Former San Luis Obispo Symphony Music Director Michael Nowak has been invited to conduct three concerts this upcoming season as one of a handful of guest conductors. He has until Thursday to decide.
If he accepts, Nowak — who led the orchestra for 31 years before his ouster in May — will conduct two of the symphony’s Classics in the Cohan concerts, as well as the Apex for Kids children’s concert.
Guest conductors from across the United States will helm the remaining three Classics in the Cohan series, as well as a New Year’s Eve pops concert, the nonprofit said Monday.
They’ll be chosen collectively by the orchestra and symphony staff. No conductors are needed at the three planned chamber concerts.
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The 2015-2016 season season kicks off Oct. 3 at the Performing Arts Center in San Luis Obispo.
In a decision that was announced publicly May 14, the San Luis Obispo Symphony’s board of directors voted unanimously to terminate Nowak’s contract — leading to threats of resignation by symphony musicians.
No official reason has been given for Nowak’s ouster.
Since then, the symphony board, staff and orchestra have worked to open lines of communication — leading to the creation a month ago of an orchestra advisory committee consisting of symphony musicians.
“This has been an intensely challenging process for the entire organization,” board President Liz Summer said Monday.
According to Lisa Nauful, an orchestra member and communications director of the San Luis Obispo Symphony, a full slate of performances is planned for the fall, winter and spring.
This year’s Pops by the Sea concert, traditionally held Labor Day weekend in Avila Beach, was canceled.
According to Nauful, the symphony board, staff and orchestra musicians decided to suspend Pops by the Sea in part because the annual concert has not been profitable for four of the past five years and because it required so much time and effort to produce.
More importantly, “We wanted our energy to go into the (upcoming) season,’’ Summer said Monday. “Getting everyone back on track … that takes a lot of energy and a lot of focus.’’
The symphony has been under increasing financial pressure in recent years, reporting a loss of $13,400 in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2014 — the most recent information available.
A loss is anticipated for the fiscal year just ended June 30, but the extent has not yet been determined, according to Jeff Brady, board treasurer.