After 34 years, ProMusica gets a new music director
Photos courtesy Promusica Chamber Orchestra
“Immediately I felt very at ease,” recalls 32-year-old Danzmayr, who has guest-conducted for orchestras all over the world. “It’s the same with any relationship. You like someone or you don’t. The work went easily, flowed naturally, and we understood what each other wanted.”It took only 10 minutes for David
Danzmayr to feel comfortable directing the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra during a guest performance last February. It was a final audition of sorts for the renowned Austrian conductor vying for the music director post open for the first time in the orchestra’s 34-season history.
Moving to Columbus from Austria, Danzmayr starts his gig as music director this month, after a two-year search through hundreds of applicants. Coming from a three-year stint as assistant conductor of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Danzmayr replaces retired co-founder and music director Timothy Russell, who has kept the local orchestra operating in the black the majority of its seasons; he is credited with overcoming a $30,000 shortfall in 2012.
“When I look at the structure, how it fits into Columbus, how well they play, it seems to be a very well-run and healthy organization,” Danzmayr says. “Every arts organization after 2008 had to accept that money is sparse, so it’s a little tougher.”
The key to an orchestra’s survival, he adds, is attracting patrons who become long-term fans—another hallmark of Russell’s tenure.
How does Danzmayr plan to add his touch to the organization? The trained pianist, who won prizes at the International Malko Conducting Competition in Copenhagen in 2005 and 2012, knows that patrons will expect changes from a new director.
“I want to get a feeling of the orchestra, work a good season with them, see what the musicians and staff think,” he explains. “You need to introduce change in a way where as many people as possible are on board.”
Danzmayr isn’t the only new guy in town, either. Violinist Vadim Gluzman also begins as creative partner and principal guest artist, splitting his time between featured soloist and leading the violin section. Danzmayr hopes Gluzman’s role will enhance the orchestra’s possibilities, such as performances featuring smaller groups of musicians.
The new year will be busy for the director, who is married with two young children and will also conduct with the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra. Danzmayr is optimistic about his opportunity with ProMusica, saying: “[Working with] players who play with joy is massively fun.”
See David Danzmayr conduct his first concerts as ProMusica music director this month and next.
5:30 p.m. Jan. 26 and 7 p.m. Jan. 27 at the Southern Theatre
5:30 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Pontifical College Josephinum, and 7 p.m. Feb. 24 at the Southern Theatre