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August 3, 2018

Portland Symphony Orchestra names Eckart Preu as music director

Photo / Portland Symphony Orchestra
Photo / Portland Symphony Orchestra
The Portland Symphony Orchestra has tapped Eckart Preu, who currently conducts the Spokane Symphony in Washington, to serve as music director.

The Portland Symphony Orchestra has tapped Eckart Preu, who currently conducts the Spokane Symphony in Washington, to serve as music director. He will succeed Robert Moody, who left last spring after 10 years in the position to take a similar role at the Memphis Symphony Orchestra.

The PSO said in a news release that Preu (pronounced "proy") will serve as music director designate for the 2018-2019 season, which starts Sept. 30. During that time he will participate in PSO planning and community events, and will conduct classical-music performances at Portland's Merrill Auditorium on Jan. 27 and Jan. 29.

In the 2019-2020 season, he will begin a three-year term as music director, conducting a wide variety of performances, the orchestra said.

The selection comes after a three-year search that drew over 240 applicants from around the world.

A search committee of PSO musicians, staff, trustees and community members selected four finalists, three of whom programmed and conducted performances with the orchestra during the 2017-2018 season.

Preu received praise for his infectious passion for music, talent on the podium, collaborative work style, and commitment to the community, according to the PSO.

In addition to wielding the baton for 15 years with the Spokane Symphony, Preu is music director of the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra in California and music director of the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra.

Previously, he served as music director of the Stamford Symphony, associate conductor of the Richmond Symphony, and resident conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra and the American Russian Young Artists Orchestra. In Europe, he served as music director of the Orchestre International de Paris.

A native of Germany, Preu came to the U.S. after winning a graduate scholarship in the 1996 National Conducting Competition of the German Academic Exchange Service. He currently resides in Washington with his wife and two daughters.

"I am excited to start planning for the future and reaching out to other artistic and non-artistic organizations across the community," Preu said in the release. "But first and foremost, I am looking forward to making music with the musicians of this excellent ensemble and to sharing it with the people of Portland."

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