NORTHWEST ARKANSAS — August 25, 2010 — Symphony of Northwest Arkansas (SoNA) announced today at a press breakfast that Paul Haas will serve as Music Director for SoNA, effective immediately. The appointment was made after a national search was conducted by an Artistic Advisory Committee appointed by the Board of Directors and Advisors of the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas.
In April 2010, SoNA announced a partnership with Walton Arts Center to build upon the 50+ years of experience of the former organization, *North Arkansas Symphony Orchestra (NASO), to create a local professional orchestra committed to providing high-quality classical and pops performances. Under the leadership of Walton Arts Center President/CEO Peter Lane, SoNA Executive Director Karen Kapella, and the SoNA Board of Directors and Advisors, SoNA has developed a sustainable operating model and comprehensive funding strategy. The symphony has secured much of the funding needed for the first season and further plans will be unveiled at an opening concert in the spring of 2011.
Peter Lane remarked, “A professional symphony is a vital part of a thriving arts community and we are so excited that Paul will be sharing his talents with symphonic music lovers of Northwest Arkansas.” Karen Kapella adds, “Paul brings a fresh energy and commitment to quality that will be invaluable in shaping the artistic vision of the organization.”
Mr. Haas’ recent positions include music director of the renowned New York Youth Symphony (NYYS), which performs regularly at Carnegie Hall. Mr. Haas and the NYYS were awarded the ASCAP-League of American Orchestras Bernstein Award for educational programming. This marked the first time that award was presented to a youth orchestra. Mr. Haas is also the founder and artistic director of Sympho, a groundbreaking and critically acclaimed concert production company. www.SymphoConcerts.org.
Other conducting engagements include performances with the San Antonio Symphony, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Haas was selected out of hundreds to perform in the League of American Orchestras’ prestigious National Conductor Preview. Mr. Haas has also enjoyed an active composing career, receiving the Selden Memorial Award and Friends of Music Composition Prize of Yale University. According to the NY Times, Paul Haas “is surely on the brink of a noteworthy career.” The Washington Post said “Haas is headed for a significant podium career.”
Paul Haas is a graduate of Yale University and the Juilliard School, where he studied conducting as a Bruno Walter Fellow with Otto-Werner Mueller. He also studied conducting in Dresden, Germany, at the Hochschule für Musik. Paul currently resides in New York City with his wife, Suzette, and daughter, Ciel.
*The Symphony of Northwest Arkansas (SoNA) is the new name for the North Arkansas Symphony (NASO), which was founded in 1954 and provided more than 50 years of musical performances and educational opportunities. SoNA is a not-for-profit public benefit organization which is currently engaged in a new partnership with Walton Arts Center. The SoNA mission is to be Northwest Arkansas’ premier professional orchestra representing the highest artistic level. Under the musical direction of Paul Haas, SoNA will present classical and pops performances for symphonic music lovers in Northwest Arkansas. For further information about SoNA, please contact Karen Kapella at 479. 521.4166, or visit the SoNA website, www.sonamusic.org.