Organization will select its new artistic director, also replacing Cohen, from one of a trio of guest conductors leading concerts in the 2018-19 season.

PictureRichard Aldag. Photo by Luca Aldag.

Less than a month after Mill Valley Philharmonic founder and artistic director Laurie Cohen’s retired with a pair of performances of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D minor at Dominican University, the organization has hired a new executive director and laid the groundwork for the selection of a new artistic director, replacing the venerable Cohen with two people.

​“It will take two leadership positions to fill our founder’s shoes,” says Board President Elizabeth Dinsel. “We are committed to honoring Laurie’s vision: under our new leadership, MVP will continue to serve the community through free concerts featuring great works from the symphonic repertoire.” 

The organization announced Thursday night that it has hired Richard Aldag, former executive director at the Napa Valley Symphony, the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra and Lincoln Theater Napa Valley, as its executive director. Aldag will spearhead the organization’s day-to-day operations and play a leadership role in fundraising and community-building in partnership with the Board of Directors. 

The board also chose three guest conductors – Paul Phillips, the director of orchestral studies and associate professor of music at Stanford University; Dana Sadava, the artistic director of Pasadena Opera, among myriad other roles; and Alexander Kahn, associate professor of music and director of orchestral activities at Sonoma State University, where he directs the Sonoma State Symphony Orchestra – to each lead one of the concert series planned for the 2018-19 season. Based on input from the musicians and audience members, MVP will then select one of them as its next permanent artistic director/conductor.

The programs and soloists will be announced in the coming weeks, with all free concerts to be held at the Mt. Tamalpais United Methodist Church in Mill Valley.

The mission of MVP is “to enrich the cultural life of the Bay Area by offering free orchestral programs to people of all ages and means in their own communities,” according to the organization’s website. “As an organization, MVP believes that music is a vital part of individual and community life. Whether participating as a player or as a listener, music engages our imaginative powers, awakens our aesthetic sensibilities, and inspires our creative expression.”

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