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DSO Appoints New Associate Conductor

by Jerome Weeks 14 Jun 2012 3:18 PM

With a degree from Rice in Houston and a previous gig with the Fort Worth Symphony, Thomas Hong has been covering the classical field in Texas.


It’s Thomas Hong, who has been assistant conductor at the Pittsburgh Symphony, associate conductor of the Seattle Symphony and Fort Worth Symphony and assistant conductor of Orchestre National de France in Paris. He also happens to be a graduate of Rice University with a master’s in music and will be returning there to join the faculty this fall.

Hong was picked out of 178 applicants. He’ll be taking over the position at the  Dallas Symphony in September — after Rei Hotoda, the current assistant conductor, concludes her tenure of three seasons.

The full release follows:


Previous conducting posts with Pittsburgh, Seattle, Fort Worth symphonies and Orchestre National de France

Dallas, TX (June 14, 2012) – The Dallas Symphony Orchestra (DSO) today announces the appointment of Thomas Hong as Associate Conductor. Hong comes to the DSO from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, where since September 2009 he has served as Assistant Conductor. Hong also previously served as Associate Conductor of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra (2009-2010), Associate Conductor of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra (2008-2009), and Assistant Conductor of Orchestre National de France in Paris (2007-2009).

Hong will begin his duties as Associate Conductor of the DSO on September, 1, 2012, for an initial term of one year. He will occupy the position currently held by Rei Hotoda, whose tenure of three seasons as DSO Assistant Conductor concludes this summer.

“I’ve been a fan of Maestro Jaap van Zweden for a long time, namely for his unbelievable musicianship and artistic character. He just breathes the music,” Hong says.

Describing the musicians of the DSO as “the consummate professionals,” Hong said his time conducting the DSO during his audition was special – no matter what the outcome of his audition might have been.

“The sound of the orchestra was so refined, with such depth and warmth,” Hong says. “I wanted to be a part of that music-making process, but also lead. I’m thrilled to be joining such an amazing group of musicians.”

As Associate Conductor with the DSO, Hong will conduct concerts in the DSO Pops, Community Concerts, Youth Concerts and DSO on the Go series, and lead other programs as designated. Hong will also serve as “cover” conductor for DSO Music Director Jaap van Zweden and guest conductors, leading Texas Instruments Classical Series, Christmas Celebration and other performances as needed.

“Thomas Hong was the stand-out in a strong field of able and dynamic young conductors,” says DSO Music Director Jaap van Zweden. “Thomas demonstrated an astute musicianship and talent on the podium, and I take great pleasure in welcoming him to the DSO.”

As guest conductor, Hong has led the Seoul, Lutoslawski (Poland) and Boca Raton Philharmonics as well as the Spokane, Winnipeg, Westmoreland and Butler County Symphony Orchestras and also Ensemble 212 in New York. He received Masters of Music degrees in Instrumental Conducting from Rice University (2008) and Choral Conducting from Temple University (1997). He also received the Artist Diploma in Orchestra Conducting from the Curtis Institute of Music in 2002.

In the fall 2012, he will also be joining the faculty at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music and will begin his first season as Music Director of the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra in Ohio.

The DSO received 178 applications for its Associate Conductor position. Video-taped performances from nineteen semi-finalists were viewed and critiqued. Four finalists each led a half-hour long trial rehearsal with the DSO at the Meyerson Symphony Center.

In the finals, Hong conducted the DSO in the first movements of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and Brahms’s First Symphony, demonstrated rehearsal techniques and communication skills while conducting a segment of Don Juan by R. Strauss, and concluded his audition with Bernstein’s spirited Overture to Candide.

“I want to live up to the exceptional musical expectations set by Maestro van Zweden,” Hong says. “I am so honored to join this Dream Team of Maestro van Zweden, the fabulous orchestra and fantastic administration.”