NEC Alumni Lead Orchestras

NEC alumni appointed to leadership positions with orchestras, as administrators and conductors.

As orchestras launch their 2015–2016 seasons, NEC alumni take on leadership roles on artistic and administrative rosters. Here are some we have learned about this season.

In January 2015, Jeff Alexander '80 (who studied horn at NEC) became President of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association, after 14 years as President and CEO of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. During his time in Vancouver, Alexander launched the VSO School of Music, a $25 million community music school, and served as Chair of Orchestras Canada. "I'm proud of the fact that I have spent 32 of my 34 years in the business completely focused on orchestra management," Alexander said in a recent interview. More on Jeff Alexander

One of this year's graduates of NEC's Orchestral Conducting program, Nathan Aspinall '15 M.M. has just been named Assistant Conductor of the Jacksonville (Fla.) Symphony, where other new hires include New York Philharmonic assistant conductor Courtney Lewis and NEC alumnus Robert Massey '95 as President and CEO (further down in this story). More on Nathan Aspinall

Since completing his composition studies at NEC, Joshua Gersen '06 (in photo) has emerged as a conductor as well as a composer. His appointment as Assistant Conductor at the New York Philharmonic (as successor to Courtney Lewis) complements his existing role as Music Director of the New York Youth Symphony. Gersen was previously the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Conducting Fellow of the New World Symphony in Miami, and made his conducting debut with the San Francisco Symphony in 2013. More on Joshua Gersen

Alan Jordan '83, who even as a voice student at NEC started directing his career towards orchestra management, has left his post as Executive Director of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra to become Executive Director of the Delaware Symphony Orchestra. Jordan has served on the Board of Directors of the League of American Orchestras, and continues to serve on LAO committees. Interview with Alan Jordan

Kristo Kondakci '13, '15 M.M. did graduate degree in Wind Ensemble Conducting at NEC after completing an undergraduate degree in composition. He has been named Assistant Conductor of Boston Landmarks Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the Albanian National Orchestra, and a Boston Philharmonic Fellow. Last year he founded the Eureka Orchestra. While an undergraduate at NEC, Kondakci created a reconstruction of the original version of Mahler's First Symphony, which was performed to open the Conservatory's year of Mahler concerts. More on Kristo Kondakci

Andres Lopera '12 M.M., from the second class of NEC's Orchestral Conducting majors to study with Hugh Wolff, has been appointed Assistant Conductor of the Colorado Symphony. This appointment comes on the heels of Lopera's three years as music director of the Metropolitan Youth Symphony in Portland, Oregon. More on Andres Lopera

Robert Massey '95, who studied trumpet at NEC, became President and CEO of the Jacksonville (Fla.) Symphony this year. Massey was previously Executive Director of the Cedar Rapids Symphony Orchestra in Iowa. As deputy director of the Germantown Performing Arts Center in Memphis, Tenn., Massey helped found the Iris Orchestra (entering its 16th season), which led to the realization that "I wanted to run a symphony orchestra." Interview with Robert Massey

Sherwood Mobley '83 M.M., who studied percussion at NEC and was principal timpanist of the Greenville (N.C.) Symphony Orchestra for 23 years, has become Executive Director of the orchestra after serving in an interim role. More on Sherwood Mobley

Violist Anthony Parce '11 M.M. is one of four string players appointed to launch the Houston Symphony's Community-Embedded Musicians program. In this innovative program, Parce will be a member of the Houston roster, but will play only on select concerts during the formal subscription season, as his primary role will be to "focus on the orchestra's growing education and community engagement activities," including a "music and wellness program aimed at increasing the quality of health care through music." More on this

This season, Jorge Soto '13 M.M., an alumnus of NEC's Wind Ensemble Conducting program, is the new Music Director of the Sistema Side by Side Orchestra and Guest Conductor of the Longy Chamber Orchestra, both based at the Longy School of Music of Bard College. Soto, a Venezuelan native who is himself a product of that country's El Sistema, is a founding member of the Simón Bolivar National Symphony Orchestra. In addition to his work at Longy, Soto will be assistant conductor to Gustavo Dudamel for the State Opera of Berlin's production of The Marriage of Figaro this season. More on Jorge Soto

Longtime orchestra administrator Roland Valliere '78, who studied percussion at NEC, is leaving his position as President and CEO of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra to become President and CEO of the Hyannis-based Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra, starting in November. One of Valliere's tasks in his new position will be to secure funding for a first-class performing arts center for the Cape Cod community. More on Roland Valliere

Joshua Weilerstein '05 Prep, '09, '11 M.M., a violinist and charter alumnus of NEC's Orchestral Conducting program under the direction of Hugh Wolff, leads his first concert as the new Artistic Director of the Chamber Orchestra of Lausanne (Switzerland) in November, with a program combining "known quantities with discoveries," much like his mentor Wolff's upcoming NEC season. Weilerstein's debut Lausanne concerts