In June 2012, Whatcom Symphony Orchestra conductor Roger Briggs stepped down from the podium after 16 years as artistic director.
During his tenure, the WSO grew in size and stature, drawing enthusiastic audiences and winning national awards and recognition.
In January, a seven-member search committee began reviewing 118 qualified and hopeful applicants to take over as the new director, and eventually narrowed the field to four candidates.
Each of these finalists will “audition” by appearing as a guest conductor during the symphony’s upcoming season.
Committee members, musicians and audience members will have chances to give their opinions before a new director is named.
Finalists with dates of appearance as guest conductors
Scott Seaton—Nov. 4, 2012
Praised as a conductor with “finesse, clarity, and precision” by the Luxembourg Times, Seaton has performed with the Toronto Philharmonia, Mansfield Symphony, Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich and the Bohuslav Martinů Philharmonic.
He is currently the music director of the Lakeland Civic Orchestra in Ohio and assistant conductor of Festival Opera in California.
He has also worked at Kent State University and Davidson College.
In 2011, he was a winner of the prestigious INTERAKTION Competition in Berlin, and has been invited to the world-renowned Solti and Mahler competitions in Germany.
Seaton has degrees in conducting and saxophone from the Université de Montréal, the New England Conservatory and Vanderbilt University.
Jonathan Andrew Govias—Jan. 27, 2013
As a distinguished conductor, author and public speaker, Govias combines exemplary artistic credentials with profound insight into the power of music to transform society.
Appointed music director of a professional orchestra in India at the age of 22, Govias has since earned a doctorate in orchestral conducting and performed with symphonies on four continents, including a June 2009 debut with Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra.
His achievements on the podium have been further recognized by invitations to elite master classes by conductors Kurt Masur, Ivan Fischer, David Zinman and Marin Alsop.
His leadership in this sphere of community music has earned him international recognition and three prestigious fellowships, most recently his appointment to the inaugural class of Abreu Fellows at New England Conservatory.
David Alexander Rahbee—March 3, 2013
Rahbee studied violin and composition at Indiana University and conducting at the Pierre Monteux School.
He completed his master’s in conducting at the New England Conservatory.
Winning the American-Austrian Foundation’s Herbert von Karajan Fellowship in 2003 enabled him to live and study in Austria and work as an assistant at the Vienna State Opera.
During an extended period of freelancing, he conducted orchestras in virtually all the European countries.
Currently Rahbee is completing his doctorate in orchestral conducting at the University of Montreal with a dissertation on the impact of Gustav Mahler’s conducting career on his compositions.
Yaniv Attar—April 14, 2013
Drawn to classical music at an early age, Attar has studied in Jerusalem, London, New York and Montreal, where he earned his doctorate in music at McGill University.
As assistant conductor of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra in Birmingham, Attar has conducted nearly 100 masterworks, family and youth concerts.
His other work includes ensembles at McGill, the National Symphony Orchestra, the orchestras of Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Virginia, Jerusalem, Haifa, the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra, Russe Philharmonic Bulgaria and the Bacau Philharmonic Romania.
As an accomplished classical guitarist, Attar studied at Julliard on full scholarship.
His conducting awards include recognition from the Solti Foundation and the Bruno Walter Memorial Foundation.