Longtime Spokane Symphony director Eckart Preu looks forward to next adventure

Longtime Spokane Symphony director Eckart Preu looks forward to next adventure

This weekend will be the end of an era at the Spokane Symphony, as long time music director Eckart Preu conducts his farewell performance as head of the symphony.

“What is really special about this orchestra is that they are always willing to go the extra mile, this was always a very kind orchestra,” he said.

Preu’s 15-year tenure has seen many changes, notably the revitalization of the landmark Martin Woldson Theatre at the Fox.

“It has been an absolute priviledge to play here,” he said. “It was a journey, I started as a young conductor and now I’m fairly old.”

His interpretations of the greats, and exploration of the new and upcoming has thrilled audiences, and with his long stay, many may have been lulled into a sense of comfort and familiarity. But that’s exactly what Preu says he wants to avoid, for both himself and his audiences.

“That is what art is all about, as soon as you settle in you get used to something you are prone to relax too much, and art is not about relaxation and music is not about relaxation,” he said. “Even though we listen to music in elevators and restaurants, that is not the purpose. The purpose is to be very emotional and give soul-touching experiences.

Eckart says he takes pride in the fact that he belives the symphony has grown and become a more diverse group under his baton, but won’t give the next music director any tips besides this one.

“Make them trust you,” he said, “once you have gained their trust, sky is the limit.”

The symphony has just concluded interviewing their five music director candidates, and an announcement on Preu’s replacement will be made in the coming weeks.

Preu meantime, will not be exiting the world of music as he will be taking the reins of the Portland (Maine) Symphony, while also keeping his position with the Long Beach Symphony.

“As an artist you always look for the next adventure and challenge, and I think I will find it in Portland,” he said.

You may yet see him in the crowd at the Fox however, as the German born conductor says he and his family have found a home in the Lilac City.

“Roots are important, especially when you travel so much,” he said, “and I feel like I have my roots here.”

Tickets are still available to his final performances this weekend. Click here to go to the Spokane Symphony website.

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