WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — The Westchester Philharmonic recently announced the appointments of renowned violinist and conductor Jaime Laredo, and Tony-winning conductor Ted Sperling as principal conductors. Joshua Worby, the executive director since 2006, becomes the orchestra’s new executive and artistic director.
Worby noted the appointments of Laredo and Sperling, which commence with the 2014-15 season, followed two previous guest appearances by each conductor that were “tremendously well-received by our audience and elicited overwhelming support from the orchestra musicians,” according to a prepared statement
“Jaime Laredo is a consummate artist and a titan of the music world, a leader and friend you will follow over any hill” Worby said in the statement. “We are honored to welcome him to the orchestra and look forward to building on the relationship we have already established.”
Laredo will lead two of the orchestra’s five annual main stage programs, both as conductor and soloist.
“I have conducted and played with more than a hundred orchestras around the world,” Laredo said in the statement, “and the Westchester Philharmonic ranks among the best. I feel blessed that we will now be able to make music together on a continuing basis.”
Laredo noted that when he returned for the second time last season, Worby mentioned the idea of formalizing an ongoing relationship. “I immediately told him I was on board,” Laredo said in the statement. “We have already discussed a few programming ideas and it’s clear we have great things in front of us.”
Sperling, a Tony-winning conductor, arranger, and New Rochelle native, will lead the philharmonic’s upcoming Winter Pops concert for the third consecutive season, on Dec. 22.
“The fact that we have re-engaged Ted three years in a row speaks for itself,” Worby said in the statement. “He commands enormous respect from the musicians and the guest artists we've engaged like Kelli O’Hara and Norm Lewis, and after just two concerts with us he quickly developed a truly special rapport with our audience.”
In addition to leading its annual Winter Pops, Sperling also will conduct a second subscription series program annually, as well as the orchestra’s annual concert for local school children.
“Leading this superb ensemble of musicians has become an annual highlight for me,” Sperling said in the statement. “Growing up in New Rochelle, I have a special place in my heart for the Westchester Philharmonic, and an understanding of what the orchestra means to the community. I remember hearing a live symphony orchestra for the first time as a child, and how it changed my life. Now it comes full circle, and I hope I get to help change lives, too.”
Speaking for the board of directors, Chairwoman Millicent Kaufman summarized the sense of the board in expanding Worby’s title to executive and artistic director. “For the past six seasons Josh has been setting and executing the orchestra’s artistic agenda with outstanding results,” Kaufman said in the statement. “His deft approach in selecting conductors and soloists, and his collaborations with those artists in putting together thrilling concert programs, has been a driving force behind the music. Over that time he has essentially served as the orchestra’s artistic director, and this new title simply makes it official.”