‘Listen boldly’ as the conductor is a guest of the Greenwich Symphony Orchestra

GREENWICH – One of the world’s best female conductors will hold the baton as the Greenwich Symphony Orchestra takes the stage for their next concert.

Conductor Mélisse Brunet began her career in France and was appointed this fall as Director of Orchestral Studies at the School of Music at the University of Iowa. She is also the new musical director of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic in Wilkes-Barre.

She will be on the podium at GSO for her third concert of the season – scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on January 8 and 3 p.m. on January 9 – at the Greenwich High School Performing Arts Center.


The concert program includes “Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman” by Joan Tower, “Spanish Symphony” by Lalo and Symphony No. 7 by Dvorák with William Hagen as guest soloist on violin. His website calls the concert “Listen Boldly: Tower, Lalo, Dvořák”.

In an unusual twist, Hagen, an American performer, plays music by a French composer while a French conductor conducts an American orchestra, OSG said.

Brunet is one of five candidates for the post of Music Director of GSO, and the only woman in contention. Each of the five candidates takes turns in conducting during the 2021-22 season.

The Greenwich Retired Men’s Association will also host a talk with Brunet at 11 a.m. on January 5 at the First Presbyterian Church in Greenwich. The conference will also be broadcast live via Zoom; visit greenwichrma.org/ for information.

About Brunet

Pedagogue, linguist and conductor of symphonic music, opera and musical theater, Brunet is a protégé of Pierre Boulez. Brunet is one of the 14 finalists selected from over 200 candidates for the second edition of the La Maestra International Competition in March 2022 in Paris.

She was one of six conductors selected for the Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview 2018, chosen for their “experience, talent, leadership potential and commitment to a career in the service of American orchestras”. In 2017, she was one of six conductors chosen for the Hart Institute for Women Conductors at the Dallas Opera, selected from 161 applicants from 33 countries.

This spring, she will conduct Gilbert and Sullivan’s “HMS Pinafore” at the Coralville Center for Performing Arts in Coralville, Iowa.

Originally from Paris, Brunet began his cello studies, and also learned to play the trumpet, French horn and piano. She holds six degrees from the Paris Conservatory, a license in music from the University of the Sorbonne, a professional studies diploma from the Cleveland Institute of Music and a doctorate in conducting from the ‘University of Michigan.

In addition, she has studied French, English, German and Italian lyric diction, and speaks English, French, Italian, Chinese and German. To find out more about Mélisse Brunet, visit melissebrunet.com.

Other finalists

Brunet is among five finalists to replace David Gilbert, who joined BSG as conductor and music director in 1975 and led the group until his retirement in early 2020.

His departure after more than 45 years sparked a search that involved 176 applicants for the post of music director.

The other four finalists are: David Lockington, Laureate Conductor of the Grand Rapids Symphony in Michigan; Martin Makjut, Music Director of the Rogue Valley Symphony in Oregon; Stuart Malina, Music Director and Conductor of the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra in Pennsylvania; and Ransom Wilson, Music Director of the Redlands Symphony in California.

Each finalist will conduct one of GSO’s five weekend concerts and will also spend time meeting the community and rehearsing with the musicians.

Tickets for next month’s concerts are $ 40 for adults and $ 10 for students. For information, visit greenwichsymphony.org or call 203-869-2664. Members of the orchestra are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and members of the public must provide proof of vaccination.


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