The Empire State Youth Orchestra board of directors has announced the hiring of a new music director and conductor.
Carlos Agreda, a native of Colombia, emerged from a pool of about 70 candidates. He will come to the Capital Region in early June and take over for Music Director Helen Cha-Pyo as she closes out the season after 16 years with the organization.
“Mr. Ágreda is simply an amazing musician. He has talent and technique. We were impressed by the fluency, brightness and energy of this exceptional candidate,” said Abbe Kovacik, chair of the ESYO board.
“His conducting demonstrates flexibility and expressiveness. He is thoughtful and humble; insightful beyond his years. He is affable and engaging. During his audition he clearly connected with the youth. Mr. Ágreda has limitless potential and talent, and combined with his already considerable experience, he was clearly the ideal choice,” said Kovacik.
Ágreda has worked with a variety of orchestras, including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the Manchester Camerata, the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Philharmonic, the Colombia National Symphony Orchestra and the Liverpool Mozart Orchestra.
He most recently was a conducting fellow at Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.
“I am passionate about symphonic music and its power to make society better,” said Agreda. “I am very excited and honored to take on this responsibility of serving the region through music education. ESYO has a particularly important role because our young musicians are not only future audience members in the area, they are also building our future society and broadening the perception of quality in the arts.”
Ágreda received international attention at the age of 22 when he reached the third round in the Cadaqués Orchestra International Conducting Competition 2013, being the youngest and one of the final candidates. He won the competition for young Colombian conductors to conduct the Colombia National Symphony
Orchestra in its 2014 season, while he served as music director of the Orchestral Corporation of Colombia.
He has a wide variety of musical interests and repertoire that range from opera to contemporary to Latin-American music. His approach to new music has been cultivated by conducting more than 30 world premieres in the United States, Columbia and the United Kingdom.
The ESYO search committee included student musicians who participate in the program.
Empire State Youth Orchestra (ESYO) challenges and inspires young people to achieve excellence through music in a rigorous learning environment leading to high-level performance opportunities.
More than 500 youth from the Capital Region and western New England are selected by audition each year for the ESYO program. ESYO has a total of 10 performing ensembles that collectively give approximately 30 performances a year.
In 2015, ESYO launched ESYO CHIME (Creating Harmony, Inspiring Musical Excellence). ESYO CHIME seeks to expand access to music in underserved communities, and by doing so, empower children and their families to overcome the barriers to musical excellence caused by economic inequality.