over 50 Guest Artists, including Pulitzer, Grammy, and MacArthur award winners.

With the Raleigh Civic Orchestras, Askim has pioneered collaborative, multimedia concert events focused on social and environmental justice and has programmed a newly-commissioned world premiere on each concert for the last six seasons. Themes have included Martin Luther King, Jr.’s North Carolina “I Have A Dream” speech and a work for Virtual Reality and orchestra highlighting the Women’s Suffrage Movement and the Voting Rights Act. Under his direction, the orchestras have received multiple grants recognizing diversity in programming, including from New Music USA and the Women’s Philharmonic Association.

TANIA MILLER

Conducting March 26, 2022

Canadian Conductor Tania Miller has distinguished herself as a dynamic interpreter, musician and innovator. On the podium, Maestra Miller projects authority, dynamism and sheer love of the experience of making music. As one critic put it, she delivers “a calm intensity . . . expressive, colourful and full of life . . . her experience and charisma are audible”. Others call her performances “technically immaculate, vivid and stirring”.

Miller’s 20-21 season features debuts with the KBS Symphony Orchestra in Seoul, L’Orchestre Symphonique de Quebec, Calgary Opera (production rescheduled for next season) and a return to the Chicago Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, London Symphonia, and future concerts with the Vermont Symphony and Elgin Symphony among others. Miller has appeared as a guest conductor in Canada, the United States and Europe with such orchestras as the Bern Symphony Orchestra, NFM Wroclåw Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Oregon Symphony, Ottawa’s National Arts Centre Orchestra, Orchestra Métropolitain de Montreal, Vancouver Symphony, Naples Philharmonic, Hartford Symphony, Madison Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic, Winnipeg Symphony, Rhode Island Philharmonic, New West Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic and numerous others.

Maestra Miller was Music Director of Canada’s Victoria Symphony for 14 years, and gained acclaim for her commitment to the orchestra and community during that time. She has distinguished herself as a visionary leader and innovator with a deep commitment to contemporary repertoire and composers. She gained a national reputation as a highly effective advocate and communicator for the arts. Her writing has been featured in the American Symphony Orchestra League’s Symphony Magazine, Toronto’s Globe and Mail, and Better Humans.

JULIAN PELLICANO

Conducting Summer Festival Tour 2022

Conductor Julian Pellicano has rapidly established himself as a leading interpreter of music across a broad spectrum of genres, traditions, and time periods, leading the Winnipeg Free Press to proclaim that “his versatility is truly astonishing.” Whether it be traditional and contemporary symphonic repertoire, classical and modern ballet, opera, films live with orchestra, pops, musical theater, multi-media productions, workshops, or his carefully programmed concerts for young listeners, Julian brings an incisive musicality and collaborative spirit to every performance.

The 2020 – 2021 season marked his second as the Principal Conductor of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and Pellicano’s eighth season with Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra where he serves as the orchestra’s Associate Conductor. Dedicating himself to the sustainability of these organizations through this difficult season, Julian programmed several new live-streamed events and conducted the Winnipeg Symphony in online concerts on the orchestra’s Masterworks and Pops series, as well as conducting recording sessions for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s online productions and consulting on other online projects with the company.

Highlights from Julian’s recent concert seasons included appearances with the Seattle Symphony, Cincinnati Ballet, Edmonton Symphony, and returns to the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and Louisiana Philharmonic, as well as postponed engagements with the Hong Kong Ballet, Vermont Symphony Orchestra, Oklahoma City Philharmonic and National Arts Centre Orchestra due to the worldwide pandemic.

Julian’s career grew from unconventional beginnings, performing as a self-taught percussionist, timpanist, drummer and accordionist, in styles from folk music to blues and jazz, rock and punk, as well as more traditional ensembles and orchestras. Pellicano studied conducting with Shinik Hahm on fellowship at the Yale School of Music, with Per Andersberg at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, and has conducted in masterclasses with Kurt Masur, Peter Eötvös, Zsolt Nagy, Martyn Brabbins, Carl St. Clair, L’Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. He has degrees in percussion from the Peabody Conservatory, The Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Sweden, the Yale School of Music and a degree in Philosophy from The Johns Hopkins University.

