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Sarasota Orchestra announces Jeffrey Kahane’s extended contract and new role

The music director for Sarasota Music Festival extended his festival leadership contract and was named artistic advisor to the Sarasota Orchestra.

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  • | 3:52 p.m. June 11, 2019
Jeffrey Kahane conducts a group of performers during the Sarasota Music Festival. Courtesy photo
Jeffrey Kahane conducts a group of performers during the Sarasota Music Festival. Courtesy photo
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Jeffrey Kahane will be spending more time in Sarasota than usual next season.

Sarasota Orchestra announced in a release June 11 that Los Angeles-based pianist and conductor Jeffrey Kahane signed a three-year contract renewal as music director of the Sarasota Music Festival. The release also stated that Kahane will take on the additional role of artistic advisor for Sarasota Orchestra while the symphony searches for a new music director.

Kahane became festival music director June 1, 2017, the beginning of his first three-year contract. His second three-year contract takes effect Aug. 1 and will continue through 2022. Kahane, the third person to ever hold the position, succeeded festival founder Paul Wolfe and current festival faculty member Robert Levin.

The organization also announced Kahane is scheduled to play alongside the orchestra in its Feb. 6, 2020 concert, “Beethoven’s Eroica.”

"Our board recognizes the artistic growth of the Sarasota Music Festival under Jeffrey Kahane's leadership,” Sarasota Orchestra President and CEO Joseph McKenna said in the release. “During the coming three years, Jeffrey will continue to lead the festival to an even greater level of achievement and success.”

McKenna said it’s typical for orchestras to seek guidance in planning and artistic matters when one is without a music director — and particularly when a formal search process for a new leader is underway.

Kahane is an in-demand guest conductor and pianist who also serves as professor of Keyboard Studies at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music. In May 2017, he completed his 20th and final season as music director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, with which he now serves as conductor laureate.

The release said Kahane is celebrated for his dedication to music education and creative programming. He’s received several American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Awards for Adventurous Programming for his work in both Los Angeles and Denver (he served as the music director of the Colorado Symphony from 2005 to 2010).

"We are pleased to engage Jeffrey for this advising role during the music director search process,” orchestra board Chairman David Steves said in the release. “His knowledge of Sarasota and experience with our organization were key factors in securing his assistance during this transition period.”

Kahane said he is just as pleased.

"I am thrilled to continue my rewarding work with Sarasota Music Festival,” he said in the release. “With my deep affection for the Sarasota community, I am happy to be of assistance during this interim period.”


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