The York Symphony Orchestra will undergo several changes during its 80th year, which kicks off this fall.
The YSO's season will have two distinct offerings: A classical series and a pop series.
Award-winning composer Marvin Hamlisch will serve as conductor in residence for the orchestra's two 2012-13 pop concerts. Hamlisch is one of a few people who have earned Emmys, Grammys, Oscars, a Tony and a Pulitzer Prize. After he performed at the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center last fall, YSO music director Robert Hart Baker asked Strand CEO and YSO Executive Director Ken Wesler if they could bring Hamlisch back to conduct the symphony. Wesler, who is friendly with Hamlisch, made the offer, and Hamlisch accepted.
Baker, who will celebrate his 30th year with YSO next season, will conduct four classical concerts. The season will also include a New Year's Eve Viennese Celebration concert, which Baker said will be incorporated into the city's New Year's Revolution festivities.
After the season, Baker will transition to his new role as music director laureate as the orchestra searches for a new music director.
A new music director is slated to be in place by the 2013-14 season. Baker said he will still be available to conduct the symphony and participate in YSO events as needed in the future. He will continue as the music director of The Saint Louis Philharmonic and the director of The Harrisburg Choral Society. He said he will circulate his resume and pursue other opportunities in the music business.
The changes will occur as the YSO starts to create a new strategic plan this summer. The consulting firm Tweed-Weber, who has worked on strategic plans with the Strand and other York organizations, will help oversee the process.
As arts dollars disappear and entertainment competitors increase, the goal is to make sure the orchestra is viable in the future.
"Our product and how it's selling is a concern," Baker said. "We have to identify a new base of patrons and ticketholders."
Details about the strategic planning process and 2012-13 lineup will be released in the next few months, he added.
For more on Hamlisch, visit www.marvinhamlisch.com. YSO in History