The Bangor Symphony Orchestra on Tuesday announced the formation of a search committee to find and appoint a new music director and conductor for the 113-year-old organization.

The committee, led by BSO board member Joyce Clark-Sarnacki as chairwoman, will spend the next year conducting a rigorous search of conductors throughout the world to find a suitable replacement for former conductor Xiao-Lu Li, who resigned last fall.

Executive Director David Whitehill said there’s no official plan as to when a new music director will be named.

“This committee has been assembled to set the process in motion. There’s no real timetable,” said Whitehill. “We’re going to look at a lot of different people, and not make any decisions until we’re ready.”

Besides Sarnacki, the committee members include Stuart Marrs, a musician and associate provost and dean for undergraduate education at the University of Maine; Anthony Pellegrini, a local lawyer and board member of the BSO; Adele Adkins, associate director of the Collins Center for the Arts; and Thom Johnston, president of the New England School of Communications.

Orchestra members appointed to the committee include principal oboist Louis Hall, principal cellist Noreen Silver, principal percussionist and timpanist Nancy Rowe and principal bassoonist Wren Saunders. President of the BSO Board Samuel W. Lanham Jr. and Whitehill will serve on the committee in an ex officio capacity.

“We wanted to bring in the three core elements of the BSO’s constituents: the musicians, the board and the community,” said Whitehill.

The BSO has employed an array of guest conductors since Li’s last concert, including Lucas Richman of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra in Tennessee; Benjamin Makino, who most recently worked with the Washington National Opera; and current BSO concertmaster Trond Saeverud.

Whitehill said the 2009-10 season will feature more guest conductors, who essentially will be auditioning for the community with each concert.

“We’re bringing in people to conduct as a kind of tryout,” said Whitehill. “It should be a very interesting and engaging season. The BSO has a real history of having people in the music director position for 10, 12, sometimes 15 years. We’re bringing them into the family, and it’s a very big decision to make.”

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Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.