The department of music and dance has selected Morihiko Nakahara to be assistant professor and director of orchestral studies, in charge of conducting the UMass Amherst Symphony Orchestra, the university’s foremost orchestral ensemble.
Nakahara currently serves as music director of the South Carolina Philharmonic and resident conductor with the Spokane Symphony Orchestra. He previously served as music director of the Holland Symphony Orchestra in Michigan and taught at Eastern Washington University and Andrews University.
“We’re thrilled to have a musician and educator of Morihiko Nakahara’s caliber join our faculty, and we’re confident that he will be an outstanding addition to the department of music and dance,” said Roberta Montemorra Marvin, department chair.
Marvin also lauded the contributions of interim conductor Ng Tian Hui for his role in sustaining the orchestra program through this transitional period.
A native of Kagoshima, Japan, Nakahara holds degrees from Andrews University and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Recipient of the David Effron Conducting Fellowship at the Chautauqua Institution in 1999, Nakahara was featured in the League of American Orchestra’s prestigious Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview in 2005.
Nakahara is a popular clinician, guest conductor, and lecturer, and is known for his innovative and audience-friendly programming skills and his charismatic presence on and off the podium.
Recent guest conducting engagements include appearances with the Buffalo Philharmonic, symphonies of Oregon, Charleston, Chattanooga, Lansing, Peoria, Jacksonville and Green Bay, as well as with the Chicago Pro Musica.
Equally at home in a wide variety of musical styles and concert formats, Nakahara has also collaborated with popular acts including Chris Botti, Béla Fleck & the Flecktones, Edgar Meyer, Brandi Carlile, Pink Martini, Sergio Mendes and Roby Lakatos.