After a season of searching, the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra has its next conductor.
Christopher Zimmerman, currently the music director for the Fairfax Symphony in Virginia, signed a three-year contract with FMSO last week. He’s also conducted the Prague Symphony, Seoul Philharmonic, Slovak Philharmonic, Mexico City Philharmonic and the Hartford Symphony. Here, he’ll conduct the Symphony’s five annual Masterworks concerts and plan programming and repertoire along with various activities throughout the community.
The programming for this next season, starting in September, has been set, Zimmerman said. There are a few things yet to be done in order to be ready, like soloists needing to be auditioned and other positions that need filling.
Zimmerman said this season will have an English-American thread, which seemed appropriate enough, as Zimmerman himself was born in Britain.
“[The upcoming FMSO season is] quite a wide, diverse repertoire across the spectrum of symphonic music and some tried and tested pieces like Beethoven and Mozart and some more, slightly less familiar stuff,” Zimmerman said.
Asked his immediate views on Fargo-Moorhead, Zimmerman said people have been very nice and he found the downtown area to be of particular interest.
“I know it’s very small but it’s been nicely renovated in a way which I think is kind of cool and it seems to be generating a certain buzz. It looks like the guys who did it did the right thing. It has a nice feel to it,” Zimmerman said.
At the end of his three-year contract, Zimmerman hopes that the orchestra will have even furthered its artistic quality, with not just technical perfection but with continued collaboration between orchestra and conductor.
“You can go to a concert of one of the great orchestras in the world… where there’s instantly a sort of technical perfection just about, with a very high level of technique. Sometimes you go away from it and it just doesn’t have that extra something which actually reaches out and touches an audience,” Zimmerman said. “My biggest focus will be to try and, as a group collaboratively, for us to really get to the heart of whatever the piece of music may be or whatever the circumstance may be. That’s what makes it fun.”
Image: Christopher Zimmerman. Photo by the author.