In Thursday’s (3/10) Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Bob Karlovits writes, “Christopher James Lees says he is excited to be past his ‘first date’ with the Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra. Now he is hoping for a more steady relationship. … Lees and the orchestra had their first date in December, when he directed the holiday pops concert. During the same stretch, Thomas Hong, the other finalist in the search for a new director, conducted the annual performance of the ‘Nutcracker’ ballet. … Now each will conduct a concert in the classical series. During the days leading up to those concerts, each will meet with various committees of the orchestra’s board of directors, as well as of the musicians.” Lees’s program features “the ‘Coriolan’ overture by Ludwig van Beethoven, Symphony No. 41 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the violin concerto by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The concerto features Bulgarian-born Bella Hristova, whom Lee calls ‘a marvelous violinist with virtuosity to spare.’ … Lees, a native of Washington, D.C., teaches at the University of Michigan, where he also conducts two orchestras. His work as a conductor was recognized in 2010 at the biennial Young Conductors Showcase of the League of American Orchestras.” Hristova is featured in Symphony magazine’s emerging artists roundtable, which can be read here.

Posted March 11, 2011