April 19, 2018
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New Bangor Symphony Orchestra director ready to immerse himself in community

Bruce Fritz Photography | BDN
Bruce Fritz Photography | BDN
Brian Hinrichs, new executive director of the Bangor Symphony Orchestra.
By Emily Burnham, BDN Staff

In a way, Brian Hinrichs has been preparing for his new position as executive director at the Bangor Symphony Orchestra for his whole life.

A self-described “classical music nut,” Hinrichs wanted to immerse himself in the arts, and as he began finishing up his master’s degree in arts administration at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, it became clear that working for a symphony orchestra was the direction his career was taking him.

“Initially, I was interested in marketing, but as I went along, I really developed the passion for the bigger picture, the kind of thing an executive director can do,” Hinrichs said in a phone interview earlier this week. “When this position became available, I jumped at the chance. It’s right in line with everything I’ve been working for.”

Hinrichs is taking over for David Whitehill, who left in December 2012 to take a similar position with the Asheville Symphony Orchestra in Asheville, N.C.

Hinrichs will attend this weekend’s Bangor Symphony Orchestra concert, set for 3 p.m. Sunday, March 3, at the Collins Center for the Arts. The program will feature Vivaldi’s Four Seasons as the featured performance, with soloist Lara St. John on violin. The program will be rounded out by two lesser-known pieces: Vaughan Williams’ “Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis” and “Ottorino Respighi: Ancient Airs & Dances Suite No. 1.”

Hinrichs grew up on Long Island in New York, where he played cello as a youngster and regularly attended classical music concerts in the city. After graduating from Colgate University, he held internships with a number of classical music organizations and opera companies around the country — from the Glimmerglass Opera in New York to Chamber Music magazine. In 2008, he lived in Thailand for a year, researching the emerging western classical music scene there while on a Fulbright grant. Since then, he has lived in Wisconsin, where he’ll finish his masters this spring. He and his wife, Alexandra, and young son, Nathaniel, will move to Maine in early June.

Though Hinrichs has no formal connections to Maine, he found Bangor welcoming and enthusiastic when he visited last month for his interview.

“I love the size of the community, I love the fact that everyone on the search committee and on the board that I met were just totally on top of things and in tune with the community and the orchestra itself,” said Hinrichs. “It was incredibly refreshing, and that just made the position all the more appealing. To work with people who are excited and knowledgeable is everyone’s dream.”

Though he only found out a little over a week ago that he was chosen for the position and only has met music director Lucas Richman once, Hinrichs already has some big ideas for when he and his family move to Maine on June 1.

“I was so impressed by the fact that while during the recession other orchestras were accumulating debt, the BSO was actually getting ready to retire theirs,” said Hinrichs. “That’s unbelievable. So for me, my job is to ask, ‘Now what?’ There’s a very solid foundation to work on, so the question is, ‘How do we engage further with the community?’ I think Lucas and I click on a fundamental level when it comes to things like that.”

In addition to the BSO’s myriad potential opportunities for growth, Hinrichs also has a personal reason for relocating to Maine. His wife is from Massachusetts and his family is still based in New York, so it will be a lot easier for family to visit.

“I’ve always loved New England, and what better excuse to come here now?” he said. “It couldn’t have worked out better.”

For information on the BSO, visit bangorsymphony.org.

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