In Tuesday’s (10/21) Detroit News, Michael H. Hodges reports the appointment of Michelle Merrill as assistant conductor. She “comes from Jacksonville, Florida, where for three seasons she was guest conductor at the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra.” As the DSO’s assistant conductor Merrill succeeds Teddy Abrams, who stepped down last summer to become music director of the Louisville Orchestra. Merrill will serve as a cover conductor at the DSO and “will lead the Pops on occasion and conduct the Young People’s Family Concerts as well as the DSO’s Education Concert Series…. Merrill stands out in the conductor field on two counts. First, at 30, she’s young in a profession that ordinarily favors age. In addition, she acknowledges she’s the rare woman in the field, but shrugs off any significance to that. (She is not, however, the first woman in this position at the DSO.)” A native of the Dallas area who received undergraduate and graduate degrees at Southern Methodist University’s Meadows School of the Arts, Merrill served as assistant conductor of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic prior to her Jacksonville post. “In 2013, she was awarded the prestigious Ansbacher Conducting Fellowship by the Vienna Philharmonic and the American Austrian Foundation.”

Posted October 22, 2014

Pictured: Michelle Merrill onstage at Detroit’s Orchestra Hall. Photo courtesy of Detroit Symphony Orchestra