Anu Tali renews his contract as Music Director of the Sarasota Orchestra

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Anu Tali said she loved her job as the Musical Director of the Sarasota Orchestra and was excited to work with them in the future. KAUPO KIKKAS PHOTO

After three years as musical director of the Sarasota Orchestra, Anu Tali has developed a relationship with what she calls the “group leaders” of her orchestra. She has plans. She has goals. She has dreams – and now she has more time to fulfill them.

On Monday, the orchestra announced that Tali had signed a three-year contract renewal to continue her role as musical director.

“One of the things Anu has brought to Sarasota is tremendous energy and excitement for the orchestra, and our audience is truly thrilled with the experience he’s having,” said Joseph McKenna, President and Chief Executive Officer. conducting the orchestra. “We are delighted that she is continuing her wonderful musical creation with our wonderful musicians.”

Tali, 44, is a critically acclaimed guest conductor in demand around the world. In addition to her role in Sarasota, Tali is a conductor of the Nordic Symphony Orchestra, which she founded with her twin sister, Kadri Tali, in 1997.

In addition to her duties in Sarasota, Anu Tali is conductor of the Nordic Symphony Orchestra, which she founded with her twin sister Kadri Tali in 1997. KAUPO KIKKAS PHOTO

In addition to her duties in Sarasota, Anu Tali is conductor of the Nordic Symphony Orchestra, which she founded with her twin sister Kadri Tali in 1997. KAUPO KIKKAS PHOTO

Tali said she has seen tremendous change and growth within the orchestra since becoming the organization’s fifth musical director in August 2013, succeeding Leif Bjaland. She is determined to capitalize on these changes over the next few years.

“Musicality has grown a lot,” she said. “Now we are taking a lot more risks. The sound, sound quality, range, phrasing, and musical thought are suddenly much more daring.

McKenna attributes a lot to Tali’s own skills.

“She’s very focused, energetic and really enthusiastic about excellence,” he said. “I also describe her as an ‘organic music maker’ – she’s really interested in pulling the more organic qualities out of music and making it touch audiences in the deepest way.”

Orchestra board chair Anne Folsom Smith said orchestral attendance has increased in recent years.

“It affected all areas, even the programs that she is not affiliated with or directing,” Smith said. “These numbers are also on the rise. You have to attribute it to the fact that we are doing something right in a place. The vitality is there, and people seem to eat it.

Sarasota Orchestra President and CEO Joe McKenna, left, Board Chair Anne Folsom Smith and concertmaster Daniel Jordan at the orchestra's Mozart Gala Dinner in January 2015. Photo by Wendy Dewhurst Clark

Sarasota Orchestra President and CEO Joe McKenna, left, Board Chair Anne Folsom Smith and concertmaster Daniel Jordan at the orchestra’s Mozart Gala Dinner in January 2015. Photo by Wendy Dewhurst Clark

Tali and the administrative team also share a long-term goal for the orchestra: their own concert hall. The orchestra now performs regularly at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota and at the Neel Performing Arts Center on the Bradenton campus of the State College of Florida.

“I want to welcome an orchestra that fills an entire room with a vibrant, exclusive and exquisite conceptual musical season,” said Tali. “What we have now is not built for a symphony hall. My dream is to take the orchestra on tour to get a feel for what we are capable of. Where we are going.

For Tali, originally from Estonia, Sarasota has become a second home. She braves 24-hour flights as often as she can and spends enough time here to avoid “feeling like a tourist”, often taking her one-year-old son with her.

She said she loved the food here and enjoyed swimming and running across the Ringling Bridge to Lido Key. But above all, she loves people.

“They are all so open-minded, happy, very honest,” she said. “It takes time to learn about the chemistry and personal abilities of people. Now I know their hopes and needs and how they form groups. I think we have changed. The orchestra has definitely changed me.

Tali’s first performance under her new contract will take place November 4-6, with Masterworks’ opening concert titled “The Rite Music”. The program includes solo violin Daniel Jordan’s performance of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto.

“The staff, our board of directors and our musicians took very good care of me so that I could deliver what I was asked to come and do,” she said. “Why is Sarasota so special to me?” Because I see that I am loved there, and I love them back.


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