A select few of the accomplished men who are often featured in The Agenda News
James Ross - Music Director
Alexandria Symphony Orchestra
Alexandria Symphony Orchestra’s (ASO) Board of Trustees announced in May, 2018 that James Ross will be the ASO’s Music Director. Maestro Ross’s selection follows an extensive two-year search, which included a pool of 170 applicants from around the world. James Ross is Orchestra Director of the National Youth Orchestra – USA at Carnegie Hall and is on the conducting faculty at the Juilliard School. He served as Professor and Director of Orchestral Activities at the University of Maryland at College Park for a distinguished 16-year tenure. Ross studied conducting with Kurt Masur, Seiji Ozawa and Leonard Bernstein.He will conduct the ASO’s 2018-2019 season, which will begin in September.The new season will commemorate the organization’s 75th Anniversary. Ross will make special appearances throughout the year with the orchestra and in tandem with other community events.
Virginia Bronze named Brian Seemann as their new music director in May, 2018. Seemann began ringing in grade school with a youth handbell choir in New Jersey. He studied composition at The Boston Conservatory and majored in urban planning at Temple University. Seemann now lives in D.C., where he is the Production Coordinator for Design Foundry, an event design and scenic company. He has led several church handbell choirs, and from 2013 to 2017 was the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Philadelphia Handbell Ensemble. He is in his second year as Music Director for the New England Ringers. In his time away from handbells, Brian is heavily involved in other aspects of the performing arts.
Greg Prickman-Eric Weinmann Librarian/Director of Collections Folger Shakespeare Library
Greg Prickman, head of Special Collections at the University of Iowa Libraries, was named Eric Weinmann Librarian and Director of Collections at the Folger Shakespeare Library in April 2018. In 2016, Prickman planned and led the exhibition of a Folger First Folio at the University of Iowa as part of the Folger's nationwide tour, The First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare. Before his work at Iowa Libraries, Prickman worked at public, academic, and corporate libraries, including the Ebling Library at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Special Collections and Preservation Division of the Chicago Public Library. He has written many articles and book reviews and is a long-standing member of the Caxton Club of Chicago. Prickman was a 1994 graduate of Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he majored in History and Studio Art with a printmaking focus. His MLS, with a specialization in Rare Books and Manuscripts, is from Indiana University. Folger Director Michael Witmore commented that “Greg Prickman’s deep experience with special collections and ability to lead a talented staff will be a great asset to the Folger for years to come.”
Image below: Photo of Greg Prickman by Jennifer Masada.
Eliot Pfanstiehl - Founder and CEO of Strathmore
Eliot Pfanstiehl, the founder and CEO of Strathmore, will retire as head of the organization in August,2018 after 37 years of service.“He has been Strathmore’s only leader and has shepherd the organization through tremendous growth—including construction of the 1,976-seat Music Center at Strathmore, the off-site venue AMP, and most recently, an announced renovation of the Music Center. He has shaped Montgomery County as an arts destination in greater Washington. The impact of his work is tremendous.”
Image below: Eliot Pfanstiehl - Photo by Kirsten Beckerman
Marcus Stenz - Principal Guest Conductor The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) announced in April, 2018 the extension of Principal Guest Conductor Markus Stenz’s contract through the 2018-19 season. Stenz also serves as Principal Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor-in-residence of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. Stenz trained at the School of Music in Cologne under Volker Wangenheim and at Tanglewood with Leonard Bernstein and Seiji Ozawa. He served as Gurzenich-Kapellmeister and general music director of the City of Cologne, and principal guest conductor of the Halle. His previous positions have included artistic director and chief conductor of the Melbourne Symphony, music director of the Montepulciano Festival and principal conductor of the London Sinfonietta. He has an extensive discography and his Schoenberg recordings with the Gürzenich-Orchestra Cologne earned the 2016 Gramophone Classics Music Award for Best Choral Album. Recent engagements have taken Stenz all over the world, from São Paulo to Shanghai. Image below: Maestro Markus Stenz
COL Christopher P. Costa - Executive Director The International Spy Museum
COL Christopher P. Costa (US Army, ret.), who is the new Executive Director of The International Spy Museum, was most recently the Special Assistant for the President & Senior Director for Counterterrorism at the White House National Security Council. Previously, Director Costa's career included 25 years of active duty in hot spots such as Panama, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq.He’s the recipient of two Bronze Stars for intelligence work in Afghanistan and has been inducted into the Commando Hall of Honor for the US Special Operations Command. Director Costa's career has included human intelligence, special operations, counterintelligence, and unconventional warfare.
Augustus (Gus) Casely-Hayford - Director The National Museum of African Art
Augustus (Gus) Casely-Hayford, Ph.D. is the Director of The National Museum of African Art (NMAA). The acclaimed curator and cultural historian is known for his impressive combination of knowledge, experience, communication skills and passion to the Museum. Born in London, he was educated at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, where he received his doctorate in African history. Casely-Hayford succeeds Johnnetta Betsch Cole, who served as director of the NMAA from March 2009 through March 2017.
Image below: Gus Casely-Hayford, Ph.D. - Photograph by Jaimie Gramston
Photo by Jaimie Gramston
Steven Fox - Music Director Cathedral Choral Society
The Cathedral Choral Society (CCS) has announced the four-year appointment of Steven Fox as Music Director. He will succeed Dr. J. Reilly Lewis, who led the chorus from 1985 until 2016. As Music Director, Fox will be charged with the continued development of the Society as one of the nation’s finest symphonic choruses. He is the Artistic Director of The Clarion Orchestra and The Clarion Choir, and Founder of Musica Antiqua St. Petersburg, which he established as Russia’s first period-instrument orchestra. A 2017 GRAMMY® nominee, he has appeared as a guest conductor with many renowned ensembles. Fox was named an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music, London, in 2010 “for significant contributions to his field in music.”
Principal Conductor Adam Turner has been named Virginia Opera’s new Artistic Director.Maestro Turner is one of America’s most acclaimed young conductors, having come to Virginia Opera in 2010 as Resident Conductor and Chorus Master. For the last four seasons as Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor, he has helmed the company’s performances of varied repertory. He is a graduate of Morehead State University (Bachelor of Music in piano performance) and the Catholic University of America (Master of Music in conducting). He has worked as an assistant conductor with Seattle Opera, Central City Opera, and Florida Grand Opera, among other companies. In announcing the new appointment, Virginia Opera President and CEO, Russell P. Allen, stated “Virginia Opera is excited about the work that Maestro Turner has done for the company. His artistic work is extraordinary and his involvement to date in shaping the artistic growth of the company has been significant. As Maestro Turner begins his 9th season with the company, the promotion to Artistic Director could not be more timely and important for the company.”
Image below: Maestro Adam Turner
Christopher K. Morgan - Executive Artistic Director of Dance Place
Christopher K. Morgan is Executive Artistic Director of Dance Place in D.C.Dance Place is an esteemed performing arts and education center in Brookland. Morgan is also the artistic and executive director of the contemporary dance company Christopher K. Morgan & Artists,which is in permanent residence at Dance Place. Morgan has Native Hawaiian ancestry and a diverse, international modern dance career that moved him from where he grew up in California to Munich, New York, London & Dublin. He is an administrator, choreographer, educator, facilitator, curator and performer. His choreography has been presented in 18 countries on 5 continents and has addressed issues including sexuality, gender identity, race, climate change, immigration and water conservation. Past academic posts include faculty positions at the University of Maryland and American University in D.C.