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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Departing Spokane Symphony conductor Eckart Preu leaves an exceptional legacy

Had this weekend’s concerts by the Spokane Symphony been planned as an audition by Eckart Preu for the position of principal conductor and music director of the orchestra, they could not have been more successful. We had already heard five outstanding candidates earlier in the season: Morihiko Nakahara, James Lowe, Rei Hotoda, Arthur Arnold and Jayce Ogren. Every one of them exhibited extraordinary qualities that alerted us to the possibilities for new growth that are ahead for Spokane and its orchestra, and so might the concerts led this weekend by Preu, were it not for one big difference: The fact that these concerts were the last to be led by Preu as principal conductor of the Spokane Symphony, a position he has held for 15 years.

KSPS-TV profile of Eckart Preu

KSPS-TV, Spokane's public television station, produced this video profile of the Spokane Symphony's longtime conductor in 2018.

Ogren inspires as final candidate for Spokane Symphony music director

The fifth shoe dropped on Saturday night, when Jayce Ogren, the last of five candidates we were to hear for the position of music director of the Spokane Symphony, led the orchestra in its penultimate classics concert of the 2018-19 season. Even before walking onstage, Ogren had distinguished himself in the customary interview with Verne Wyndham’s “From the Studio” radio program, on which Istvan Vardai, cello soloist in this weekend’s program, also appeared. Those who heard the interview (and if you missed it, it can still be found at spokanepublicradio.org) were treated to a discussion of music as informative, as interesting and as inspiring as one could possibly hope for.