The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, after a few months of searching, has just announced its new associate conductor. He is Stefan Sanders, a former trombone player with the orchestra, and a former apprentice conductor.
He will succeed the current associate conductor, Matthew Kraemer, who is departing at the end of this season.
Sanders was the last of the candidates who participated in a recent day of auditions in Kleinhans Music Hall, observed by BPO Music Director JoAnn Falletta. With the orchestra present, he demonstrated his manner of conducting and his speaking style as well. The associate conductor’s job includes presiding over the popular children’s concerts.
The other candidates auditioning that day included Erin Freeman, director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus, and Benjamin Rous, who is Falletta’s assistant in her other job as music director of the Virginia Symphony. Two additional candidates were Lucas Waldin, from Edmonton, Alberta; and Troy Quinn, a New Englander who went to Providence College in Rhode Island.
The candidates drew straws to determine the order in which they would audition, and Sanders drew the final slot. It appeared that by that point people were getting fatigued, but he showed energy and poise as he conducted “Espana,” by the French Romantic composer Emmanuel Chabrier.
As associate conductor, Sanders will be very visible. In addition to conducting kids’ concerts, he also will be on the podium for some of the concerts in the Pops series, will serve as cover conductor for the Classics series concerts, and will lead one concert in the Know the Score series.
Sanders is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and the Juilliard School. He began his career as a trombonist with the BPO in 1999 after winning the position while a student at Juilliard. He was a member of the BPO’s trombone section until 2006. In addition to his BPO affiliation, Sanders has served as a substitute with the New York Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony and Florida Orchestra, and was a guest trombonist in Seattle Opera’s performance of Wagner’s “The Ring of the Nibelungs.”