Sunriver Music Festival Announces Finalists for New Artistic Director

(Photo | Courtesy of Sunriver Music Festival)

Sunriver Music Festival, Central Oregon’s classical music experience, is proud to announce two finalists for their new Artistic Director: Maestros Kelly Kuo and Brett Mitchell. The Festival’s current Maestro, George Hanson, successfully ended his ten-year tenure with the Festival earlier this year after accepting a position in Washington, D.C.

“For the last 12 months, the Board and search committee have been reviewing candidates, and we are excited to have two dynamic finalists,“ states Executive Director Meagan Iverson.

Both conductors will present programs during the Festival’s 44th upcoming season (Summer 2021). “This way, our members and community receive the unique opportunity to see these two outstanding professionals in action as they lead our talented Festival Orchestra,” shares Iverson.

Artistic Director Finalists: Full finalists’ bios are available on the Festival’s website,

Kelly Kuo, currently Artistic Director of the Oregon Mozart Players, is an Oregon native praised by the Cincinnati Enquirer as “a leader of exceptional musical gifts, who has a clear technique on the podium and an impressive rapport with audiences.” Maestro Kelly Kuo brings a dynamic versatility and nuance to a diverse repertoire, which includes over 90 operas and an expansive symphonic repertoire as well. Recent engagements have included productions with Lyric Opera of Chicago, Seattle Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Indianapolis Opera and the Janiec Opera Company of the Brevard Music Center and concerts with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Lexington Philharmonic and Ballet Fantastique.

In 2008, Maestro Kuo became the first conductor of Asian descent to lead a performance at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, making his company debut with Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. Kuo continues to concertize as the only pianist to have studied with two pupils of Russian virtuoso Vladimir Horowitz.

Brett Mitchell, currently Music Director of the Colorado Symphony since 2017, has been hailed for presenting engaging, in-depth explorations of a variety of classical programs. Throughout his Colorado tenure, he has led the orchestra in the majority of its classical performances, as well as a wide variety of special programs featuring such guest artists as Renée Fleming, Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman.

From 2013 to 2017, Maestro Mitchell served on the conducting staff of the Cleveland Orchestra. From 2007 to 2011, Mitchell led over 100 performances as Assistant Conductor of the Houston Symphony.

Mitchell is also in demand as a guest conductor. His 2020-21 season features return engagements with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra and Houston Symphony, as well as debuts with the North Carolina, Fort Worth and Pasadena symphonies. Other recent guest engagements include the Dallas, Detroit, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Oregon, San Antonio, San Francisco and Vancouver symphonies, and a two-week tour with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. 

Keep your eyes on for additional details or email the Festival at if you have specific questions.


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