The Kansas City Symphony has hired a new assistant conductor who will begin his duties with the 2016-17 season.
Jason Seber comes from the Louisville Orchestra, where he served three seasons as education and outreach conductor. He will succeed popular associate conductor Aram Demirjian, who will remain with the orchestra through June 2016.
“Aram is doing a magnificent job and we love having him here, but I think he felt this was the right time in his career to do the next thing,” said Frank Byrne, the symphony’s executive director. “And we’re certainly sorry to see him go.”
Byrne said Seber was one of four invitation-only candidates who were vetted by orchestra staff and the musicians in a rigorous audition-and-interview process.
“The past few times we have done this, it has been an invitation-only audition,” Byrne said. “We have sought people out and that took a period of time to identify people. We had four candidates this time. It was a very detailed meeting and audition period over two days’ time. We have an excellent process that we have developed that evaluates all aspects of their responsibilities, from conducting to public speaking.”
Seber, 40, is a native of Indiana and has a master’s in conducting from the Cleveland Institute of Music.
In addition to his three years with the Louisville Orchestra, Seber has conducted the Louisville Youth Orchestra for 11 years.
“I was delighted for the opportunity to come in and audition and interview for the position,” he said. “Assistant conductor responsibilities change quite a bit from orchestra to orchestra, but this has substantially more conducting. So I was excited.”
Seber said he knew the Kansas City Symphony by reputation and had actually seen a performance in Kansas City when he was a college student. And he knows and had worked with at least five members of the orchestra.
“I’ve been through several auditions and I actually thought this was the most thorough audition process and also the most unique, in that we were encouraged to rehearse the orchestra through the repertoire we were assigned. We actually got to develop a relationship with the orchestra. It’s a fantastic orchestra. I thought the musicians were not only exceptional but also very responsive to anything I was requesting or asking of them.”
Seber will be in and out of Kansas City through the next several months. He said he expects to move here in June.