Marc Taddei, music director of Orchestra Wellington (New Zealand) since 2007, was named music director of the Vallejo Symphony last week. The 85-year-old Vallejo orchestra had only six music directors in its history, with David Ramadanoff leading it for 31 years until his departure in 2014, when the Symphony board started a search for a new maestro.
During the 2015 season, Thomas Heuser, Christian Baldini, and Taddei were guest conductors in Vallejo, auditioning for the permanent position.
Besides leading orchestras in his native New Zealand, Taddei has had a busy guest-conducting career, appearing with the Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong, the Silesian State Opera in the Czech Republic, the Richmond (VA) Symphony, the Louisiana Philharmonic, the Oregon, Fort Worth, and New Haven symphony orchestras, the Eugene and Springfield symphony orchestras, the Southwest Florida Symphony, and others. After he conducted the New York City Ballet Orchestra in 2012, he was invited to lead three Balanchine programs the next year.
Vallejo Symphony Board President Suzie Peterson said, "We are so happy to have a musician of Marc’s caliber become our leader. The Board has discussed how to get to ‘the next level’ for some time and Marc will be absolutely essential for our success.”
Taddei's discography includes some 30 recordings of eclectic repertoire on the Sony, BMG, Koch, Columbia, Trust, ASV, Universal, Rattle, Concordance, and Kiwi Pacific labels, and many of his discs are featured in streaming audio on the Naxos music library website.
Taddei is a graduate of the Juilliard School in Manhattan, where he received both bachelor’s and master’s degrees before moving to New Zealand. He divides his time between Auckland, Wellington, and San Francisco. Next season he will conduct the Vallejo Symphony on Oct. 30, 2016, and Jan. 29 and March 12, 2017.
On his website, Taddei says of his experience in Vallejo:
For any conductor, the opportunity to work with an orchestra eager to rehearse, a fully committed board, and a warm and responsive audience, is a joy. The program that I chose for January’s concert was varied and brought out the flexibility of the orchestra. From the virtuosic string writing of Stravinsky’s Apollo, the classic writing of Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony (taken, of course, at the composer’s metronome markings!) and Weingartner’s almost unknown transcription of Beethoven’s An die ferne Geliebte, this was a concert that demanded an absolute need to move with assurance from one style to the next, in a way that served the wishes of the composer. It was exciting to see how well the orchestra navigated these challenges to turn in a rousing performance."