CSO's resident conductor Scott Terrell leaves for Kentucky

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3f94/1240077666-351-090418philfds037.embedded.prod_affiliate.79.jpgThe opportunity couldn't have come at a better time. And it's a great opportunity at any time.

Scott Terrell, resident conductor of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra since 2005, will be the next music director of the Lexington Philharmonic in Kentucky. Terrell, 38, auditioned for the position in October, beating 278 candidates who were vetted over a two-year audition period. Terrell succeeds George Zack, who's retiring after a 37-year career with Lexington. His appointment is effective in June, but the final year of his Charleston contract won't be complete until the end of next season, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Terrell's departure comes just as the CSO has found some semblance of stability after a rocky season of financial ups and downs. He and other administrative staff took pay cuts this year and braced for cuts next season as well, along with the rest of the orchestra corps of musicians (the cuts came mostly from shortening the season by two months).

Terrell was instrumental in creating the Backstage Pass series and the former Out of the Box series (the latter of which was canceled earlier this season due to budget constraints). Both series were appreciated for their innovation and risk-taking, both qualities that are generally lacking among American orchestras. Of particular note was Terrell's vision of the CSO's Pops series, which he elevated beyond Fielder hits and movie soundtracks, bringing in elements of theater, magic and pop music by local luminaries like Jay Clifford.

No word on his successor, but given the orchestra's money woes, it wouldn't be surprising if the CSO did without a resident conductor for a while and hired guest maestros or simply just leaned more heavily on long-time music director David Stahl.

(Photo courtesy of the Lexington Herald-Leader)

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