I've got good news and I've got bad news. The bad news is that Shizuo Z Kuwahara, the wildly talented and charismatic music director for Symphony Orchestra Augusta is one of five finalists for the conductor's gig in Colorado Springs, Colo.
The good news is that he's a finalist for the conductor's gig in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Allow me to explain.
While it's true that Z is on the market, there are no plans to vacate his post at SOA. In fact, he's still less than one year into a three year contract here in Augusta. The worst case scenario would see Augusta enjoying two more seasons with the maestro before he heads for the hills, or the mountains as the case may be. His last season here would see him splitting time between Augusta and the Springs.
The best scenario would see Z picking up Colorado Springs as an additional orchestra, a compliment to the work he does here. It is not at all uncommon. There are more than a few conductors that lead multiple orchestras. What makes Z in Colorado exciting in Augusta is that it demonstrates that Symphony Orchestra Augusta has a relatively young conductor who, thorough hard work and talent, has made himself a desirable commodity. It's pretty impressive. Although Colorado Springs isn't a city the size of neighboring Denver, orchestrally speaking, it's a pretty sweet gig. It's a good ensemble with a nice hall.
Just as SOA did, the Colorado Springs Philharmonic is asking each finalist (five in this case) to conduct a program next season. Kuwahara is slated to bring the Brahms (and Mendelssohn and Schwanter) on Nov. 13-14. I hope he does well and then chooses to stay here for a while.