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Ms. Hotoda Starts Tenure as Music Director of Fresno Philharmonic on July 1, 2017 



June 6, 2017; Fresno, CA—Conductor Rei Hotoda has been named the new Music Director of the Fresno Philharmonic. Ms. Hotoda has signed a four-year contract, and will serve as the eighth Music Director for the orchestra. She succeeds Theodore Kuchar, who stepped down in June 2016 after leading the ensemble for 15 years.

Ms. Hotoda’s tenure as the newly appointed Music Director of the Fresno Philharmonic begins on July 1, 2017 and her inaugural concert as Music Director will be on October 15, 2017. In this position she will provide overall artistic leadership through conducting the orchestra in main series performances throughout the season; develop and broaden programing that will enliven current audiences and engage those new to the organization; work with the board of directors, musicians and administration on developing and articulating a compelling artistic vision for the Fresno Philharmonic as a 21st century orchestra; and cultivate and create partnerships with other cultural institutions that will celebrate and embrace the diverse community in Fresno.

Ms. Hotoda remarked: “It is my extreme honor and absolute pleasure to be appointed as the next Music Director of the Fresno Philharmonic. To work with musicians of this caliber, who are committed to performing at the highest level and who have a remarkable spirit of adventure, truly matches my enthusiasm for expanding their reach to the widest audiences possible. To know that this incredible orchestra is supported by an engaged and active Board and a willing and enthusiastic administration that is poised and ready to begin a new era for the organization, is so inspiring. I can’t wait to get started and to become part of the wonderful community of Fresno.”

Mr. Stephen Wilson, President and CEO of the Fresno Philharmonic, commented: “The Fresno Philharmonic is proud to announce Rei Hotoda as our next Music Director. Her remarkable talent, enthusiastic leadership style, deep devotion to inclusiveness, and insatiable curiosity for the world around her makes her the perfect collaborative partner for us. As we turn the page on a new chapter for the orchestra, her insight and willingness to work with the musicians, board and staff to strengthen the Philharmonic through innovative programming and relationship building, while deepening our commitment to the diverse community we serve, will help to propel us into the 21st century.”

Dr. Judith L. Kuipers, Board Chair of the Fresno Philharmonic, said: “I am so thrilled to welcome Rei Hotoda as the next Music Director of the Fresno Philharmonic. The high level of engagement and enthusiasm from our audience members and patrons, who actively and passionately took part in our selection process, ensured that we not only made the right choice for the Philharmonic, but the right one for our community.  On behalf of the Board and administration of the Fresno Philharmonic, we thank everyone for their support and participation, and we look forward with great anticipation to the start of Maestra Hotoda’s tenure.”

About Rei Hotoda: 

Rei Hotoda, the newly appointed Music Director of the Fresno Philharmonic, is rapidly becoming one of America’s most sought after and dynamic artists. She has appeared as a guest conductor with many of today’s leading ensembles, including the Symphony Orchestras of Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Edmonton, Fort Worth, Jacksonville, Utah, Toronto, and Winnipeg, as well as the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and the Colorado and the St. Louis Symphonies, among others.

Rei currently serves as the Associate Conductor for the Utah Symphony and will close her two-year tenure this summer, leading the orchestra in a number of concerts at the Deer Valley® Music Festival and out in the community. She will also embark on a week-long tour with the ensemble, under the direction of its Music Director, Thierry Fischer, celebrating Utah’s natural resources and rich cultural heritage, entitled the “Great American Road Trip.” Additional highlights of Rei’s 2017 summer season include her debut with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra; a new opera composed by Gene Coleman, entitled Dreamlives of Debris, in Chicago; and a performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 on the Intermezzo Chamber Music Series in Utah.

A consummate advocate of new music, Ms. Hotoda has conducted premieres of works by such notable composers as John Cage, Dai Fujikura, and Salvatore Sciarrino, and has championed and recorded compositions by female composers, including Vivian Fung and Jennifer Higdon. As a recording artist, Ms. Hotoda’s credits are wide-ranging and feature her as both conductor and piano soloist, including her first recording as a solo pianist, Apparitions, that featured works by Vincent Ho, Vivian Fung, and Toru Takemitsu.

Ms. Hotoda is also an accomplished pianist. She is equally at home leading the orchestra from the piano as well as from the podium. She has appeared as soloist conducting from the piano with the Dallas, Edmonton, Utah, and Winnipeg Symphony Orchestras, and has performed in recital at several leading venues.

Prior to her growing achievements as a guest conductor, Ms. Hotoda served as assistant conductor at several of today’s leading orchestras and festivals, including the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and the Cabrillo Festival. Ms. Hotoda is the proud recipient of several prestigious awards, including the 2006 Taki Concordia Conducting Fellowship, created by Marin Alsop to mentor women conductors.

About the Fresno Philharmonic: 

The Fresno Philharmonic, now entering its 64th season, is one of the leading arts organizations in California’s Central San Joaquin Valley. As Fresno’s professional symphony orchestra, the Fresno Philharmonic presents incomparable live musical experiences to thousands of people each season and provides high quality music education programs to students throughout our region.  The mission of the Fresno Philharmonic is to enrich and transform the lives of the residents of the Central Valley through performances of great music.  The Fresno Philharmonic believes that music of the highest caliber should be available and accessible to all.

The Fresno Philharmonic’s six concert Masterworks series presents the greatest works in the classical symphonic literature, as well as interesting rarities and compositions by living composers. Leading guest soloists, such as Sir James Galway, Itzhak Perlman, Dame Evelyn Glennie, Lang Lang, Lynn Harrell, Sarah Chang, Joshua Bell, and Andre Watts have appeared with the Fresno Philharmonic.  The Fresno Pops series presents orchestral arrangements of popular music from a wide variety of genres and eras often with leading headline stars from the worlds of Broadway, jazz and entertainment. The Fresno Philharmonic also presents Carnegie Hall’s acclaimed Link Up education program to over 11,500 students in Fresno, Central, Sanger and Clovis Unified school districts.   The Fresno Philharmonic performs in the William Saroyan Theatre in Downtown Fresno.

The Fresno Philharmonic operates on an annual budget of approximately $1.5 million and has an endowment of approximately $2 million. The Fresno Philharmonic has 73 tenured musicians all of whom are members of the American Federation of Musicians.  Hailing from Greater Fresno, as well as cities throughout California, they bring a wealth of talent and experience to Fresno Philharmonic concerts and many are actively engaged in teaching music in our community.   The Philharmonic is managed by a staff of four full-time and two part-time employees. It has a 25-member Board of Directors composed of community leaders who govern the organization and provide financial resources through their contributions and fund raising activity.  Like every professional symphony orchestra in the U.S., the Fresno Philharmonic depends upon the generous support of the community it serves.

Contact: Raechel Alexander / / 917-815-8790

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