Thursday, August 6, 2009

Our Conductor, J.R. Cassidy

Hello again,

If you have been to one or two performances, or if you are new to the KSO, or even if you have been an avid fan for many years, I would like to introduce you to our Music Director and Executive Director, James R. Cassidy.

J.R. brings experience as an educator, arts administrator, and conductor to the KSO. Under his 16-year leadership, we have grown 37-fold in budget, launched summer and education programs, and expanded the orchestra’s musical offerings and outreach by launching several subsidiary groups including the KSO Chorale, the Boogie Band, Newport Ragtime Band and Flood Wall Jazz Quintet. These groups allow the KSO to perform in locations that may not be able to accommodate a full orchestra. Also, they add a measure of diversity to the music we offer to our audiences. This past weekend, the Newport Ragtime Band put on an authentic performance called "Black Bottom Stomp," at Devou Park The show featured original ragtime, blues, stride, dixieland and early jazz. The band performed numbers by Scott Joplin, W.C. Handy, Artie Matthews, "Jelly Roll" Morton, and many more renowned ragtime musicians. In the next 6 weeks, the Boogie Band will have two performances that pay tribute to the horn bands of the 1970s. J.R.'s development of the KSO's four subsidiaries and his ability to conduct them has proven to be an invaluable asset to our organization.

A Florida native, Cassidy has been music director of the Florida Ballet Theatre and the Tampa Chamber Symphony. He has guest conducted for the Florida and St. Petersburg opera, the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, and Cincinnati Philharmonia Orchestra and the Cincinnati Opera. Cassidy holds degrees from the Hyperlink to University of South Florida and the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music.

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