Michelle Merrill, newly named music director of Winston-Salem Symphony in North Carolina.

In Wednesday’s (6/21) Winston-Salem Journal (North Carolina), Lisa O’Donnell writes, “After an 18-month search, the Winston-Salem Symphony announced Tuesday that Michelle Merrill will be its new music director, making her the first woman to lead the symphony in its 76-year history. Merrill, 39, will sign a three-year contract with the symphony, said Merritt Vale, the president and chief executive officer of the symphony. Merrill replaces Timothy Redmond, who unexpectedly resigned in August 2021 … A former associate conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Merrill was one of 62 people invited to apply for the job…. When Merrill received her invitation to apply for the position, she was immediately interested. She was familiar with the symphony, having admired the work of Robert Moody during his tenure with the symphony from 2005 to 2018….  While Merrill recognizes the historic significance of being the first woman to lead the local symphony, she hopes people will see her simply as a conductor, not a ‘female conductor.’ Merrill will continue to work as the music director of the Coastal Symphony of Georgia and as a guest conductor. Her first concert performance with the Winston-Salem Symphony will be Sept. 23.”