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Symphony NH to announce new music director

Telegraph photo by GRACE PECCI The Nashua Country Club will serve as host to Symphony NH’s annual Maestro Dinner at 6 p.m. May 13. During the evening, the new music director will be named, along with the official 2019-2020 season program, during an evening of celebration accompanied with food and drinks.

NASHUA – The 18-month search for the next music director of the state’s oldest professional orchestra, Symphony NH, will end during the annual Maestro Dinner, set for 6 p.m. May 13 at Nashua Country Club.

Each year, Symphony NH conducts the dinner to announce the new season’s concert dates, guest artists and programs.

The organization has selected nine finalists, each of whom has been invited to conduct the orchestra for at least one concert before May.

The nine finalists are:

• Lidiya Yankovskaya, who conducted Copland & Barber on Nov. 11, 2017,

• Eric Garcia, who conducted Mozart & Bach on March 16 and 17, 2018,

• Sameer Patel, who conducted Beethoven 9 on April 7, 2018,

• Scott Parkman, who conducted Mark and Maggie O’Connor with Symphony NH on Sept. 29 and 30,

• Thomas Heuser, who conducted The Music of John Williams on Oct. 27 and 28,

• Enrico Lopez-Yanez, who conducted Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony on Nov. 3,

• Roger Kalia, who conducted Mozart and Beethoven on Jan. 26,

• Stefano Sarzani, who conducted Mozart 40 & Elgar Concerto on March 9 and 10, and

• Yuga Cohler, who conducted Barber’s Adagio & Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony on April 6.

The candidates have all performed worldwide.

“After two years of searching, it’s exciting to announce who the new music director will be,” Symphony NH Executive Director Marc Thayer said. “There are lots of great artists coming next year. This will be a nice event.”

“We hope that a lot of people will come and share the big excitement,” Thayer added.

Tickets are still available, and cost $75 for general admission. They can be purchased at https://symphonynh.secure.force.com/ticket/#sections_a0F0a00000M5wlaEAB

Attendees will be able to choose from Classic Chicken Florentine or New England-Style Baked Haddock.

Nashua Country Club’s Executive Chef Joe Allison will be overseeing the event. Similar to conducting an orchestra, Allison will be performing in the kitchen. And as with an orchestra, the performance cannot run smoothly without proper timing.

Timing, Allison said, is one of the most important things.

“Just like when (a conductor) is doing his (cues), if he does one too slow, then the whole beat is going to be off,” Allison said. “If we don’t fire something on time, if it takes 45 minutes to cook and we need it in that 45 minutes and we put it in with only 35 minutes left, it’s the same thing. We’re going to be behind a beat.”

“It’s not an easy job to be able to time everything perfectly and make sure everything is out, hot, when you need it,” he added.

It requires a team, Allison said.

“A lot of the members here think I’m the only one in the kitchen, but it’s impossible,” Allison said. “I wouldn’t be able to do all that stuff by myself. It’s the team, the team you put in place. As long as you have a good team, it makes life a lot easier.”

On top of this, he also has the help of Nashua Country Club Banquet Chef Dan Zagarella, who he calls his right-hand man. The partnership between the two goes way back.

Allison met Zagarella when he was attending Southern New Hampshire University for the culinary art and hospitality administration program. He and Zagarella have been working together since 2002. They went to school together and worked in restaurants together.

“We always meet back somewhere,” Allison said. “That’s the good thing about this business. You form bonds with people.”

Allison said working at the Nashua Country Club is similar to working with family.

“We all get along very well and we can all relate to each other. It’s a fun environment.”

To Allison, what makes the venue special is the dedication among employees.

“There’s a passion here. The guys that work in the kitchen, it’s their careers, it’s their life, they put everything into it,” Allison said. “And this place has a reputation. You’ve got to uphold that.”