Four more years of Rei: Fresno Philharmonic renews contract with Hotoda, announces 2021-22 season

Rei Hotoda is re-upping her Fresno Philharmonic conductor gig.

Happy news in Fresno Philharmonic Land: Music director Rei Hotoda has renewed her contract through the 2024-25 season.

She took over in Fresno for the 2017-18 season, so her tenure will be nearing a decade by the end of her second contract. Believe me, Rei, this place will grab hold of you!

Here’s her official statement:

These past four years with the Fresno Philharmonic have been a remarkable journey. While we have traveled so far and made such inroads, we still have so much more to do. The 2021-22 season will be a continuation of the important work we have started. We will embrace and promote composers of color, indigenous composers and female composers to better reflect the community we serve. We will recommit ourselves to using music to express the hopes and dreams for humanity.

Another exciting development: The orchestra will return to live, in-person concerts in the 2021-22 season, which kicks off Sept. 11 at Shahgoian Hall with returning guest artist Joyce Yang (who remains to this day one of my favorite classical-music interviews) on piano playing the Liszt Piano Concerto No. 1. With three fall Masterworks concerts scheduled at Shaghoian Hall, the orchestra is starting out in a smaller-scale venue, but by the time December rolls around for the traditional “Home for the Holidays” concert, the larger Saroyan Theatre will again host the musicians. That venue will continue for three more Masterworks concerts in winter and spring.


Other highlights include:

• World premieres by two California composers: John Wineglass’ “Alone/Together” and Fresno State professor Kenneth Froelich’s “Melt.”

• Hotoda will play and conduct Mozart’s Concerto for Two Pianos with pianist Fabio Bidini.

• Along with Yang, guest artists Robert McDuffie and Jorge Montilla Moreno will perform with the orchestra.

• A Martin Luther King concert pairs works by Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate and Adolphus Hailstork with Dvořák’s New World Symphony. Both composers were stars of the orchestra’s 2020-21 virtual season.

• More familiar names such as composers Juan Pablo Contreras and Gabriela Lena Frank are on the season schedule.

• “Mahler Here and Now,” a multi-season survey of the composer, begins with Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, Titan.

There are many more details to come, of course. But for now: Congratulations to Hotoda and the orchestra for lots of promise ahead.

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Covering the arts online in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond. Lover of theater, classical music, visual arts, the literary arts and all creative endeavors. Former Fresno Bee arts critic and columnist. Graduate of Columbia University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Excited to be exploring the new world of arts journalism.

Comments (2)

  • Walter Saul

    Wonderful news all around!

  • Jim Mendez

    I am glad music director Rei Hotoda renewed her contract. She has not only raised the performance level of the Fresno Philharmonic, she has widened the scope of music the orchestra performs. I have heard music I have not heard before, from composers I was not familiar with. I have also enjoyed the performances of members of the orchestra in small settings like the Bitwise South Stadium. Thank you Rei Hotoda.


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