As conductor of the University of South Carolina Symphony Orchestra, Dr. Scott Weiss conducts six Masterpiece Concerts a year, featuring music written by the greatest classical composers of the world.
As the new conductor of the Aiken Symphony Orchestra, Weiss will have the opportunity to expand his repertoire and conduct not only classical music, but also holiday classics and popular Broadway standards. and the American songbook – and he’s thrilled.
“At university, I work with amazing students and we have an amazing symphony orchestra,” said Weiss, who is the Aiken Orchestra’s second conductor and music director. “I love it, of course. It’s what I was trained to do – conducting the great works of composers like Beethoven and Mendelssohn – and I’m delighted to do that with our series of masterpieces here as well. than our chamber music series. But it’s also exciting to have our Pop series here too. It’s a change of pace for me to wear different musical hats.
Conducting is a change of pace from Weiss’ first professional career in music: playing the trumpet.
“When I was a teenager and in college, I was determined to be the Chicago Symphony Orchestra‘s next principal trumpet,” Weiss said. “It was my career goal. I loved playing the trumpet.
Weiss majored in trumpet at Indiana University and after graduation played trumpet professionally in the Washington, DC area and also taught.
Weiss said he “sort of fell into a job as a conductor”.
“I had never directed before,” he said. “I took conducting lessons and got it, and my career kind of worked its way up to where it is now. Eventually, along the way, I stopped playing the trumpet.
Since 2010, Weiss has been a professor at USC, where he directs the master’s and doctoral program in orchestral conducting.
Some of Weiss’ students and USC School of Music students perform with the Aiken Symphony.
“We have current students, especially some of our PhD students, who will be playing in the Aiken Symphony, which is great because we have PhD students who come from all over the world to study violin or flute. They are class players. world who have had professional careers and want to get a doctorate,” Weiss said.
Weiss, whose position officially begins July 1, said his goal is to ensure the Aiken Symphony Orchestra continues to attract “the highest quality musicians”.
“There are a number of professional orchestras in South Carolina, and a lot of musicians who play for the Aiken Symphony also play in the South Carolina Philharmonic. They play in Rock Hill. They play in Spartanburg,” he said. he said, “So I’m particularly interested in making sure that our orchestra attracts the best musicians from that pool.”
Wendy Hirsch, director of operations and administration for the symphony orchestra, said she was looking forward to a “wonderful partnership” with the orchestra’s new conductor.
“It is with great enthusiasm that we welcome Dr. Scott Weiss as our new Music Director and Conductor,” she said. “The Aiken Symphony Orchestra will enter its eighth season under his direction and, after a long process of interviews, we know he has the same passion for excellence, both on and off stage, as the “ASO’s commitment to working with us to further improve our programming, increase community involvement and solidify our long-term financial outlook aligns perfectly with our strategic plan.
Although classical music – from medieval to baroque, in particular, to contemporary – is Weiss’s passion, when he’s not conducting, he and his wife, Teah, enjoy the world music they’ve heard on their trips.
“There is music that we have heard in Portugal and that we like to listen to. There is music from the Basque region of Spain that we like, French music that we like,” he said. “In our spare time, that’s what’s on Spotify for us.”
Now that Weiss’ travels have brought him to Aiken, he’s part of the town’s music community, but he also hopes to be part of the larger community.
When the Aiken Symphony invited Weiss to apply for the position of conductor, the closeness of Aiken and Columbia was one of the aspects of the job that interested him most.
“I felt comfortable being able to do the job well and being at Columbia and Aiken for a bit,” said Weiss, who added that he’s been at Aiken at least once a week since he started. was appointed conductor. “I wasn’t particularly interested in the idea of having an orchestra that was one flight away where I would fly and spend three or four days with the orchestra and then fly home.
“My real interest was being part of the community, and I feel like in Colombia I’m close enough to get to Aiken and have a real presence here, which I’m particularly excited about.”
Weiss said he was “super honored” to be named conductor of the Aiken Symphony Orchestra, established in 2015.
“Already in its short history, the orchestra has had, I think, a huge impact on the Aiken community,” he said. “I’m thrilled to pick it up and continue the orchestra’s journey.”