Monday, June 28, 2010

New Assistant Conductor & Youth Symphony Music Director

The Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra announces the appointment of Tara Simoncic as the new Assistant Conductor and Harrisburg Youth Symphony Music Director.

(UPDATE: you can read David Dunkle's article about her that appeared in the Patriot-News on-line.)

“During my time as Music Director of the Norwalk Youth Symphony, I have built the program from four orchestras to six, adding a very successful mid-level orchestral winds training ensemble as well as a top level chamber orchestra that performs free concerts in the surrounding communities” says Simoncic.

Tara Simoncic joins the HSO from her current appointment as Music Director of the Norwalk Youth Symphony in Norwalk , Connecticut .  She had previously been the conductor of their Principal Orchestra prior to her Music Director appointment. While with the NYS she founded and conducted the Chamber Orchestra which performed free and benefit concerts and collaborated with the Greenwich Ballet Academy. Ms. Simoncic will assist Maestro Stuart Malina as his Assistant Conductor and become the new Harrisburg Youth Symphony Music Director, filling the position of the recently retired Dr. Ronald Schafer.

In addition to her NYS position, she was also the Music Director and Conductor for the Histoire Chamber Orchestra, Conductor of the Flexible Orchestra (in NYC), Cover Conductor for the Manhattan School of Music (NYC), and Pre-Concert Lecturer and Assistant Conductor for the Greenwich  (CT) Symphony Orchestra.

Her previous appointments include Guest Conductor for the Connecticut Music Educators Association High School Orchestra, Music Director for the Adelphi Chamber Orchestra (Paramus, NJ), Guest Conductor for the Omaha Youth Symphony (Omaha, NE), Assistant Conductor for the Martha Graham Dance Company (NYC), Guest Conductor of the Ballet School of Stamford (Stamford, CT), Guest Conductor for the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra (NYC), Guest Conductor for the Kinhaven Music School (Kinhaven, VT), Guest Conductor for the Kingsborough Symphony Orchestra (NYC), Guest Conductor for the New Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra (NYC), Conductor for the Seminar Orchestra at C.W. Post Music Festival (Long Island, NY), Director of Orchestras for the Wachusette Regional School Distric grades 4-12 (Holden, MA), Choir Director for the First Congregational Church (Holden, MA) and Apprentice Conductor for the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra (Knoxville, TN).

Originally from Stockton , California , Ms. Simoncic grew up in a musical family. Her father a composer and her mother a flautist, Tara was encouraged to study several instruments at an early age, but chose to focus on the trumpet at the age of six. Tara was bitten by the conducting bug while she was pursuing her Bachelor of Music degree in trumpet performance at the New England Conservatory of music. There, she founded the Stravinsky Septet, an ensemble which toured New England with a staged production of Stravinsky's L'Histoire du Soldat and other works with similar instrumentation that were commissioned by the ensemble. Deciding to further her studies in conducting, Ms. Simoncic received her Masters of Music degree in orchestral conducting from Northwestern University . Soon after, she won the position of assistant conductor with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, a one-year position during which time she covered subscription concerts and conducted the orchestras pops, run-out and chamber orchestra concerts and was the conductor of the Knoxville Symphony Youth Orchestra.

In 2000, Ms. Simoncic was accepted into the doctoral program in conducting at the University of Kansas City, Missouri and appointed assistant conductor of the Kansas City Ballet but declined the position to be one of two students accepted into the first conducting class at the Manhattan School of Music. Since then, she became one of the most active conductors of her generation in the New York area, working with the Brooklyn, Kingsborough, New Amsterdam and Greenwich Symphony Orchestras and the Bergen Philharmonic. Ms. Simoncic served on the conducting faculty at the C.W. Post Music Festival ( Long Island , NY ) for three years, and has been a guest conductor at the Kinhaven Summer School of Music in Vermont. An advocate of contemporary music, Ms. Simoncic has worked with the Manhattan School of Music Composers Orchestra and was appointed conductor of the Flexible Orchestra in 2004.

Her conducting training extended to Europe, where she has studied extensively in master classes at the Canford Summer School of Music (England) and with the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic (Czech Republic), the West Bohemian Symphony Orchestra (Czech Republic), the Adygeya Republic National Symphony Orchestra and the Astrakhan Symphony Orchestra (Russian Republic), where she had recently been invited back as a guest conductor. She studied with Zdenec Macal, David Gilbert, Iloh Yang, Victor Yampolsky, George Manahan, George Hurst and Kirk Trevor.

Ms. Simoncic will join the HSO and HYSO staff following a trip to Italy with her current Norwalk Youth Symphony during the last week of June. 

- Kim Isenhour, Marketing Director, Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra

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