by John Stoehr
You know by now that this is Charles Wadsworth's last year at the Spoleto Festival. He turned 80 this month. He's not touring South Carolina and Georgia anymore. And anyone who's seen him on stage lately can see with their own eyes that time is catching up to him, as it does to us all at some point. The festival is rightfully celebrating his wonderful contributions to Spoleto and to building a large base of chamber music listeners, but attention is naturally turning to who will take his place, who could possibly fill his shoes.
The main concern for Spoleto organizers must be that expectations may be too high, or worse, unfair, for his successor. And that successor looks more and more like it will be Geoff Nuttall, leader of the St. Lawrence String Quartet who was named associate director of the chamber music series in 2008. Further evidence that Nuttall is the heir apparent came yesterday morning when Wadsworth casually called Nuttall "the most important associate director in the world."
He meant it as a joke, but observers watching closely are reading that as a sign of things to come. What we do know is that an announcement is coming, according to officials inside the festival. In fact, an announcement about the future of the chamber series (i.e., the new director) was set for this past weekend, but Spoleto doesn't want to draw attention away from Wadsworth and will wait until he feels the timing is right.
"We're going to play it by ear," an insider said. "Charles is having a grand time right now." -JS