Shizuo Kuwahara  

Rookie Music Director - Journey for Finding Answers

Shizuo Kuwahara
March 1, 2019

Editor's Abstract (Click to Hide)

In the following article, conductor Shizuo Zuwahara, also known as "Z," chronicles the months leading up to and following his appointment as Music Director of Symphony Orchestra Augusta (formerly the Augusta Symphony Orchestra). Z talks about the existing conditions he faced when entering an organization that was desperately in need of change. From the moment he was appointed music director, Z used great vision and mindfulness of the community to work with existing orchestra leadership and develop a new mission for the orchestra's future. He helped the organization revisit the overall image of the orchestra and work cooperatively on deciding how they wanted to be perceived by the community. In this article, Z presents a great example of leadership off the podium, which will inevitably lead to greater artistic experiences for the musicians and the community of Augusta.

- Stephen Danyew

Rookie Music Director

December 2009

- Journey for Finding Answers -

By Shizuo Z Kuwahara

Augusta, Georgia… On the steps of Sacred Heart Cultural Center at 11 a.m., President of the Augusta Symphony Board of Directors, Phil Caldwell, announces on Wednesday, March 25, 2019 that Shizuo Z Kuwahara has accepted the Symphony’s offer to serve as Music Director of the Augusta Symphony Orchestra, effective July 1st.

So it began – the beginning of a new chapter in my life: my first music directorship with a professional symphony orchestra.

The orchestra’s search committee invited me to visit Augusta to conduct a subscription concert in January, earlier this year.My schedule throughout the week was packed with TV, radio, and newspaper interviews as well as meetings with many individuals.Interestingly, it seemed the question that was posed to me the most was “how will you build new audience?”I had some ideas from other orchestras and also ideas of my own, but I immediately realized that there was a key element missing from this orchestra – identity.

Any successful organization, not necessary just in the music industry, must have a strong identity.Without an identity that a wide range of people can relate to, I knew it would be difficult to connect with the community.Some members of the audience told me that the image of the orchestra has been ‘music for high-class people.’ At the conclusion of my initial visit, I also felt an energy and will from musicians, staff and supporters of the orchestra – they were ready for a change.

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