Knox-Galesburg Symphony hires new music director, Vizireanu to take the podium

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July 25, 2019
Vlad Vizireanu has been chosen as the next music director of the KGS after a process
which has lasted for more than two years. He is “thrilled to have been named the next
music director” and is “looking forward to working with these wonderful musicians and
board, and to be leading the orchestra into its next chapter.”

The search process has joined together musicians, board members, and people from
the community as a search committee, organized and facilitated by executive director
Lucas Wood. This committee vetted candidates from around the world and brought the
four most qualified candidates to Galesburg as guest conductors. These candidates
were each considered after performing a concert and engaging with the community
during their week in our community. “As I look back over the past two years, I’m amazed
by the dedication of the search committee. Their commitment to this process is what
enabled us to bring such fine candidates to our deserving community and present, what
I consider, the best season of performances in recent KGS history,” says Wood. “A
music director search is certainly the most arduous task an orchestra can undertake,
but our fine musicians, dedicated search committee, and supportive and enthusiastic
community have turned this daunting process into the most inspiring season in my time
with the orchestra.”

The time and organization which led up to this past season cannot be understated. In
August of 2017, the KGS published their opening for the music director position and
received more than fifty applicants from around the world. The committee split this into
two groups and narrowed the pool down to twenty quarterfinalists (a top ten from each
group). Applicants were evaluated on musicianship, professionalism, and ability to
engage with the community. In February of 2018 the committee met over coffee and
donuts in a meeting space provided by the Galesburg Area Chamber of Commerce. At
this point they narrowed further to a pool of ten semifinalists, who would each be
interviewed in a video conference at The Orpheum Theatre in March. Each candidate
brought many outstanding qualities to the table, making a difficult decision for the
committee. However, the pastries from Innkeeper’s Fresh Roasted Coffee were very
useful in smoothing discussion.

Described as a conductor with “ample gestures, clarity, precision, and genuine passion,”
Vlad Vizireanu has worked with numerous orchestras during his active concert schedule
over the past several years, which has included a variety of guest conducting
engagements, major international competitions, and prestigious masterclasses. Most
recently, he debuted with the London Symphony Orchestra at Barbican Hall as 2nd
Prizewinner in the 2016 Donatella Flick Competition. He was also among a handful of
candidates selected to work with both the Danish National Symphony and Bamberg
Symphony at the 2018 Malko Competition and 2016 Mahler Competition respectively. In
2013, he was awarded 2nd Prize at the Cadaqués Competition where he debuted in
L’Auditori Hall in Barcelona. He has worked with the Tonhalle-Orchester, Lucerne
Festival Strings, Gstaad Festival Orchestra, Castleton Festival Orchestra, New World
Symphony, Manhattan School of Music Symphony, and has served as cover conductor
for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Sarasota Orchestra, among others.

Additionally, he has studied with and served as assistant to some of the finest
conductors of our generation, including Bernard Haitink, Kurt Masur, David Zinman,
Michael Tilson Thomas, Neeme Jarvi, and Lori Maazel. Vizireanu’s pedigree is indeed
impressive. However, it is merely one aspect of why the KGS chose him to be our next
Music Director.

While reflecting back on the process, committee member and principal clarinet, Eric
Ginsberg said “from the early days of our search, Vlad emerged as a leading candidate
for the position. He combines all the technique that one can want in a conductor with an
engaging and musical personality. It became apparent during his guest conducting that
he easily shares his musicianship with the orchestra members and the community.”

During his stay in Galesburg, Vlad interviewed with radio hosts on WMOI, WGIL, and
TSPR. He visited with local music classrooms and met members of the community at
various other functions. “By performing exciting repertoire, both old and new, and
creating unique community collaborations,” says Vizireanu, “we are going to reach out
to a wide ranging audience and make our concerts a welcoming and inviting place for
classical music.” Vlad felt that he really connected with the community during his stay in
Galesburg. He enjoyed his visits at United Junior High and at Lombard Middle school,
asking students about who wanted to be a conductor. He was pleasantly surprised
when more than one hand shot up. He spent time in the lobby before the concert and
shook hands with anyone and everyone who was interested.

The audience seems to like Vlad as much as the committee and board do. After his
concert in April, audience members filled out an anonymous survey to give their
feedback. These, among many other anonymous quotes show the audience’s
“ Fabulous, the best of all. Got better each time. Winner.”
“All four candidates were very good, but I think this guy is another level up. I
hope you choose him.”
“Best the orchestra has sounded.”

“The process has been rigorous, but also thrilling,” says Nikki Malley, board member
and director of jazz studies at Knox college. “All year, friends, colleagues, students, and
total strangers have stopped me to express enthusiastic support for candidates. I am
walking away from this year-long process with a new appreciation for the community’s
love of and investment in the Knox-Galesburg Symphony.” Jeanne Harland, another
board member says “the Galesburg area can feel proud that so many extraordinarily
talented conductors from around the world want to come make music with the
Knox-Galesburg Symphony.”

“Overall this has been an exhaustive and wonderful process. We’ve gotten a chance to
meet wonderful conductors and engage with the community in new ways” says David
Power, the marketing coordinator for the KGS. Vlad’s post begins in July and season
programs will be announced soon. Interested music lovers can visit the symphony
website ( or Facebook page to keep up with all the latest updates
and to purchase tickets for performances. Vlad Vizireanu is the newest addition to the
KGS and is excited to get to know the community of Galesburg.
Alexis Kellogg, Marketing Coordinator
(309) 341-7268