Ankush Kumar Bahl Named Music Director Of The Omaha Symphony
David Slosburg, chair of the Omaha Symphony Board of Directors, and David Diamond, chair of the Music Director Search Committee, announced today that conductor Ankush Kumar Bahl has been appointed the next music director of the Omaha Symphony effective at the beginning of the 2021-2022 season for a term of seven seasons.
"As music director designate, Maestro Bahl brings so much to the table," said Slosburg. "The committee saw a host of incredible conductors during the course of our search, but Bahl's connection with musicians and audiences, engaging presence, and inspiring leadership made our choice a clear one."
Bahl first appeared with the Omaha Symphony on October 18 and 19, 2019, conducting a program that included Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake," Chopin's "Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise Brillante" and Shostakovich's Symphony No. 9. He was selected through a three-year music director search process led by a fifteen-member committee comprised of Omaha Symphony board members, community leaders, and musicians.
"I am excited that Maestro Bahl has decided to join us," said Diamond. "I want to express my sincere gratitude to everyone involved on the search committee, as they've spent the past three years meeting regularly to identify the right artistic leadership for the orchestra's next chapter. They have done a fantastic job in not only finding a great musician, but a wonderfully collaborative leader that will see us into our next century."
Ankush Kumar Bahl is recognized today by orchestras and audiences alike for his impressive conducting technique, thoughtful interpretations, and engaging podium presence. In concert, he has left The Washington Post "wanting to hear more" and has been praised by The New York Times for his "clear authority and enthusiasm" and ability to "inspire." American born and of Indian descent, Bahl is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area and received a double degree in music and rhetoric from the University of California at Berkeley. He has been a conducting fellow at the Aspen Music Festival and completed his master's degree in orchestral conducting at the Manhattan School of Music. His recent and future guest conducting highlights include performances with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, the New York Philharmonic, and the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C.
"I am truly honored to become the next music director of the Omaha Symphony," said Bahl. "When I first worked with the ensemble, it was clear to me that this is a great American orchestra, composed of top-tier musicians. I was equally impressed with their generous spirit, work ethic, and flexibility. I felt a special connection between us and sensed a mutual adoration that made me excited about the prospect of becoming a part of this wonderful organization. Similarly, while getting to know the administration, board, and members of the community, I was impressed by the organization's leadership and inspired by how committed the city of Omaha is to its Symphony.
"I want to thank the search committee, board, administration, and the orchestra for entrusting me with the artistic leadership of the Omaha Symphony. I look forward to being a part of the Omaha community and simply cannot wait to get started! "
Omaha Symphony President & CEO Jennifer Boomgaarden is confident that Bahl will build on the incredible legacy of excellence left by Music Director Thomas Wilkins.
"We are honored to welcome Maestro Bahl to Omaha. He is a consummate musician, a dynamic thinker, and an authentic leader with an entrepreneurial spirit. He is passionate about music and its ability to impact individuals and communities," said Boomgaarden. "I am confident that he will articulate an inspiring vision for the orchestra as a vibrant collaborator and an innovative, relevant, and inclusive resource for our community."
"The musicians of the Omaha Symphony are thrilled to welcome Ankush Kumar Bahl as our next music director," said Omaha Symphony concertmaster Susanna Perry Gilmore. "From the first time we collaborated, it was clear that he embodies both the musical and interpersonal skills that make a great conductor and leader. I admire his artistry and vision and think the Omaha Symphony is fortunate to begin this new partnership."
As the next music director of the Omaha Symphony, Bahl will succeed Music Director Thomas Wilkins, who will end his 16-year tenure as music director at the end of the 2020-2021 season. The announcement comes just as the orchestra begins the celebration of its centennial season.
The Omaha Symphony's centennial season will be one of the greatest in the orchestra's history, featuring all-star guest artists like Branford Marsalis, André Watts, and Yo-Yo Ma, as well as large-scale orchestral works like Schubert's Symphony No. 8 "Unfinished," Sibelius Symphony No. 3, and Elgar's Enigma Variations. Fans of pop and rock will enjoy celebrations of the music of Aretha Franklin, Paul Simon, the Moody Blues, and lots more. More information can be found at http://www.omahasymphony.org/100.
All are invited to tune in to KVNO for a special edition of "In Concert with the Omaha Symphony" at 1 p.m. on Sunday, June 28, 2020. The program will feature a re-broadcast of Maestro Bahl's performance with the Omaha Symphony from October 18, 2019. Bahl will join KVNO host Ben Rasmussen in conversation between pieces.