Former BPO trombonist Stefan Sanders will move to the front of the orchestra in his new role as associate conductor. He was chosen after a six-month search that brought 10 qualified candidates to Western New York.
Sanders' new role will see him leading the Music for Youth concerts and the BPO Kids series. He will also be on the podium for some of the concerts in the "Pops" series, will serve as cover conductor for the "Classics" series concerts, and will lead one concert in the "Know the Score" series.
Sanders is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and the Juilliard School. He began his career as a trombonist with the BPO in 1999 after winning the position while a student at Juilliard. He was a member of the BPO's trombone section until 2006. He also served as a substitute with the New York Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony and Florida Orchestra, and was a guest trombonist in Seattle Opera's performance of Wagner's "Der Ring des Nibelungen."
Sanders was a fellow at the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen under the tutelage of maestros Robert Spano, Larry Rachleff and Hugh Wolff. He did a one-year stint as apprentice conductor with the BPO, and went on to serve as music director for the university orchestra at University of Texas at Austin and the assistant conductor of the Austin Symphony Orchestra. He continues in his role as music director of the Round Rock Symphony Orchestra in Round Rock, Texas. He has been a guest conductor for a number of orchestras, among them, the San Antonio Symphony and the Naples Philharmonic, and was recently seen on the BPO's podium for the Jan. 23 "Know The Score" concert, which was titled "Copland's America" and featured a collaboration with LehrerDance.
"Sanders' talent, enthusiasm, passion for music and experience in youth engagement will be tremendous assets to the orchestra," said BPO Music Director JoAnn Falletta. "He was an extraordinary member of the trombone section. The musicians and I are thrilled to work with him on a different level, and pleased that he will be part of the BPO's ongoing story."
"The BPO and the entire Buffalo community are so very special to me," Sanders said. "I am deeply honored and incredibly excited to be returning during these vibrant times. It will be an absolute joy to work with this world-class orchestra and JoAnn Falletta once again."