NEWTON – The Newton Mid-Kansas Symphony Orchestra announced Thomas W. Douglas of Pittsburgh is its new music director. Douglas, who led the orchestra’s Fall Classics Concert in October, returns next season to conduct both Classics Concerts. Douglas succeeds former NMKSO music directors Diego Sanchez Haase, 2004-08, and Daniel Hege, 1993-2004. Douglas also is the cumusic director of Music Theatre of Wichita, leading the pit orchestra during the summer season. He has a bachelor of science in music education and M.M. in vocal performance and is associate professor of voice at Carnegie Mellon University and Artistic Director of the Bach Choir in Pittsburgh. His guest conducting engagements include the Pittsburgh Philharmonic, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the first Swiss company of Webber’s “Phantom of the Opera” in Switzerland and “Ain’t Misbehavin” in Malaysia. Douglas has enjoyed the stage roles of Amonasro in Elton John’s “Aida” and Caiaphas in “Jesus Christ Superstar,” among others. He has been a vocal soloist with the Pittsburgh Opera, Pittsburgh Symphony and the Canton Symphony, and performs frequently with jazz legend Joe Negri in his Mass of Hope. Last season, he conducted Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess,” the Pittsburgh premiere of the 1928 classic silent film “The Passion of Joan of Arc” with live orchestra and chorus, and the U.S. premiere of David Chesky’s The Agnostic. The orchestra’s 55th Anniversary Season kicks off with a special Summer Music Concert – “Tribute to Gary” – a collection of music by orchestra co-founder Gary Fletcher. The concert, held in conjunction with the Kansas Sesquicentennial, is at 7 p.m. June 5 in the Trinity Heights United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall. Tickets are $15/$12.50 advance and will be available at Ten Thousand Villages about three weeks prior to the concert. Plans for the 2011-2012 NMKSO Season are under way and will be announced at a later date.
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