Memphis Symphony debuts conductorless project Opus One

Posted on: February 26, 2010

“Change has been building at the Memphis Symphony Orchestra,” writes Jon W. Sparks in Thursday’s (2/25) Commercial Appeal (Memphis, Tennessee). “This week the MSO introduced Mei-Ann Chen as its fourth music director in its 58-year history. But even as the new maestro embarks on her journey of music, community and education, there are other developments happening at the orchestra. Opus One—a performance series led and sustained by MSO musicians without benefit of a conductor—debuts on Thursday [March4]. It’s no reflection on Chen—in fact she embraces the idea. It is, rather, a way to do more of what the musicians love to do best: make music. Susanna Perry Gilmore, the MSO’s concertmaster and one of the organizers of Opus One, says the timing is right for this effort. … Players put their skills into marketing, public relations, development and programming, tasks usually done by the MSO administrative staff. … Oboist Joey Salvalaggio, another Opus One organizer, says one of the benefits of putting it together ‘was seeing how many musicians had so many great ideas beyond what they’re doing onstage.’ … There’s another Opus One performance scheduled in May, and next season promises more examples of musical diversity.”

Posted February 26, 2010