GAMAC Chamber Orchestra Announces Guest Conductors for 2016-2017 Concert Season

              GAMAC has hired guest conductors to lead the GAMAC Chamber Orchestra for two performances during the 2016-2017 Masterworks series following the retirement of founding conductor, Alex Spainhour.  Maestros Morihiko Nakahara and Neil Casey will each visit Anderson for a week-long residency during the months of October and February respectively for the orchestra’s Oktoberfest and Spanish Sketches programs.  Their time in Anderson will also include visits to local schools, Anderson University and speaking engagements with local civic groups. 

            Morihiko Nakahara has served as Music Director of the South Carolina Philharmonic since 2008.  The upcoming 2016-2017 concert season will also mark his 14th year with the Spokane Symphony Orchestra, first as an assistant conductor, and now as its resident conductor.  With a charismatic presence on and off the podium, Mr. Nakahara is well known for his innovative and audience-friendly approach to concert planning.  A passionate ambassador for classical music, he is equally at home in a wide variety of musical genres having collaborated with such artists as Bela Fleck & The Flecktones, Brandi Carlile, Pink Martini, Chris Botti, and Sergio Mendes among others.  Mr. Nakahara is well known as a champion for music education and is frequently featured in various media outlets discussing the importance of arts advocacy and the role of the arts in economic development.  Maestro Nakahara will open GAMAC’s 2016-2017 Masterworks Season with Oktoberfest on Friday, October 7, 2016 at 7:30pm in the Rainey Fine Arts Center at Anderson University.  The program will feature the Chamber Orchestra with pianist Matthew Ganong performing J.S. Bach’s Keyboard Concerto in D minor along with Mendelssohn’s Nocturno in C Major for Winds, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 “Pastoral.”

            Neil Casey serves as the Assistant Director of Orchestras at the University of South Carolina as well as the Music Director of the South Carolina Philharmonic Youth Orchestras.  An active guest conductor, Mr. Casey has appeared with the former Savannah Symphony, Knoxville Symphony, Newberry Festival Orchestra, Charleston Symphony, the Oregon Symphony, and the Karelian Philharmonic Orchestra in Petravodsk, Russia among others.  He has conducted international tours with the Hollywood Concert Orchestra and has served as the conductor for the Columbia Festival Orchestra’s Nutcracker ballet for several years.  Passionate for opera, Mr. Casey served as conductor on several CDs featuring operas by Robert Bradshaw with the Palmetto Camerata on the Beauport Press Label.  Maestro Casey will conduct Spanish Sketches featuring the GAMAC Chamber Orchestra with The Georgia Guitar Quartet on Friday, February 3, 2017 at 7:30pm at First Baptist Church in Anderson.  The Chamber Orchestra will perform Joachim Rodrigo’s Concerto Andaluz for Four Guitars with the quartet along with Rossini’s Barber of Seville Overture, Bizet’s Carmen Suite #1 and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capricio Espagnol. 

            Founded in 1990, the GAMAC Chamber Orchestra is a paid, professional ensemble comprised of instrumentalists from upstate South Carolina and the surrounding area. The ensemble performs four concerts annually as part of GAMAC’s concert schedule both on its own and with the GAMAC Chorale.  While Mr. Nakahara and Mr. Casey will conduct the ensemble with soloists, the 2016-2017 Masterworks series will also include Christmas Cheer and An Opera In Disguise: Verdi’s Requiem featuring the orchestra with the GAMAC Chorale under the direction of Don R. Campbell.  Performances by GAMAC’s civic orchestra, the Anderson Symphony, will be conducted by Andrew Pettus.  The Electric City Big Band will be led by Alan Nowell and Bob Heritage will lead the Children’s Chorus.

            Subscription and individual concert tickets for GAMAC’s 2016-2017 Concert Season are now on sale!  Call (864) 231-6147