Detroit Symphony’s new assistant conductor: Na’Zir McFadden, 21

Posted on: April 27, 2022

“In fifth grade, Na’Zir McFadden broke plastic hangers and brought them to his band teacher, asking if he could conduct the school band using his ‘baton,’ ” writes Eden MacDougall in Tuesday’s (4/26) Temple News, Temple University’s student newspaper. “ ‘She never told me “no,” ’ said McFadden, a senior music performance major…. McFadden began seeking out every opportunity he could to gain experience conducting. These efforts led him to be named assistant conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and music director of the Detroit Symphony Youth Orchestra on April 6. He begins … in September…. ‘I’m still in a deep state of shock,’ McFadden said…. ‘I’m 21, I’m Black, I’m an inner-city Philadelphia kid, I went through the public schools,’ … McFadden said… After McFadden graduated high school in 2018, [Philadelphia Ballet Music Director Beatrice Jona] Affron invited him to apply for an apprenticeship as part of the Philadelphia Ballet’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access Portal.” McFadden, who is also a clarinetist, “is excited to work with the children in [Detroit’s] Symphony Youth Orchestra… ‘They’re the future of classical music, music in general, and having a direct impact—I couldn’t ask for anything more,’ he said.”