After 10 years of memorable concerts and continued orchestral growth under his gifted baton, Maestro Peter Shannon has decided to step down as artistic director and conductor of the Savannah Philharmonic Orchestra. Shannon will remain in his current position as conductor through the end of this celebratory 10th season.
"I am exceedingly proud of what we have built together in Savannah,” said Shannon. “The people of this city have shown me and my family so much love and support, and have empowered me to cultivate a passionate and talented group of musicians from all over the country, bringing them together as Savannah's orchestra with a sound and character all of its own.
"Ten years is a significant milestone for an orchestra's artistic leadership, and I feel like now is the time to turn my focus to new artistic pursuits, both in the U.S. and in Europe. This has been a difficult decision, but it is the right one for me and my family, and Savannah will always have place in our hearts.”
Samir Nikocevic, chairman of the Philharmonic's board of directors, said, “The board of directors thanks Peter for his immense artistic contribution over the years and we wish him all the best in his future endeavors. We value Peter’s many contributions and recognize the tremendous impact he has had on the Savannah Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus. Peter Shannon’s accomplishments will be remembered; going forward we will build upon his numerous successes.”
Savannah’s Philharmonic is looking toward a bright future as it plans its second decade of fulfilling its mission to enrich, educate and instruct the community through orchestral and choral performances and programming, and to promote and increase community knowledge and appreciation of the arts.
The Philharmonic is enjoying a 10th season of concerts and community outreach under the administrative leadership of executive director Terri O’Neil. The search for the next Philharmonic conductor and musical director is already being planned and a search committee comprised of board members, musicians and patrons will be formed.
“From its very modest beginning to today, 10 years later, under Peter's artistic leadership and on-stage charisma, the Savannah Philharmonic and Chorus has blossomed into a stable and much appreciated community asset,” said Herb McKenzie, a long-standing board member.
The Philharmonic has recently announced a number of new appointments, including Leslie Harris as development director, Kristen Spiridon as education and outreach coordinator and Matt Caine as chorusmaster. The organization is also expanding numerous initiatives, including the much-admired Integrative Medicine Program, which Peter Shannon established at Memorial Health and which brings the power of music to sick children and adults.
Read more about the Philharmonic's Nov. 17 concert with Irish tenor Anthony Kearns at dosavannah.com. Find tickets and more information at savannahphilharmonic.org.