SEATTLE SYMPHONY NAMES 17-YEAR-OLD CONDUCTOR ALEXANDER PRIOR ASSISTANT TO THE GUEST CONDUCTORS


FOR RELEASE Friday, January 08, 2010

Marks First Professional Appointment for Alexander Prior, Who Has Burst onto the International Conducting Scene

Seattle, WA – Seattle Symphony is pleased to welcome 17-year-old conductor Alexander Prior to an unprecedented Chairman’s Fellow position, Assistant to the Guest Conductors. Prior, who is rapidly becoming known in the international music world, will play an essential role in assisting the many high-profile guest conductors coming to Seattle from January through July, 2010 as part of the Music Director Search.

The Chairman’s Fellow position was created by Board Chair Leslie Jackson Chihuly, who remarked, “We are thrilled to have such a promising young conductor as Alex Prior joining our conducting team. His work will be an asset to us, and we look forward to nurturing his artistic development.”

Although Prior’s role as “cover conductor” is behind-the-scenes, he will play an important role on the Seattle Symphony’s conducting staff by being prepared to step in at a moment’s notice if a guest conductor is unable to conduct a rehearsal or performance. Serving on the conducting staff of a major orchestra is a key professional development opportunity for young conductors, although most are not given the opportunity at such a young age.

Prior has already conducted major orchestras in Europe and Russia, but this position with Seattle Symphony is his first professional appointment. Prior has been selected as one of only 12 participants in this February’s International Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition in Bamberg, Germany, the very same competition in which Gustavo Dudamel first came to international prominence. He was Runner-Up in the 2009 Leeds Conductors Competition, and additional conducting engagements include an April 2010 performance with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Barbican in London, and a Conducting Fellowship at Tanglewood Music Festival during the 2010 festival.

In the UK, Prior has conducted The National Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of Opera North and Northern Sinfonia, among others. He also has conducted the New Opera Orchestra at the Kremlin and The State St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra.

Prior is known to television audiences in the UK following a commission by Channel 4 to compose and conduct the premiere of a concerto featuring extraordinarily talented young musicians. The three-part TV series was broadcast on primetime television in 2009. Prior has been awarded the Patriarch of Russia's Cultural Award for his musical projects that bring culture to disadvantaged children, and he has received the Blue Cross Order for his work in the arts.

Alexander Prior has completed his fourth year at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, with distinction. He is a great-great-grandson of Constantine Stanislavsky, the famous Russian theatre reformer and founder of “method acting.”

For Alexander Prior’s full biography, please visit www.alexprior.co.uk.