The Portland Symphony Orchestra is turning to a trusted friend and a respected colleague to help it transition through the departure of Robert Moody after this season and the arrival of his replacement as music director beginning with the 2019-20 concert season.

Next season, the 2018-19 concert season that begins this fall, will be covered mostly by former PSO conductor Bruce Hangen, who will conduct Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 on Oct. 16 and all 12 Christmas concerts, and Jeffrey Kahane, who last year completed his 20th season as music director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Kahane will conduct four concerts in the upcoming season. The music director designate, who will be named this spring, also will conduct four concerts, though the music director’s first season won’t begin until 2019.

Hangen conducted the PSO from 1976 to 1986 and originated the orchestra’s “Magic of Christmas” tradition. He returned to Portland for the orchestra’s 90th anniversary gala, and the musicians so enjoyed playing with him “they asked to bring him back,” said Carolyn Nishon, the orchestra’s executive director.

Leah Puleio Paul, director of artistic operations for the orchestra, introduced the season Friday night at the Merrill Auditorium rehearsal hall. The 2018-19 season will be the orchestra’s 94th and will include classical, pops and Christmas concerts. The season also will include a full roster of family and youth concerts and other outreach and education programming.

The orchestra programmed the upcoming season in consultation with Edward Yim, newly appointed president of the American Composers Orchestra and former vice president for artistic planning for the New York Philharmonic. “Together, we have created a stellar season and are excited to share it with the community,” Nishon said.

Moody, who has been music director for 10 years, will conduct his final program on May 1, and has selected Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony as his farewell. The orchestra will choose among three finalists to replace him: Eckart Preu, music director of the Long Beach Symphony and Spokane Symphony; Ken-David Masur, assistant conductor of the Boston Symphony and artistic director of the Chelsea Music Festival; and Daniel Meyer, music director of the Asheville Symphony and the Erie Philharmonic. Each finalist will conduct pops and classical concerts in Portland this season.

The orchestra expects to name its next music director in the spring, Nishon said, but because schedules are planned 12 to 18 months in advance the tenure of the new music director won’t begin until 2019-20.

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at:

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