James Lowe is the Spokane Symphony Orchestra’s new music director.
Jeff vom Saal made the announcement Tuesday morning at the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox.
“I’m so excited to roll up my sleeves and get working,” Lowe said, praising the orchestra, the Fox theater and the community support he saw in Spokane.
Lowe, who grew up in Nottingham, England, is chief conductor of the Vaasa City Orchestra in Finland. He was one of five conductors featured in “Conduct! Every Move Counts,” a documentary centered around the Sir Georg Solti Conducting Competition, which was shown at the Spokane International Film Festival in 2017.
Lowe is also principal conductor of the Edinburgh Contemporary Music Ensemble and has worked with orchestras throughout Europe. Educated at the University of Edinburgh, Lowe continued his development as Benjamin Zander Conducting Fellow with the Boston Philharmonic and with Jorma Panula, Neeme Järvi, Bernard Haitink and Valery Gergiev.
Lowe’s audition with the symphony was in February. The concert featured works by Franz Liszt and Johannes Brahms, as well as a new piece, “Rise,” by Zhou Tian, which was commissioned in part by the Spokane Symphony.
In a review of the concert for The Spokesman-Review, Larry Lapidus wrote “Lowe’s achievement in this interpretation (of the Brahms E minor Symphony) is hard to overestimate, for, while other conductors may make more of the symphony’s propulsive energy, or look more deeply into its tragic shadows, none in my experience maintains the astounding equilibrium among all its aspects that we heard on Saturday night.”
Lowe was picked from five finalists, each of whom spent a week with the orchestra over the past year. The other finalists were Spokane Symphony resident conductor Morihiko Nakahara, Rei Hotoda, Arthur Arnold and Jayce Ogren. His appointment is the end of a two-year process to replace Eckart Preu, who ended his 15 years with the symphony in May.
This story will be updated.