Music News & Reviews

Michael Nowak leaves SLO Symphony after 30 years

Conductor Michael Nowak leads the San Luis Obispo Symphony through a rehearsal in 2011.
Conductor Michael Nowak leads the San Luis Obispo Symphony through a rehearsal in 2011. The Tribune

Michael Nowak has stepped down as music director of the San Luis Obispo Symphony after more than three decades with the nonprofit organization.

“In his 31 years with the San Luis Obispo Symphony, Michael has had a profound impact in building both a renowned orchestra and a prized community asset,” said India D'Avignon, president of the symphony's board of directors, said in a news release Thursday.

No reason was given for Nowak's departure in the news release.

D'Avignon and Nowak were not immediately available for comment.

A graduate of Indiana University, Nowak worked with YMF Debut Orchestra, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and the Oregon Bach Festival before joining the San Luis Obispo Symphony in 1984.

During his tenure, he’s led the symphony on four tours — to Spain in 1996, New York’s Carnegie Hall in 2001, the Sydney Opera House in 2006 and Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles in 2008.

Nowak, who lives in Los Osos, also works as a Hollywood conductor and studio musician. His recent screen credits include “Life of Pi,” “The Fault in Our Stars” and “Once Upon a Time.”

With Nowak’s departure, San Luis Obispo Symphony programs will “proceed as planned with the help of guest conductors,” the news release said, as the board searches for a new music director.

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