Tuning Up: Key Changes at Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra

If interviewing for a job in a packed auditorium sounds like a nightmare, be glad you’re not auditioning to be the new maestro of the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra. This season, three candidates for the position of music director will lead performances, giving ICO patrons a glimpse of the hiring process—but not, alas, an American Idol–style vote.
The finalists are Kelly Corcoran, who conducts the Nashville Symphony in Tennessee; Matthew Kraemer, who conducts two orchestras in Pennsylvania; and Mischa Santora, who conducts the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra.
The successful candidate will replace Kirk Trevor, who has been with the ICO since 1988, just four years after it was founded. The three audition performances, as well as Trevor’s farewell concert, are included in this season’s special “Maestro Pack” ticket ($100).
“The musicians will have a key part in the evaluation, because they’ll be making an artistic evaluation as these candidates prepare repertoire and conduct the orchestra,” says executive director Elaine Eckhart.
The ICO has a roster of 34 musicians, less than half the number at the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. But that doesn’t mean the ICO performs scaled-back versions of the same old symphonies—chamber orchestras have their own vast repertoire of music written for smaller groups.
“The sound is different. It’s a little more crystalline, more transparent,” says Eckhart. “You have to be on your game, because if you’re a wind or brass player, you’re probably the only one on that part.”
The ICO will showcase that distinctive sound on its forthcoming CD, which is due out in the spring. Says Eckhart, “This is all part of the ICO moving forward.”
The Ticket 2014 coverThis article appeared in The Ticket, a 2014 special publication.