After a search spanning two years, nine candidates and many concerts, the Spartanburg Philharmonic, in its 95th year, has named John Young Shik Concklin as its next music director.
Concklin, a native of Atlanta, has been praised by musicians and audiences alike for his acute attention to detail, strong sense of rhythm, inviting gravitas and unique innovation, according to a news release. Concurrently Concklin serves as music director for Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra and Conductor with the Atlanta Music Project and Piedmont Chamber Orchestra.
He is also no stranger to Spartanburg or the Philharmonic as he started out as a violist for the long-standing orchestra, the release stated. Concklin then made his conducting debut in 2018 when he led the Philharmonic’s two John Williams concerts.
“From the very beginning, the search committee committed to finding the perfect fit for our organization and for our musicians — we believe John Young Shik Concklin is that person,” Karen Parrott, board president of the Philharmonic and Chair of the Search Committee, said in the release. “John gets us — Spartanburg, our community, our musicians — and we are thrilled that he is our 10th Music Director.”
Concklin will join the Philharmonic on a three year initial contract, yet he is already hard at work with the staff to finalize programming for the upcoming season which is set to launch Saturday, Sept. 16th with an original piece from resident composer Peter B. Kay and Antonin Dvořák’s triumphant masterpiece, Symphony no. 9: “From the New World.”
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The nationwide search began in August 2021 as the search committee began reviewing applications, according to the release. The committee consisted of board members, musicians, Philharmonic staff and the expert advice from Henry Fogel, a leading arts executive and consultant for orchestras around the country. Out of approximately 160 applicants, the committee narrowed it down to just nine finalists, each bringing their own style and techniques to the table. Between 2021 and 2023, all nine candidates helped program and conduct a concert for the Philharmonic’s Zimmerli Concert Series held at Twichell Auditorium on the campus of Converse University.
“I am deeply honored to be selected as the tenth music director of the Spartanburg Philharmonic,” Concklin said in the release. “My musical and personal life are deeply intertwined with this community, and I always dreamt of what it would be like to lead this storied ensemble. After years of anticipation, here we are! The chapter ahead will be filled with meaningful collaboration and music making. I cannot wait to carry Spartanburg’s rich musical legacy forward; alongside you, the passionate Spartanburg community, the talented musicians and devoted patrons who have kept it vibrant for so long.”