New Conductor Leads Benzie Area Symphony Orchestra in Summer Performances

ONEKAMAThe Benzie Area Symphony Orchestra (BASO) is 37 years old this year. Formed in 1980 by Julia Kurtyka, a professional violinist and string teacher at Frankfort Public Schools, the BASO offers local community musicians a venue for playing their instruments. Since its founding, the orchestra has been graced by the batons of three other local, prominent musicians and educators: Don Smith (1985–1999), Dorothy Kunkel (1999–2007) and John Beery (2008–2014).

We want to express our great thanks and gratitude to John Beery for his amazing and talented assets as our former maestro, conductor, and musical advisor. The BASO is indebted to his unwavering service as a professional and will miss him as a friend.

Now, introducing Tom Riccobono … Benzie Area Symphony Orchestra’s new conductor!

The Benzie Area Symphony Orchestra is pleased to announce that Tom Riccobono has been appointed as the new conductor to shape the artistic vision of the orchestra during the upcoming seasons.

After a long two-year process of auditioning guest conductors, the orchestra is excited that a conductor of Riccobono’s strengths and caliber possessed a shared desire to bring the orchestra to the next level as a musical group. Riccobono is an instructor of low brass at the Interlochen Arts Academy, faculty with the Interlochen Trombone and Tuba Institute, Adult Band Camp artistic director and low brass faculty at Interlochen College of Creative Arts. Riccobono holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music, Penn State University and a Performer’s Certificate from the Cleveland Institute of Music.

Riccobono has performed with the Savannah Symphony, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic, Milwaukee Symphony, Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival Orchestra in Germany and the Spoleto Festival Orchestra in Italy. He also performed with such commercial acts as the Temptations, Four Tops, Moody Blues, Four Irish Tenors, Abe Laboriel, John Fedchock, Harry Connick Sr., Luciano Pavaratti, Doc Severinsen, Don Rickles, Yes, Ian Anderson, Bernadette Peters and conductors Christoph Eschenbach, Mstislav Rostropovich, Lorin Maazel, Kevin Rhodes, Robert Shaw, Louis Lane, Michael Stern and Leon Fleisher. He is the former artistic director of the Encore Winds and is principal trombone of the Traverse Symphony Orchestra.

The first concert of the season, “Dvorak in America“, will be held on Sunday, June 25, at 4 p.m. in the Benzie Central High School Auditorium. Chas Helge, a native of Manistee, Michigan, will be the featured soloist.

St. Ambrose Winery is the venue on Sunday, July 9, at 4 p.m., when BASO presents “Classics in the Country.” This concert will feature ensembles and soloists from BASO in a chamber music setting. Come join us in this relaxed atmosphere where you can taste St. Ambrose wine and mead while enjoying the informal concert.

Watch for more information coming soon for the August 20 and October 8 concerts.

–Press release provided by Benzie Area Symphony Orchestra


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