June 25, 2018
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BSO conductor Li quits; Saeverud to take baton

By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — Bangor Symphony Orchestra’s music director and conductor for the past six years, Xiao-Lu Li, has resigned, citing personal reasons. His resignation was effective immediately.

“Under the leadership of Xiao-Lu Li these past six seasons the orchestra has seen growth in many areas,” Samuel W. Lanham Jr., president of the BSO’s board of directors, said in a press release issued Tuesday.

Li, 49, of Lafayette, La., was named the symphony’s ninth music director and conductor in May 2002. The Chinese-born conductor was one of five finalists who vied to replace Christopher Zimmerman, who resigned the previous spring after seven years on the job to lead the Symphony of Southeast Texas.

Li is chief conductor of the China National Symphony Orchestra in Beijing, according to information on the BSO’s Web site.

A native of Shanghai, Li left home at 14 to become a violinist in the Chinese National Orchestra and in 1980 joined the Shanghai Symphony after winning a difficult audition. He arrived in the United States in 1983 and studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1990.

When Li began his tenure with the BSO, he also conducted the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra in New London. His tenure with that orchestra ended last year.

Under Li’s leadership, the BSO hired several new musicians, presented satellite concerts throughout Maine, and enriched its education program, according to Lanham.

“We are pleased that our current concertmaster is more than ready to step in and lead,” Lanham said Tuesday. “Trond Saeverud will lead our symphony in our upcoming performances at the Waterville Opera House on Saturday and Peakes Auditorium in Bangor on Nov. 2.

“The board will be working with Executive Director David Whitehill to chart the best course for the remaining concerts of this season,” Lanham added.

Saeverud, of Robbinston, is founder and music director of the Passamaquoddy Bay Symphony and conducts the University of Maine at Farmington Orchestra. He had a successful London debut in 1992 with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

He also is the artistic director of the Harald Saeverud Chamber Music Program, an international camp and festival for advanced music students held in Washington County.

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