Photo Credit: Dave Irvine
FLAGSTAFF, ARIZONA (March 30th, 2017) – The Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra has announced the appointment of Charles Latshaw as the new Music Director, beginning July 1. Latshaw will fill the vacancy left by Elizabeth Schulze, who is leaving after nine years of conducting the orchestra. Her final performance at the podium will be the April 21 concert at Ardrey Memorial Auditorium on the NAU campus.
Latshaw will be introduced to Flagstaff at the “Dancing For Our Stars” symphony gala dinner, dance and auction to be held Saturday, April 8, at High Country Conference Center. Five celebrity couples, including Mayor Coral Evans, will perform in a dance competition based on the popular TV dance show. Tickets for the event are still available by calling the NAU Central Ticket Office at 928-523-5661.
“I couldn’t possibly be happier about coming to Flagstaff,” Latshaw said. “When I was here for my audition week in October, every rehearsal, every meeting, every experience felt like the orchestra and I fit together perfectly. The FSO is a shining jewel in Northern Arizona, and I am so happy to be invited to be a part of its great legacy.” His first performance with the orchestra will be on September 29.
“We’re going to do so many amazing things together!” Latshaw said. “This orchestra is so strong, so vigorous, and such a vital part of the Flagstaff community.”
Currently the Music Director of the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra (Colorado), until 2016 Latshaw was the director of the Kent/Blossom Music Festival (Ohio)and the Kent State University Orchestra. He previously served as Artistic Director and Conductor of the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra in Indiana. Latshaw has also held conducting positions with the Indianapolis Symphony, Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, Washington Sinfonietta, and Ars Nova Chamber Orchestra. He was selected by members of the Vienna Philharmonic as their Herbert von Karajan conducting fellow in 2007. He holds a master’s degree and a doctorate in instrumental conducting from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.
Latshaw is firmly dedicated to bringing orchestral music to new audiences, especially young people. Growing up in Ohio, he started playing trumpet in fifth grade. He has taught band, choir, general music, and musical theater to students of all ages. He has served as faculty for summer music programs, including the Rocky Ridge Music Center, Columbus Indiana Philharmonic Strings Camp, and Palace Theatre summer programs. He has led “Side by Side” concerts for high school students with the Indianapolis Symphony, Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, and the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra. He is also an enthusiastic advocate of accessible and exciting contemporary works.
Latshaw has held the position of principal trumpet in orchestras in Ohio, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. He has performed with jazz bands as a trumpet player, vocalist, and band leader. In addition, he has appeared in acting and singing roles with the Palace Professional Theater of Manchester and the New Hampshire State Opera. Performance tours have taken him to Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic, as well as across the United States.
Latshaw is an enthusiast of building and operating camera-equipped unmanned aerial vehicle (UAVs), better known as drones. Along with his wife Kelley, an accountant and flutist, and their dog, Henry, he enjoys spending time in the woods, camping, hiking, and skiing.
FSO Board president Stan Sutherland chaired the Search Committee, which was composed of FSO musicians, board members, and leaders from the community. He said, “The committee started with a pool of over 100 applicants, and we gradually narrowed the field to 4 outstanding finalists. During their audition weeks, they all performed at a very high level, and the final selection was difficult. But one candidate stood out as being the best fit for our town, our orchestra, and our plans to expand the reach and impact of the FSO. The Board is very pleased with the committee’s choice, and we are excited to welcome Charles to our Flagstaff family.”
Financial support for the search process was provided by the sponsorship of Flagstaff law firm Aspey, Watkins & Diesel, Northern Arizona’s Law Firm.