The San Diego Symphony has appointed Sameer Patel as its new assistant conductor. Patel, who was most recently associate conductor of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, was chosen from an applicant pool of 165 to succeed Ken-Davis Masur, who is moving to the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
As the assistant conductor, Patel will cover all Jacobs Masterworks classical subscription concerts, conducting the Family Festival series, Young People’s Concerts and additional concerts throughout the season, the orchestra company said in a press release.
“One of San Diego’s crown jewels is its world-class orchestra, which is at the heart of the city’s vibrant cultural life,” said Patel. “I am excited to connect with our audience, and I am looking forward to working closely with Maestro Ling, the musicians, the staff and the orchestra’s many supporters.”
As the associate conductor of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Patel conducted the orchestra in over 100 performances and invigorated the orchestra’s engagement with the community. In 2013, Sameer was one of only six conductors selected by the League of American Orchestras for the Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, an event that showcases emerging and talented conductors to orchestra industry professionals. He was a 2011 Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Scholar, an honor given to him by former New York Philharmonic Music Director Kurt Masur. As part of this award, Patel traveled to Europe to study with and assist Maestro Masur with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra.
Patel also returned as a guest conductor at the Jacksonville Symphony last month for five programs over the course of 10 days. This will be his second visit of the 2014-2015 season, and his fourth since working with the orchestra at the League of American Orchestras 2013 National Conductor Preview. During his visit Patel conducted a concert for Jacksonville Symphony donors, a concert featuring The Beach Boys, two outdoor programs, and a concert with Peabo Bryson. Patel also made his debut with the Pacific Symphony at Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, California, in April. He will also be leading the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in the 2015-2016 season following his debut last May.
Patel began his musical training as a pianist and received both his graduate and undergraduate degrees at the University of Michigan, where he studied conducting with Kenneth Kiesler. He furthered his training internationally with acclaimed conductors Kurt Masur, Bernard Haitink, David Zinman, Gianandrea Noseda, Neeme Järvi, Paavo Järvi, Larry Rachleff, JoAnn Falletta, Günther Herbig, Mei-Ann Chen, and Marin Alsop.
Patel has held conducting fellowships with the Boston Philharmonic and the Chicago Sinfonietta, and credits his time with these organizations for developing his passionate approach to engaging with audiences of all backgrounds and to reimagining the concert experience. Also an enthusiastic advocate for music education, Patel has worked with school and youth orchestras in North America, South America, and Europe.