Perry So Appointed Next Music Director of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra

Thursday • July 20, 2023

The New Haven Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Perry So has been appointed as its next Music Director. So will assume the title of Music Director beginning with the 2024-2025 season, succeeding Alasdair Neale, who will end his five-year tenure with the orchestra in May 2024. The announcement was made this morning at a press conference held at the Stetson Branch of the New Haven Free Public Library.

NHSO Board of Directors President Keith B. Churchwell, MD says, “We are truly excited that Maestro So has agreed to join the NHSO as its Music Director beginning with our 2024-25 season. His ties to the New Haven area coupled with his expert musicianship and his great desire to invest in the New Haven community along multiple avenues will continue the work that has matured under Maestro Neale’s leadership over the past four years despite extremely challenging circumstances. We thank Alasdair for his wonderful work and residency with the Symphony and look forward in the coming years to Perry’s tenure with the NHSO!”

 About Perry So

Perry So faces directly into the camera, appearing from the chest up. He has short black hair and is wearing a deep blue button down collared shirt. He is making a welcoming expression.

Perry So is currently Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Navarra (Navarre Symphony Orchestra). He served as Associate Conductor of the Hong Kong Philharmonic, Conducting Fellow of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Artistic Collaborator of the Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias in Spain, and on the conducting faculty of the Manhattan School of Music. As a student at Yale University he founded an orchestra and led the undergraduate opera company. He received his training as a conductor initially under James Sinclair and subsequently with Gustav Meier at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore and received First and Special Prizes at the International Prokofiev Conducting Competition in St Petersburg, Russia.

Maestro So says, “I am deeply honored to be entrusted with the artistic leadership of the New Haven Symphony — the first US professional orchestra I heard when I arrived in this country when I was 18, in the city that my wife and I love and called home for a decade. When I came back this March to work with the orchestra, I encountered an artistically adventurous group of musicians motivated by a profound love for music and dedicated to serving the community. The commitment at every level of the organization to telling a fuller story of our unique American musical heritage than ever before — and doing so in a way that gives voice to those great talents who have been unjustly excluded — gives me great excitement for what we will be able to accomplish together in the years ahead. I look forward to conversations with all of our partners in the weeks and months ahead to learn how we can best serve the New Haven community together. Most of all, I look forward to the many moments of musical joy that we will share in the years to come.”

About the Search

The New Haven Symphony Orchestra’s search process began in 2021 with the formation of a search committee comprising NHSO Board Directors, musicians, and community leaders. After a rigorous screening process of more than 200 applicants from across the globe, the search committee invited four finalists, including So, to rehearse and conduct the orchestra. Throughout the audition process, the search committee received input from the orchestra’s musicians, audience members, community stakeholders, and administrative staff.

“We are thrilled to welcome Perry So as the next Music Director of the NHSO,” says NHSO Concertmaster (Principal Violinist) David Southorn. “With his captivating presence on stage and inspiring performance this past spring, we are excited for the artistic journey that lies ahead under his leadership in New Haven.”

Current Music Director Alasdair will be ending his five-season tenure at a grand finale concert at Woolsey Hall (located downtown at Yale University) on May 2, 2024. Neale’s future plans include relocating to Europe to be closer to family and continuing to serve as Music Director of the seasonal Sun Valley Music Festival in Idaho. Chelsea Tipton, II will continue to serve as the NHSO’s Principal Pops Conductor.

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