CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Symphony Orchestra announced its 2016-2017 season along with six conductor finalists Friday.

The search committee has been interviewing candidates from around the world to replace current Maestro Grant Cooper who announced his retirement last year. There were 167 applicants.

“We narrowed it down to the top and best six, so we’re looking forward to the community’s input,” said Shiva Shafii, marketing manager for the WVSO.

Each candidate will be conducting one of the symphonic concerts during the upcoming season which runs from Sept. 2016 through May 2017.

“It’s kind of like a live audition for the entire community,” Shafii said. “They’ll be here for the entire week spending the week in West Virginia, going out into the communities, going the schools, working with the youth orchestra and the strings programs in the schools.”

The candidates and concert dates at the Clay Center are as follows:

Sept. 17, 2016 – Kayko Dan, music director of the Chattanooga Symphony

Oct. 5, 2016 – Keitaro Harada, associate conductor of the Cinnicinati Symphony

Nov. 12, 2016 – Stilian Kirov, assistant conductor of the Seattle Symphony

Mar. 4, 2017 – Dan Meyer, music director of the Erie Philharmonic

Apr. 8, 2017 – Lawrence Loh, resident conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony

May 6, 2017 – Kevin Rhodes, music director of the Springfiled Symphony Orchestra

This season will include worldwide talent, Shafii said. All show times will start at 7:30 p.m.

The ZMM Architects and Engineers Pops Series will be conducted by Meastro Grant Cooper. Those concerts include:

“The Wizard of Oz Live” – the full length film accompanied by live orchestra
Oct. 8, 2016 – Charleston

“Home for the Holidays”
Dec. 1, 2016 – Lewisburg
Dec. 3, 2016 – Charleston
Dec. 4, 2016 – Parkersburg
Dec. 5, 2016 – Morgantown

“Sgt. Pepper” – a journey through the 1960s featuring Beatles’ hits
Mar. 18, 2017 – Charleston
Mar. 19, 2017 – Parkersburg

“Country Roads” – a tribute to country hits
May 13, 2017 – Charleston

The committee will announce the new conductor in Summer 2017.

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