Last Wednesday, it was Laura Jackson’s turn to impress the Berkeley Symphony audience and perhaps follow Kent Nagano as music director. Hugh Wolff and Guillermo Figueroa showed their stuff earlier this season, and three more candidates are going to do the same this fall. How did she measure up? Let’s examine the criteria of programming choices, technique, interpretation, and orchestral management. Jackson scored high marks for interesting selections. Darius Milhaud’s La création du monde (The creation of the world) is infrequently played, despite its historical fame as one of the first classical pieces with prominent jazz elements after World War I. Many of the phrases Milhaud picked up in New York for his piece quickly became clichés, so the piece is a little worse for wear. But its variety and high spirits still make it entertaining for the listener. Two pieces by Susan Botti (b. 1962) came next on the program. These were both inspired by the poem “The Exchange,” by May Swensen. The first was a setting of the words for tenor and harp. The second, Translucence, for orchestra, is based on interpretations of mental images generated from Swensen’s phrases (“Populous and mixed is mind,” “Earth, take thought,” and “I will be time”), plus musical material from the tenor-harp setting. Jackson’s choices were laudable, showing a commitment to contemporary music, recognition for quality female composers, and a willingness to vary the conventional concerto with a piece for chamber soloists instead. While the inclusion of Botti’s song brought a measure of variety, its overly predictable melodic line did not make me anxious to hear it again. However, tenor Thomas Glenn, well-assisted by Wendy Tamis on harp, provided a superb voice for the piece. Translucence, by contrast, seemed far more inventive. Little of the ordinary music from the song intruded, and Botti showed that she was a skilled and inventive orchestrator, worthy of greater exposure. Finally, to spotlight her skills with the standard repertoire, Jackson concluded the evening with Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, a surefire audience-pleaser. Like many of Tchaikovsky’s works, Rimsky-Korsakov’s piece suffers from excessive, near-literal repetition, but the tunes and drama are engaging. Furthermore, the work’s many solo passages, giving different first chairs a chance to shine, turn Scheherazade into a box of candies for creating good will among key orchestra members.