SARAH IOANNIDES

Conducting September 2022

Now in her seventh season as Music Director of Symphony Tacoma, Sarah Ioannides has gained recognition as one of the most inspiring and creative conductors of her generation. Active as a guest conductor internationally with orchestras such as the Tonkünstler, Orchestre Nationale de Lyon, Seattle Symphony (Untitled Series), Calgary Philharmonic and Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra, she has recorded world premieres with the Royal Philharmonic and most recently with the Malmö Symphony and Nordic Chamber Orchestra with a CD of music by Marie Samuelsson released in 2019. 

Previously Music Director of the El Paso Symphony, Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra, and Assistant Conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, under her leadership, both Symphony Tacoma and Spartanburg Philharmonic have received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts for creativity in collaborations, community and commissioning projects. Sarah was named by the Los Angeles Times as “one of six female conductors breaking the glass podium”and was included as one of the top female conductors worldwide by Lebrecht’s “Woman Conductors: The Power List.

She is the Artistic Director of Cascade Conducting, a weeklong international masterclass held in partnership with Symphony Tacoma and Pacific Lutheran University. She continues to stay on the faculty of The Curtis Institute of Music’s Summerfest. As an arts advocate, Ms. Ioannides is an active adjudicator, panelist, public speaker, and educator. And has served both as a delegate at the World Culture Summit in Abu Dhabi and as NEA Panelist for the US Government. Admitted as an instrumental scholar on violin, Sarah was granted both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Oxford University. Furthering her education at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, she received her Advanced Certificate in Conducting. As a Fulbright Scholar, Sarah pursued further training at The Curtis Institute of Music, earning a Diploma in Conducting; she was honored with the Presser Award and the Friends of Curtis Fellowship. She then chose to deepen her knowledge with a Master of Music degree in Orchestral Conducting from The Juilliard School.

JAMES BURTON

Conducting October 2022

Born in London, James Burton is currently the Boston Symphony Orchestra Choral Director and Conductor of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus. In July 2020 he became Director of Orchestral Activities and Master Lecturer at Boston University’s School of Music. A frequent collaborator with orchestras and choruses, Mr. Burton’s recent concert highlights have included replacing an indisposed Gustavo Dudamel to conduct a series of concerts with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall, and guest conducting with the Orquestra Sinfónica Nacional of Mexico, and the Boston Pops at the Tanglewood Festival.

Mr. Burton has conducted leading orchestras including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Orchestra of Scottish Opera, Royal Northern Sinfonia, BBC Concert Orchestra, Manchester Camerata and the Hallé Orchestra. He is a regular guest of the Orquestra Sinfónica Nacional, and was honored to lead performances of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City to celebrate the orchestra’s 90th anniversary in 2018. He gave his BSO debut at Tanglewood in 2019, and since 2017 he has been a regular guest of the Boston Pops. Opera credits include performances at English National Opera, English Touring Opera, Garsington Opera and the Prague Summer Nights Festival, and he has served on the music staff of the Metropolitan Opera, Opéra de Paris and Opera Rara.

Mr. Burton has worked with many professional choirs including the Gabrieli Consort, the Choir of the Enlightenment, Wrocław Philharmonic, and the BBC Singers with which he performed in the augural season of Dubai’s Opera House in 2017. From 2002 to 2009 he was Choral Director at the Hallé Orchestra, winning the Gramophone Choral Award in 2009. Mr Burton is a lifelong and passionate advocate for young musicians. In addition to his recent appointment at BU, he has guest conducted with university orchestras including Oxford, Manchester and Kentucky, and he was Music Director of Schola Cantorum of Oxford from 2002 to 2017. He founded the Boston Symphony Children’s Choir in 2018 and the Hallé Youth Choir in 2003. In 2017 he was guest director of Japan’s National Youth Choir. Mr Burton has given conducting masterclasses at the Tanglewood Music Center, the Royal Academy of Music, and he founded a scholarship for young conductors at Oxford.

