Wilbur Lin named third music director in Missouri Symphony history

Wilbur Lin

Wilbur Lin will become just the third music director in the Missouri Symphony's more than 50 years of history, the Symphony announced Friday.

Lin was one of four music director candidates who guided the Missouri Symphony Orchestra through its recent Hot Summer Nights festival which, this year, doubled as a sort of living, breathing, music-making audition.

The Taiwanese-American conductor succeeds Maestro Kirk Trevor, who led the Symphony creatively from 2000 through his retirement last year. Founder Hugo Vianello conducted the orchestra from 1970 to 1998.

"Together we will build on top of a strong foundation of artistic excellency and make Columbia a community that is well served with world class performances, equitable music education, and impactful community engagement," Lin said in a Symphony post on Facebook.

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Working widely, and innovating as he goes, Lin was recently assistant conductor with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Along with leading the Missouri Symphony, he will become conductor for the Northern Illinois University Philharmonic and Opera Theatre this fall, the release noted.

Lin's other credits include work with the Taipei Symphony Orchestra, and his role as founder of Chamber Philharmonic Taipei.

"The administrative staff of the Missouri Symphony is thrilled to welcome Wilbur Lin as our new music director. We look forward to collaborating with Maestro Lin to implement a fresh and relevant artistic vision for MOSY and our community," Symphony Executive Director Trent Rash said in a statement.

Discussing each candidate, Rash told the Tribune in June that he valued Lin's intentionality in choosing repertoire and his ability to articulate the why behind the pieces he programs.

A committee composed of staff, board members, musicians and Missouri Symphony Conservatory parents considered the four candidates, looking for someone who could both educate students and inspire at the podium, Rash said.

The committee also weighed the importance of representation; its initial list of candidates included 22 people of color, and around half were women, Rash said. Narrowing the search to four, Symphony staff ensured it would select the first non-white male music director in the ensemble's history, which it does with Lin's appointment.

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The longevity of leaders such as Vianello and Trevor is rare, Rash said this summer, expressing his hope that the next music director stays for at least one or two standard three-year contracts.

Learn more about the Symphony and future programming at https://themosy.org/.

Aarik Danielsen is the features and culture editor for the Tribune. Contact him at adanielsen@columbiatribune.com or by calling 573-815-1731. Find him on Twitter @aarikdanielsen.

This article originally appeared on Columbia Daily Tribune: Wilbur Lin named third music director in Missouri Symphony history