Palmer will play a bigger role with a local orchestra | News, Sports, Jobs


Courtesy Photo New Music Director and Conductor Nick Palmer will begin his first full season in his new role with the Altoona Symphony Orchestra this fall.

New Music Director and Conductor Nick Palmer will begin his first full season in this new role with the Altoona Symphony Orchestra this fall.

Formerly a principal guest conductor and artistic advisor to the symphony orchestra, Palmer is ready to take on positions of greater responsibility.

“I’m very excited to take the reins of the orchestra and take it to the next level,” said Palm.

Palmer’s first full season in a new directing capacity will feature unique performances, including a Halloween-themed concert, featuring pieces from “The Witches of Eastwick”, “Nightmare Before Christmas” and “The Twilight Zone.” The symphony invites guests to come in costume.

“It’s a new idea we came up with because this concert usually falls around Halloween, and we thought it would be really fun for the audience, with a combination of classical music and popular music,” said Palm. “We want to make the event as fun as possible for the whole family and to appeal to our current spectators and some new spectators as well.”

The Hingham, Massachusetts native’s goals for his first year at the helm include attracting a younger audience. To achieve this, Palmer said he and the symphony orchestra would aim to step up their outreach efforts.

“We really want to attract new spectators because the symphony is really for the whole community”, said Palm. “It is important to move forward with better and more modern social media marketing and use. It’s about how we engage the public. These things are part and parcel of developing a broader base.

Symphony executive director Janey Schwind said she was looking forward to seeing Palmer take on her new role.

“It’s hard to grasp just how much fun he is to work with, and he’s incredibly dynamic and personable, extremely forward-thinking and constantly collaborating to make the orchestra more accessible”, Schwind said. “He will follow the traditions of a great orchestra, and he’s just an amazing musician and a fun person to collaborate with; he is an excellent team player.

Schwind said the orchestra had had many great conductors in its history, but Palmer would be uniquely suited for the job.

“They all brought something different to the orchestra, but I think Nick brings a different perspective and a different take on things, just thinking in different ways moving forward.”

What sets Palmer apart, Schwind said, is his passion for the community, which he hopes to touch through his work.

“One of the biggest things is that we are thrilled to see him working with so many people in the community who will enjoy watching him work and all that he brings to the table with the orchestra, Schwind said. “He’s a very likeable guy, not only geared towards being a musician, but also very interested in reaching out to the wider community to make music accessible and accessible to more people.”

Palmer will enter his first full season with his new duties when the symphony opens its season with the performance of Dvorak “New world” symphony on October 8.

“It’s a true classical work that really showcases the violin, and we’re blessed to have not only a magnificent concertmaster, but also a world-class soloist. It is something that can be embraced by an audience.

Genaro Medina, concertmaster and principal violinist of the symphony orchestra, believes in his colleague and said Palmer will be a perfect fit for his new role with the organization.

“He has vast experience” said Medina. “From his experience, he knows where the level is. I can tell he knows the potential of the orchestra and he has a vision of where he wants the orchestra to go. I expect an evolution of the orchestra; he wants to take it to a new high level.

In 1992, Palmer received the Helen M. Thompson Award from the League of American Orchestras as the nation’s most outstanding young musical director. He has worked with leading ensembles including the London Philharmonic, Detroit Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Springfield (MA) Symphony and Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, and conducted at the Kennedy Center and the Dvorak Festival.

“I’m excited about our artistic level at the moment, but I’m excited to see how it can grow, develop and improve,” said Palm. “I know and love the community and it’s a pleasure to spend time in Altoona. We want to take this to the next level; that’s what really excites me.

Mirror Staff Writer Andrew Mollenauer is at 814-946-7428.

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