Mr. Burton’s composition portfolio includes works commissioned by the Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge, the National Portrait Gallery, and the Exon Festival where he was composer in residence in 2015. His most recent work The Lost Words is based on the book by Jackie Morris and Robert Macfarlane, and is a 35-minute piece for orchestra and upper voices. It is a co-commission between the Hallé Concerts Society and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. His works have received premieres on BBC Radio 3, and have been performed and recorded by groups including The Sixteen, Tenebrae, the BBC Singers, ORA Singers and the Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge. Mr Burton’s works are published by Edition Peters.

Mr. Burton began his training at the Choir of Westminster Abbey, where he became head chorister, and he was a choral scholar at St. John’s College, Cambridge. He holds degrees from Cambridge University and the Peabody Conservatory where he earned a Master’s in orchestral conducting, studying with Frederik Prausnitz and Gustav Meier.

ANDREW CRUST

Conducting January 2023

Andrew Crust has developed a versatile international career as a conductor of orchestral, opera, ballet and pops programs. Currently serving as the Associate Conductor of the Vancouver Symphony in Canada, Andrew conducts a large number of subscription, pops, educational and contemporary concerts with the VSO each season. Andrew recently completed his first season as Music Director of the Lima Symphony Orchestra, where he programs and conducts the Grand Classics, Pops and Educational series and has led collaborations with soloists such as Amit Peled, Awadagin Pratt and Katherine Jolly.

In the current and upcoming seasons Andrew will debut with the Arkansas, Rockford and Vermont Symphonies as Music Director finalist, and with the San Diego Symphony and Calgary Philharmonic as a guest conductor. Other recent engagements include performances with the Winnipeg Symphony, Memphis Symphony, Hartford Symphony, Bozeman Symphony and l’Orchestre de la Francophonie in Québec.

Andrew is a 2020 winner of the Solti Foundation US Career Assistance Award. In 2017 he was awarded first prize at the Accademia Chigiana by Daniele Gatti, receiving a scholarship and an invitation to guest conduct the Orchestra di Sanremo in Italy. He was a semi-finalist for the Nestlé/Salzburg Festival’s Young Conductors Award competition, and was selected by members of the Vienna Philharmonic as a winner of the Ansbacher Fellowship, with full access to all rehearsals and performances of the Salzburg Festival.

Andrew is equally at ease in the pit, having conducted ballet with Ballet Memphis and the New Ballet Ensemble, and opera with Opera McGill, College Light Opera Company, Boulder Opera Company, and others. As a Pops conductor, Andrew has collaborated with such artists as Rufus Wainwright, Steven Page, Michael Bolton, Cirque de la Symphonie, and the United States Jazz Ambassadors. Andrew has also established himself as a conductor of films with orchestra.

Andrew served as Assistant Conductor of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra from 2017-2019 where he conducted around forty concerts each season. Andrew also served as Conductor of the Memphis Youth Symphony Program. As the Assistant Conductor of the Portland Symphony Orchestra in Maine from 2016-2018, he conducted a variety of concert series, helped coordinate the orchestra’s extensive educational programs, and helped lead a program for concertgoers under 40 called “Symphony and Spirits”.

Andrew was the Assistant Conductor of the National Youth Orchestra of the USA (NYO-USA) in the summers of 2017 and 2018, assisting Michael Tilson Thomas on an Asian tour, as well as Giancarlo Guerrero, Marin Alsop and James Ross at Carnegie Hall and in a side-by-side performance with the Philadelphia Orchestra. He has also served as Cover Conductor of the Kansas City Symphony, San Diego Symphony and Nashville Symphony, Assistant/Cover Conductor of the Boulder Philharmonic and Assistant Conductor of Opera McGill.

Abroad, he has led concerts with the Orchestra Giovanile Italiana in Italy, Hamburger Symphoniker at the Mendelssohn Festival in Germany, the Moravian Philharmonic in the Czech Republic and the Orquesta Sinfónica de Chile in Santiago.

As an arranger/orchestrator, Andrew is currently working with Schirmer to make orchestrations of a set of Florence Price’s art songs, has orchestrated works by Alma Mahler and Prokofiev, as well as many pops and educational selections.

Andrew is dedicated to exploring new ways of bringing the classical music experience into the 21st century through innovative programming and marketing, creating community-oriented and socially-sensitive concert experiences, and utilizing social media and unique venues. Andrew is a firm believer in meaningful music education, having produced and written a number of original educational programs with orchestras.