The Wilmington Community Orchestra will be playing its 2015-16 under the baton of a new conductor.
The Music School of Delaware selected Jonathan Moser to be the orchestra’s music director after a yearlong search that drew more than 30 candidates. He replaces Timothy Schwarz who has been leading the orchestra since 2007.
The search committee felt that Moser’s musicianship and interpersonal skills made him well-suited to lead an ensemble of amateur players.
“Primarily what we were looking for was someone who was community-oriented, who understood the role of the community orchestra in the region and who was really comfortable working with a group of adults who range in age from 18 to 88,” says Music School Dean Cheri Astolfi who chaired the search committee.
Moser indeed has a special fondness for the community orchestra. He started playing violin with the Edgewood Symphony Orchestra in his native Pittsburgh at age 10.
“The community orchestra happens within the community,” he says. “It’s much less like Pittsburgh or Philadelphia where people come to the symphony. It’s more like the symphony is a part of the community which it serves.”
Moser, 40, holds a master’s degree in performance from Arizona State University and a bachelor’s in performance from Shenandoah University. He has also pursued additional performance studies at the doctoral level. This fall he will serve as orchestra director at Kutztown University. Moser also recently joined the Philadelphia International Music Festival as Orchestra Program and Adjudication Director.
Before moving to Philadelphia, Moser was director of orchestras and instructor of music at Westminster College. He also served as adjunct faculty in the music department of Grove City College, a department his great-grandfather founded. He has been music director at University Presbyterian Church, Providence Presbyterian Church and Proclamation Presbyterian Church.
Moser is also an accomplished tenor and will sing and play violin in “An Argentine Musicale” next month in Philadelphia, an event inspired by the festivities surrounding the papal visit.
Moser’s wife Mary teaches violin at the Music School. Their three children are budding musicians who take lessons there.
Music School President and CEO Kate Ransom, who monitored the search, feels Moser’s talents as a violinist and orchestral conductor will enable him to draw a more sophisticated and cohesive sound from the WCO.
“Being able to communicate with the string section about how to utilize the bow, how to work with tone production and articulation, that is something that is usually handled best by someone who is himself or herself a string player,” says Ransom who is also a professional violinist. “It’s something really central to shaping the sound of the orchestra and Jonathan’s background as a very accomplished violinist is certainly an asset in that regard.”
Moser is eager to help the members of the WCO improve their musicianship. He is selecting repertoire that is both challenging and enjoyable to play. “I love music and I love helping people accomplish what they don’t think they can accomplish.”