In Friday’s (10/16) Commercial Appeal (Memphis, Tennessee), Jon W. Sparks writes, “Earlier this week, Alastair Willis was in town getting ready for his first date; the one with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra where, if things work out, he could become the next conductor and music director. … But Willis is not the only suitor. He’s one of three announced candidates being considered to take the position held for a decade by David Loebel. The others—Mei-Ann Chen, assistant conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Thomas Wilkins, music director of the Omaha Symphony Orchestra—will have their public performances in coming weeks. … Willis, a 38-year-old Seattle resident, has spent the last few seasons guest conducting around the world. … He completely supports the MSO’s aggressive efforts to reach out to the community. ‘I am passionate about that,’ he says. ‘This is the future for the existence of all classical music, to find that relevance so that if there is another recession, the public will say, we’re not going to let our symphony go because look what they’ve done for us.’ ”

Posted October 20, 2009