JUNE 13, 2017

Global Search Yields Symphony’s Ninth Conductor

SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA --The San Luis Obispo Symphony has a new music director - Maestro Andrew Sewell. This internationally renowned native of New Zealand ushers in a new era for the Symphony. Sewell’s rehearsal work and commanding direction of the orchestra, conducting the popular Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 and Overture to The Barber of Seville, delighted the audience to standing ovations on Classics Opening Night in October 2016.

“The appointment of Andrew Sewell is the result of an extensive year-and-a-half long search that saw 133 applicants from around the world,” stated David Hamilton, the Symphony’s Music Director Search Committee Chair and incoming Board President. “In the end, it is Andrew’s impressive musicianship, his extensive body of work with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and conducting other notable orchestras, his warm rapport with our orchestra musicians and audience, as well as his engaging interactions with the board of directors, staff, other arts organization and community leaders that made the selection committee and board decision ‘unanimous.’”

“I am deeply honored to have been selected by the San Luis Obispo Symphony,” said Sewell. “My wife, Mary, and I were touched by the hospitality and graciousness we experienced when we visited. We feel very much at home and I am very excited by this opportunity. I look forward to working with the musicians, staff and the board of directors to explore how and where the Symphony may grow artistically in and with the community.”

Sewell is currently preparing to program and present the orchestra’s 2017-18 season.

Maestro Sewell is in demand as a conductor having had long tenures with the Wichita Symphony, Mansfield and Toledo, OH Symphonies. He has also led the Toronto, Detroit, Milwaukee, Columbus, Toledo, Syracuse, Illinois, Monterey, Gulf Coast and Eugene Symphony Orchestra, as well as the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Phiharmonia, Christchurch Symphony, National Symphony of Mexico, Kyushu Symphony (Japan), City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong and Hong Kong City Opera, OK Mozart Festival, Peninsula Music Festival and Masterworks Festival. Maestro Sewell is currently the Music Director of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra in Madison. He is credited with expanding the repertoire and providing innovative and adventuresome programming to all their concert programs.

“Under Andrew’s baton, the orchestra was inspired to play their best,” said Bonnie Richan, Orchestra Advisory Committee member and Symphony flutist. “He demanded precision to which the orchestra responded beautifully. His attention to detail - intonation, timing, and dynamics - was refreshing and motivating. I was inspired to play my very best, always feeling supported and encouraged. The orchestra looks forward to
a great future for our organization, audiences, and community.”

In 2013, Sewell received the Rabin Arts Youth Award for Individual Achievement by the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra for his services to youth and education.

“My parents took me to see the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra at a young age and I was hooked. That same experience excites me when thinking about the importance of bringing young people to hear our symphony, and of furthering their music education. I’ve experienced the transformative power of music and hope to pass that on.” said Sewell.

Maestro Sewell received his music training on the violin, piano and cornet, and began conducting at age 16. Six years later, he made his professional opera debut with the Mercury Opera and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. Winning the Australian Guarantee Corporation’s Young Achiever’s Award allowed him to further his studies abroad. Sewell holds a Master of Music degree with Honors in Conducting from the University of Michigan.

“Andrew Sewell’s appointment as music director is a singularly significant moment in the Symphony’s evolution.” said Dr. Deanna Richards, current board president. "With Andrew’s artistic direction and (recently appointed Executive Director) Catherine Lansdowne’s leadership the Symphony is poised to strengthen its position as the preeminent cultural organization in the region. It is cause for great optimism and excitement for a very, very bright future!"
Classics in the Cohan and New Year’s Eve POPS
The 2017-18 Classics in the Cohan Series begins with Opening Night on October 7, 2017 featuring cello virtuoso Bion Tsang. The remaining concert dates are Classics 2, November 11, 2017 featuring baritone Jubilant Sykes; Classics 3, February 3, 2018 featuring virtuoso harpist Yolanda Kondonassis; Classics 4, March 10, 2018, featuring violinist Lindsay Deutsch; and the Series Finale, May 5, 2018, featuring piano virtuoso Orion Weiss.

New Year’s Eve POPS returns on December 31, 2017 with Maestro Sewell conducting a memorable repertoire that will include the Forbes Organ, a little Phantom and some special surprises. This evening will leave the audience happy, humming and ready to leap into a brand new year.

Subscriptions for New Year’s Eve POPS and the Classics in the Cohan Series is available by calling (805) 543-3533.

Maestro Sewell is available for interview. Please contact [email protected] or the phone numbers below. Photos are available upon request.

About the San Luis Obispo Symphony
The San Luis Obispo Symphony was established in 1954 by a small group of 11 musicians called the Morro Bay Community Orchestra. The Symphony was incorporated in 1961 and, in its 58-year history, has grown significantly to become a leading arts institution in the community with 77 orchestra members, a large Youth Symphony program with six ensembles and a music education program that has 13 school-based programs that reaches approximately 16,000 youth per year. For further information on Symphony concerts and music education initiatives, please visit

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