22 May 2010

Watch this man’s smoke

John McLaughlin Williams receives some well- and hard-earned notice in the Chicago Classical Review:

. . . Williams is that rarest of contemporary podium animals, a conductor who is a knowledgeable and passionate advocate for American music, particularly lesser known byways like McKay, Benjamin Lees, Quincy Porter, and Chicago’s own John Alden Carpenter.

Even in a city as musically rich and diverse as Chicago, that kind of promotion of our own musical heritage by established institutions remains far too rare. Williams’ appointment would admirably fill that void and serve to boost the Sinfonietta’s profile in the process.

And in the Chicago Sun-Times:

Since the announcement in early 2009 of music director Paul Freeman’s decision to retire, the Sinfonietta has been on the march to find a successor to its venerable founder. The current season has featured five guest conductors in a sort of public audition role, and the last of these contenders, John McLaughlin Williams, might have the strongest case after an impressive showing Monday night at Orchestra Hall.

And in the Chicago Tribune:

The deciding factor must be leadership ability. Certainly the fusion of Williams' abilities with those of the dynamic young Harlem Quartet at Monday's event lifted the music-making out of the mediocre rut in which it has been stuck for years.

This, ladies & gentlemen, is the sound of a robust talent finding at last open and attuned ears.

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