The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra announced today that Thomas Zehetmair will be its latest artistic partner. The orchestra has four artistic partners instead of a music director.
Zehetmair is an internationally acclaimed violinist, who is recognized for his work as a soloist, a chamber musician and as a conductor.
Speaking from northern England, the Berlin-based musician said he is excited about working with the SPCO.
"It's great to work with good musicians on a regular basis," Zehetmair said. "I think the orchestra is a wonderful orchestra. They really are very refined and very delicate, and have a wide range of possibilities."
Zehetmair plays regularly with many of the major orchestras in Europe and the U.S. He has also championed contemporary music.
SPCO President Sarah Lutman said Zehetmair's breadth of experience will be clear in his concerts.
"What audiences can expect are for Zehetmair's programs to draw interesting parallels between music that's old and new, and programming that includes both," Lutman said.
Zehetmair said he believes listening to older pieces, together with more recent work, can enhance the experience of both.
"I think one can, as a musician and as a member of the audience, one can learn and just listen in a very refined way," Zehetmair said. "After listening to a contemporary piece, one will listen with other ears to a classical piece, and vice versa."
The SPCO's artistic partners work with a committee of musicians to choose the repertoire.
Usually SPCO artistic partners visit St. Paul three times a year for a week, but Lutman said Zehetmair will be different. Despite regularly traveling around Europe, he rarely comes to the U.S.
"His plan is to stay three weeks, and really get to know us and the community while he is here," Lutman said.
Zehetmair's tenure with the SPCO begins in the 2010-2011 season, although he will perform and conduct a program with the orchestra in April 2010.