Following a national search, The Orchestra of Northern New York’s Music Director Search Committee has selected three finalists for the position that became vacant when founding Music Director and Conductor Kenneth Andrews announced last year his retirement after 35 years, effective this July 1.
Timothy L. Savage, Search Committee Chair and ONNY’s immediate past president of the Board of Directors, says, “The search has been conducted with careful deliberation at every step in the process. We were fortunate to have a deep pool of well-qualified candidates for the position. And I am delighted to announce the three finalists who will guest conduct in the 2023-2024 season. They are Michael Colburn of St. Albans, VT, Dr. Adrian Slywotzky of Potsdam, and Dr. Rachel Waddell of Rochester.”
Michael J. Colburn
Michael J. Colburn has a master’s in music degree from George Mason University, with a concentration in Conducting. His undergraduate career began with two years at the Crane School of Music and finished at Arizona State University. Currently, he is the Music Director and Conductor of the Me2 Orchestra in Burlington, VT.
Mr. Colburn is the former Director of “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band, where he spent nine years as a performer and eighteen years as conductor. As leader of its Chamber Orchestra, he conducted musicians primarily in performances at the White House, but also in public venues where the repertoire spanned from the Baroque to the modern era. For the past eight years, he was the Director of Bands at Butler University in Indianapolis.
Among his many accomplishments, for eighteen years Mr. Colburn directed the Marine Chamber Orchestra in State Dinners at the White House, in annual White House performances for Kennedy Center Honors receptions, and for two Kennedy Center concerts commemorating September 11. He also conducted the Marine Band for President Obama’s two inaugurations and President George W. Bush’s second inauguration.
Mr. Colburn will program and conduct the fall concert slated for October 28 and 29 in Potsdam and Watertown, respectively.
Adrian Slywotzky, DMA, earned his doctorate in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Michigan. He possesses two master’s degrees in Orchestral Conducting and Violin Performance from the Yale School of Music. Currently, he is the Director of Orchestras at the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam.
Passionate about welcoming new audiences into the orchestral world, Dr. Slywotzky won Second Prize for the Audite International Conducting Competition in Poland and for the Atlantic Coast International Conducting Competition in Portugal. He was also a semi-finalist for the Mendelssohn Conducting Competition in Greece.
Prior to coming to Potsdam, he was the Associate Director of Orchestras at the University of Michigan for three years. He has worked with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra, Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, Cornell Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras, and the New Haven Chamber Orchestra, among others. He also was a Teaching Fellow with the Harvard Radcliffe Orchestra.
Dr. Slywotzky will program and conduct the winter concert scheduled for January 27 and 28, 2024 in Potsdam and Watertown, respectively.
Rachel L. Waddell
Rachel L. Waddell, DMA, earned her doctorate in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and her master’s in Orchestral Conducting from Northern Arizona University. Currently, she is the Director of Orchestral Activities in the Arthur Satz Department of Music at the University of Rochester, and the Music Director for the University of Rochester Orchestras.
Committed to 21st century orchestras through innovation, artistic excellence, and organizational diversity and growth, Dr. Waddell won secon place (2019) and third place (2020) in the national competition for the Vyautas Marijosius Memorial Award in Orchestral Programming through the American Prize. With over ten years of professional activity, she has guest conducted the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Las Vegas Philharmonic, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra and Flagstaff Light Opera Company, among others. For five years, she was the Music Director for Canton (OH) Youth Symphonies and Assistant then Associate Conductor for the Canton Symphony Orchestra.
Dr. Waddell will program and conduct the spring concert set for April 27 and 28 in Potsdam and Watertown, respectively.
Musicians and audience members will have the opportunity to provide feedback to the Music Director Search Committee about each candidate before it makes its final selection in May 2024. Receptions will be held for ONNY supporters and musicians to informally meet the candidates when they are in town to conduct their concert.
The remaining three ONNY concerts in the 2023-2024 season will also be guest conducted by individuals yet to be named.