David Itkin, whose worldwide conducting activities have included performances with many eminent professional orchestras, made his debut last month as director of orchestras at UNT's renowned College of Music.
Itkin replaced Anshel Brusilow, who retired after a career spanning 35 years at UNT. As director of orchestras, Itkin oversees the orchestral studies program, conducts the UNT orchestras, teaches graduate conducting and continues developing internationally prominent master's and doctoral programs in orchestra conducting.
Itkin is in his second season as the music director and conductor of the Las Vegas Philharmonic, third season as conductor of the Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra and 15th year as conductor of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. He visited UNT for teaching and conducting activities earlier this year and served as guest conductor of the UNT Symphony Orchestra on March 12.
"David Itkin impressed the search committee from the outset with the high artistic and technical quality of video-recorded performances he submitted as part of his application," said James Scott, dean of the UNT College of Music, at the time of Itkin's appointment. "His long experience with professional orchestras, often with the world's leading artists as soloists, brings an understanding to our students of the external expectations they will face upon graduating. His rehearsal technique is outstanding, and the concert under his direction here revealed how much he can accomplish within a very short period of rehearsals."
In the course of his career, Itkin has visited 44 U.S. states and 15 countries, including concerts and recordings with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and the Slovenska Filharmonija at Cancarjev Dom in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and guest conducting appearances with the Seoul Philharmonic, the San Diego Symphony, the Colorado Philharmonic, and the Indianapolis, Baltimore and Reno chamber orchestras. In 2006, he returned to the Slovenska Filharmonija to conduct the opening concert of the 14th World Saxophone Congress.
"This position at the UNT College of Music presents very exciting new challenges, both personal and professional," Itkin said when he was named to the position. "I am looking forward to continuing and expanding the tradition of excellence of the UNT orchestras and bringing new perspectives and ideas to the graduate conducting program."
Itkin is also a composer of note. His first film score, Sugar Creek, was recorded in 2006 by the Arkansas Symphony for the film's 2007 release. His most recent major work, Exodus, an oratorio, was premiered in April 2005 in Little Rock with William Shatner narrating. Exodus was released on CD in January 2008.
Itkin served as music director and principal conductor of the Lake Forest Symphony Orchestra in Chicago from 1997 to 2000, music director and conductor of the Kingsport Symphony in Tennessee from 1992 to 1995, music director of the Birmingham Opera Theatre from 1992 to 1995 and music director for the Lucius Woods Festival Concerts in Solon Springs, Wis., from 1993 to 2000. He served as associate conductor of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra from 1988 to 1993 and was named Honorary Lt. Governor of the State of Alabama for outstanding service to the arts.
UNT has one of the largest and most comprehensive music schools in the nation. The orchestral studies program includes the UNT Symphony Orchestra, established in 1938; the UNT Chamber Orchestra, organized in 1973; and the UNT Repertoire Orchestra. In March 1991, the UNT orchestra performed at the Mozart Bicentennial at Lincoln Center. A year later, the UNT Symphony Orchestra toured Spain and the Mediterranean (Balearic Islands and the island of Ibiza), including a featured performance on U.S. National Day at Expo '92 in Seville. In October of that year, the UNT Symphony Orchestra performed Verdi's Requiem in Monterrey, Mexico, as part of the Festival Internacional Alfonso Reyes.
Ellen Rossetti with UNT News Service
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