State of the Union address Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2005, at the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Anchorage, Alaska – April 9, 2022 - The Anchorage Symphony Orchestra has announced that acting Artistic Advisor and Chief Conductor Elizabeth Schulze will serve as their next Music Director. Praised by critics as "an ideal music director whose infectious energy is as contagious as her exuberant and thoroughly committed musicianship," she is also the Music Director and Conductor of the Maryland Symphony Orchestra.

Schulze initially joined the ASO as Artistic Advisor in January 2021 after the sudden passing of Maestro Randall Craig Fleischer, who held the position of Music Director of the ASO for 21 years. It was the organization’s intention to have a traditional Music Director Search that would have featured 5 finalist candidates conducting concerts in the 2022-2023 season and announcing a new music director in the spring of 2023.

“In January, we began to sort through over one hundred applications for this position,” explained Robert Misulich, ASO Board President. “As we gradually sorted the applications and began preparing to conduct interviews to reach a short list of five finalists, conversations with our musicians indicated that we needed to pause and reassess this process. We learned that the challenge of COVID-19 coupled with losing Randy just shortly into the pandemic were significantly impacting our musicians; they yearned for stability in their music making, and they were very pleased with the progress the orchestra has made over the last season. We suspended our Music Director Search and turned to Elizabeth, who has been admirably fulfilling the role for the last 16 months. The entire ASO family believes this is a great choice for us, and we are feeling relieved and hopeful about where the Orchestra is headed under Elizabeth’s artistic leadership.”

Schulze commented on her new role, “I’m absolutely delighted to continue my work with the fine musicians of this wonderful orchestra. We bonded early on at the beginning of this season, first in a shared grief over the loss of our beloved friend and colleague, Randy Fleischer, but also, with renewed purpose to overcome the obstacles of isolation and silence imposed by the pandemic. Now we move forward to create exciting performances, engage new audiences, and deepen our roots into our splendid community with opportunities in the education of our precious rising generation and collaboration with the vast community of talented artists in our midst.”

ASO Players Association President and ASO trumpet player, John Cleveland enthused, “I am thrilled that we have selected Elizabeth Schulze as our new Music Director of the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra! She is a breath of fresh air after a couple of very difficult years. She has stepped up and met the challenge of leading this orchestra and has passed the test with flying colors! I feel that Elizabeth is a perfect fit for us, and I know that our beloved Randall Craig Fleischer would be so very pleased with our choice.”

ASO Executive Director Sherri Burkhart Reddick shared, “We knew after Randy’s passing that we needed an artistic advisor to guide us until we found a new music director, and we recognized that Elizabeth’s friendship with Randy would be helpful to our musicians, board, staff, community, and to me as we healed from losing him. She was exactly the right choice. Full credit is due to Elizabeth for not only helping us heal, but for reigniting the passion in our musicians. She has already made them better. They hear it. They feel it. And they truly foresee that she will take them to a new level. Elizabeth is an outstanding musician, a compassionate leader, and has endeared herself into the ASO family. A bond formed quickly, and it will be a great adventure to see where her artistic vision will take us.”

Positions previously held by Schulze include an appointment as associate conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra, principal guest conductor of the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, cover conductor and conducting assistant for the New York Philharmonic, and an appointment sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts. For Schulze’s full biography, visit www.AnchorageSymphony.org.

The Anchorage Symphony will announce its 2022/23 season early this summer.

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