Vermont Symphony Orchestra music director will step down

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The Vermont Symphony Orchestra is about to kick off its 2019-2020 season. However, just as it marks a beginning, it’s also marking the upcoming end of the two-decade-long tenure of its music director.

Middlesex native Jane Kittredge is one of two VSO violinists who performed on Local 44 Morning Brew two years ago. She’s about to mark her tenth anniversary with the orchestra under the direction of Jaime Laredo, a Grammy-winning violinist himself.

“I remember going to the Vermont Symphony Orchestra as a high schooler and just being inspired by his leadership,” Kittredge said. “Very kind of grandfatherly and warm, and so gentle and kind, yet he would inspire such rich musicality.”

After serving as the Vermont Symphony’s music director since 2000, Laredo is leaving the post — not at the end of this season, but next season, in May 2021.

“I really feel that, for the good of the orchestra, there should be new blood, fresh ideas,” he said. “That’s part of life; nothing stays the same.”

“I am personally grateful to Jaime for this — this was not sudden,” VSO executive director Ben Cadwallader said. “We have been talking about this for a long time. We knew that it was likely to happen at some point in the next couple of years.”

Laredo and his wife, Grammy-nominated cellist Sharon Robinson, will open the symphony’s new season at Burlington’s Flynn Center Saturday night by performing, among other things, a piece that was specifically composed for the two of them to play together.

“We have this wonderful conductor, Sarah Hicks,” Laredo said. “Sharon and I have worked with her a lot, and she’s certainly one of the people the VSO is looking at (to become the new music director). I’d love for someone like that, a younger person, to take over the VSO.”

The orchestra’s search for a new music director is expected to take more than a year.

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