After a brief but thorough renegotiation process, TBSO President Linda Penner and TBSO Music Director Paul Haas are pleased to announce the renewal and extension of his contract with the Thunder Bay Symphony for the next four years.
“We couldn’t be more delighted to have Paul for another four years,” says Penner. “Not only will the community and our audiences have the opportunity to enjoy the full range of what he brings to our stage, but it gives the orchestra greater stability both artistically and operationally over the next few years.”
“When I came to Thunder Bay almost three years ago I was excited by the challenges,” says Haas. “After Arthur Post left there was a period of time when the orchestra was without a music director, so it was somewhat adrift artistically. The orchestra also faced financial challenges. I also learned that the social and cultural dynamics of the community were changing. It was an interesting time to be here.” He continues. “Since then we’ve added annual Indigenous concerts to our schedule, we’ve upped our educational program, we’ve created new repertoire to reflect our unique geographic location in the world, and we’ve reached out to our loyal patrons and new audiences. And that’s gone a long way to help pay down our deficit, so it’s been quite a ride.”
Linda Penner concurs. “Paul has brought new energy to our orchestra in a time of transition. There are many new faces onstage as our older musicians retire and others move on. Since Paul has arrived more than a third of our players are new. Paul’s collaborative style with his team has made these—and many other transitions—the smoothest they could be, and the sound of the orchestra has never been better.”
Given the support Haas has received in 2017 it seems the community agrees. At the signing after Tuesday’s board meeting, Haas recognized his Musician Chair Sponsors, Brian and Gail Scott, who are financially contributing to supporting his position annually. “Without supporters like Brian and Gail, keeping this orchestra alive and thriving would be far more difficult. Their support, and the support of others like them, allows me to
concentrate on delivering the best music possible, without the additional stress of financial pressure, and I’m very grateful for that,” says Haas.
The Scotts, who were out of town and unable to attend the signing added, “We’re delighted to have Paul with us for another four years. He brings a magic to the podium and an energy to the orchestra that takes us all to another level. What good news!”
Prior to officially signing, Penner and Haas announced to the board that programming for the next four years has already taken shape. “Approaching programming with a longer horizon in view means we can create a more cohesive arc for our music. For example, we can plan a multi-year presentation of Brahms or Nordic composers,” Haas says. “With my four-year contract renewal I can see all of that through, and that’s a great gift.”
You can catch Maestro Haas’ work his magic with the TBSO in their next mainstage performance, “Sibelius Sings”, featuring soloist Thomas Cosbey, the Thunder Bay Youth Orchestra and the Thunder Bay Symphony Chorus on Thursday, February 6th at the Auditorium. Yes, music lovers, the ever-popular Finlandia is on the program.