As is well known by now, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg will step down from the position of Music Director of the New Century Chamber Orchestra (NCCO) at the conclusion of the current season, whose final three programs will constitute a mini-festival celebrating the ensemble’s 25th anniversary. Executive Director Philip Wilder and the NCCO Board of Directors have recognized that finding a successor cannot be taken lightly. A search committee has been formed that is being led by Founding President Paula Gambs and consisting of members of the Board, selected NCCO musicians, and several members of the staff.
Recognizing the duration of the search process, NCCO has created the position of Artistic Partner to provide continuity for the next three seasons. Less than an hour ago it was announced that this position would be held by British violinist Daniel Hope, beginning with the 2017–2018 season and running to the end of the 2019–2020 season. Like Salerno-Sonnenberg, Hope will lead NCCO as concertmaster; and the search committee will be seeking a violinist that will lead in a similar capacity. Hope will perform in multiple performances in each of the coming three seasons and will have an active hand in shaping the repertoire for those seasons. Candidates emerging from the search process will appear as Guest Concertmasters until a permanent successor has been appointed.
Hope is no stranger to NCCO. This past February he, himself, was a Guest Concertmaster for a special centennial tribute to his mentor, Yehudi Menuhin. This afternoon he was present for the announcement of his new position, and he appeared with violin in hand. He played two selections, the second of which was an important one for Menuhin. This was Lucien Garban’s arrangement for violin and piano of the first of Maurice Ravel’s Deux mélodies hébraïques (two Hebraic songs), a setting of the Kaddish prayer for the dead. Hope observed that he made this choice not only because Menuhin played it but also in recognition of the celebration tonight of Yom Kippur, the final day of religious services for the New Year in the Jewish Calendar. Hope’s first selection was more secular, Edward Elgar’s Opus 12, entitled “Salut d’amour,” which he wrote for the woman who would soon become his wife.