Symphonic music fans in Central New York will see a new Managing Director at the helm of Symphoria in about a month.
The organization hired Catherine Underhill, who’s been Executive Director of the Colorado Music Festival and Center for Musical Arts for the past 11 years. Underhill, who has 30 years of arts organization management after a Harvard degree in public administration, starts September 1, 2013.
Underhill says she hopes to ensure symphonic music stays vibrant in the Syracuse area:
“With the demise of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra emerged an opportunity to help be part of bringing symphonic music back. And I was particularly intrigued with the innovative way that the organization approached redeveloping an orchestra – not just going back to the same blueprint and building the same model.”
Underhill says she is not approaching her new role with any specific blueprint for marketing the orchestra or scheduling performances. She believes there are factors already in place that can ensure high-quality symphonic music here in Syracuse.
“Because Syracuse is a very livable community, and there was a strong core of musicians who had played with the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, there remains a strong core that is attached to and part of Symphoria. It’s like growing any emerging organization – you start with a kernel, and it grows from there."
She knows about the demise of the former Syracuse symphony, but believes the musician-owned model of the new organization is sustainable. Her first task will be to meet musicians and board members to hear all their ideas. Underhill also approaches her role knowing the musicians have already engaged audiences in venues outside the Downtown Civic Center.
In December 2012, Symphoria members staged a flashmob in Destiny USA, bringing musical cheer to guests shopping for the holidays.
Symphoria recently concluded its family-friendly Summer Season, which showcased a wide variety of selections, from Broadway titles to classical overtures. The group’s first Masterworks series performance is September 21.