(Wheeling, WV) Wheeling Symphony Orchestra (WSO) announces its 2018-2019 season, featuring four music director candidates: Timothy Hankewich, Andrés Franco, Silas Huff, and John Devlin; eight subscription concerts; and the return of Ohio Valley’s number one family holiday event: Symphony On Ice.  The symphony will also continue its Fourth of July Tour, Music Under the Stars, Young People’s Concert Tour and its WSO on the GO series for its 89th Season.

The 2018-19 season features four of the country’s most innovative conductors, showcasing their artistic talent and vying for a chance to lead our orchestra into its next chapter, and Ohio Valley residents are at the forefront of this venture.  The Masterworks season features programs designed by each of the candidates with composers like Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Mozart, and Strauss, mixed with each conductors’ inventive and artistic excellence. The Pops Season shines with songwriting legends, smash-hits, superhero music, and Broadway stars. It’s a season unlike any other, and the symphony wants its community to drive the orchestra and its new maestro into the 90th Anniversary.

The Music Director search began with an eleven-person search committee, comprised of WSO Board members, Community Members, and WSO Musicians.  The search yielded over 65 qualified applicants.  The committee narrowed the search to nine semi-finalists.  After interviewing each of the semi-finalists, four finalists were selected and asked to conduct two concerts (one Pops and one Masterworks) during the 18-19 season.

“The quality and diversity of the applicants was remarkable,” says Paul T. Tucker, Chair of the Music Director Search Committee.  “We have selected an amazingly talented group of finalists, who bring unique experiences, innovative ideas and musicianship to share with the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra and the community.  It is a testament to the reputation of our orchestra, and to the desirability of our position, that so many highly qualified musicians applied from all over the country and indeed the world.”

Tim Hankewich

The season opens with Music Director candidate, Timothy Hankewich.  Tim is a resident of Cedar Rapids, Iowa and is the Music Director of Orchestra Iowa.  During his tenure, Orchestra Iowa has markedly expanded its audiences and programs, adding opera, ballet, chamber music, and jazz to its regular season presentations.  Tim will conduct Pops 1: Surf’s Up! A Tribute to the Beach Boys, featuring Phil Dirt and the Dozers and Masterworks 1: Tchaikovsky’s Pathetique.

Andrés Franco

The season continues with finalist, Andrés Franco.  Andrés is a resident of Pittsburgh, where he is an Associate Conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony.  He is also the Music Director of the Signature Symphony at Tulsa Community College in Oklahoma.  South American by birth, he has a close relationship with multiple orchestras in South America, and is a passionate advocate for the music of South American composers.  Andrés will conduct Masterworks 1: A Night in Vienna and Pops 3: Music of the Knights: Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, Sir Elton John, and Sir Paul McCartney.

Silas Huff

Music Director finalist, Silas Huff starts 2019 by conducting Pops 2: Superheroes! Silas presently resides in Boulder, Colorado.  Recently, he served for six years in the United States Army as conductor of various military ensembles.  He was Commander of the US Army School of Music, Director of the US Army Orchestra, and Director of the Pershing’s Own Army Band.  Silas is also Founder and Music Director Emeritus for the Astoria Symphony Orchestra.  Silas will also conduct the final concert of the 2018-19 season Masterworks 4: Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony.

John Devlin

John Devlin rounds out the music director finalists.  John is presently a resident of the Washington, D.C. area.  He has a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland School of Music.  He is the Assistant Conductor of the Princeton, NJ Symphony; the Founder, Artistic Director and Conductor of Gourmet Symphony, an innovative concert series that pairs locally-sourced cuisine with classical music; and a Cover Conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra.  John has also been recently named Hawaii Youth Symphony Music Director and Artistic Director of the Pacific Music Institute.  He will conduct Masterworks 3: Brahms: Symphony No. 4 and Pops 4: Once upon a time…, featuring Soprano Sierra Boggess, Broadway’s Ariel in The Little Mermaid.

“With the excitement of these four candidates and our commitment to providing excellent orchestral programming to the Wheeling community, we’ve added an eighth concert to our subscription season,” says Executive Director, Bruce Wheeler.  “The music director search and our 89th season is about engaging our patrons, friends, sponsors, donors, and community partners.  We want you to come and meet these candidates, see what they are all about, and help us determine who will lead the Wheeling Symphony into its 90th season.”

2018-19 subscription packages will be available for purchase, starting at 4 concerts or more.  Single tickets will not be available until later this year.  For ticket pricing and subscription packaging, visit wheelingsymphony.com or call 304-232-6191.


Friday, September 21, 2018 at 7:30 pm – Surf’s Up! A Tribute to the Beach Boys, featuring Phil Dirt and the Dozers
Music Director Finalist: Timothy Hankewich

Friday, October 19, 2018 at 7:30 pm – Tchaikovsky’s Pathetique
Romero                               Fuga con Pajarillo
Sibelius                               Violin Concerto
Bela Hristova, violin
Tchaikovsky                       Symphony No. 6

Music Director Finalist: Timothy Hankewich

Thursday, November 15, 2018 at 7:30 pm – A Night in Vienna
J. Strauss, Jr.                          Overture to Der Zigeunerbaron
J. Brahms                                 Violin Concerto
Alexi Kenney, violin
J. Strauss, Jr.                      Csárdás from Ritter Pásmán
R. Strauss                             Suite from Der Rosenkavalier Op. 59 (1945)
Music Director Finalist: Andrés Franco

Friday, January 18, 2019 at 7:30 pm – Superheroes!
Music Director Finalist: Silas Huff

Friday, February 22, 2019 at 7:30 pm – Music of the Knights: Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, Sir Elton John and Sir Paul McCartney
Music Director Finalist: Andrés Franco

Friday, March 15, 2019 – Brahms: Symphony No. 4
Tchaikovsky                          Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture (rev. 1880)
Arias, Spirituals and Songs
Soloman Howard, bass
Brahms                                     Symphony No. 4
Music Director Finalist: John Devlin

Friday, April 26, 2019 at 7:30 pm: Once upon a time…featuring Soprano Sierra Boggess, Broadway’s Ariel in The Little Mermaid
Music Director Finalist: John Devlin

Friday, May 17, 2019 at 7:30 pm: Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony
Fuchs                                       United Artists
Mozart                                     Piano Concerto No. 21
Soyeon Kate Lee, piano
Tchaikovsky                          Symphony No. 4
Music Director Finalist: Silas Huff

Special Holiday Event: Symphony on Ice – Date and Time TBD