The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra announced in a press release today that the next season of the symphony will be Maestro Philip Mann’s last. The ASO will give Mann the title of “Music Director Laureate” and hopes that “Mann will be able to continue his highly successful relationship with the ASO as he grows his international conducting presence and broadens his role within classical music.”
The final season will be Mann’s ninth with the ASO. Symphony CEO Christina Littlejohn said in the announcement that she wanted to let symphony fans know the orchestra is on solid ground. “As we look ahead to next season and beyond, Arkansans should rest assured that we are a thriving, financially stable organization and our priority is to provide engaging, high-quality performances and offer music education initiatives around the state,” she said.
In a Q&A in January, Mann told the Arkansas Times that his relationship with the symphony was a “charmed one that I’m very lucky to have.” He described his meeting up with the orchestra:
We knew in that first rehearsal that we had some chemistry. Sometimes when you have this immediate, big flashy spark, things won’t continue to build, but they continued to build all the way through the week and into each performance. Each performance was memorable — the kind of experience that you carry with you for the rest of your life. I draw on those remembrances of those first performances as a reminder of how far we’ve come, and also how we started off together. There was a sense of momentum and kind of passion. There was an abandon to the performances that was very invigorating.