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Contracts renewed for Spokane Symphony's musical leaders | Arts & Culture

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Contracts renewed for Spokane Symphony's musical leaders
Arts & Culture, News
Contracts renewed for Spokane Symphony's musical leaders

Two signatures are shaping the future of music in Spokane. Eckart Preu, music director of Spokane Symphony, and Morihiko Nakahara, resident conductor, have extended their contracts with the symphony. Like a good marriage, Preu says the better a symphony and its conductor know each other, the more exciting it gets.

“The orchestra looks different, sounds different and plays different,” Preu said in a cozy press conference on stage at the Martin Woldson Theater on Wednesday afternoon.

“The shelf life of a conductor and a orchestra depends on that relationship,” Preu explained.

Musical magic is happening between the musicians and their music director because otherwise, this contract may have not happened.

“How well it works depends on usually the orchestra and the board who decides how long a music director is useful, is helpful to bringing new audiences and creating musical experiences," said Preu.

Like many symphonies in the country, Spokane Symphony is expanding its efforts to raise funds. Executive director Brenda Nienhouse says they’re going to be making a few positive changes for the next season.

“When the economy down turned, we ended up making some changes, making staff reductions, but we’re now really operating lean,” Nienhouse shared.

They also hope to whip up some more collaborations and re-structure some portions of the symphony to connect with new and even younger audiences.

Economy aside, keeping these men in Spokane improves the bond between the symphony and their conductor, even the community. Nakahara considers Spokane’s music community his family.

“Not just music, not just classical music, but the art and cultural scene. There’s a lot happening here because we are the regional center,” Nakahara shared. “Compared to other places I go, I appreciate the synergy we have here. To be able to continue rehearsing, performing and sharing the music in this beautiful hall. There’s nothing like it in this country.”

Nakahara’s newly signed contract extends his stay with the symphony for another two years. Eckart’s contract extends for another five years into the 2015-2016 season.

The addition of a new member in Preu’s family helped make the decision easier; his second daughter was recently born in Spokane. He says finding roots in your community is important especially when you’re born in a different country and your family lives elsewhere. Preu thinks he and Nakahara are similar in that situation.

“You have to create a new life somewhere else,” Preu said. “We’re uprooted. You try to constantly put down roots, but that’s very hard in our lifestyle. I think we’ve succeeded in putting down our roots here. It’s good fertile soil.”

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