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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Schenectady Native Hyslop to Take Helm of Albany Symphony Orchestra


After ⁢58 ‌years of managing orchestras, Schenectady-born David ‍Hyslop will return to ‌the Capital⁤ Region in February to lead the Albany Symphony Orchestra as its interim executive director.

“David is an ​old, ⁣dear friend who has had a long, storied career and [is] ⁢a ⁣legend in our field,” said ASO Music Director David Alan Miller. “He’s the go-to guy, locally born, who has made good in the orchestra world. He’s​ the master, and ⁣we’re delighted that he’s to⁣ come to help ‍us to go forward in the most positive way.”

Hyslop is also delighted to be returning to his old stomping grounds.

“I was born in Bellevue maternity ward and I delivered the Schenectady Daily Gazette and ⁣the⁢ evening Union Star as a kid. And I graduated from Mont Pleasant High School in 1960,” he said.

Even then he was interested in music.

“I played trumpet and‌ went to ⁣Ithaca ​College. ‍But after a ⁢year and ‍a half the trumpet teacher failed me. ‍So I became a vocal major,” ‍Hyslop said.

He sang in various choruses and got to sing‌ at the Chautauqua summer festival. But in his second year of⁤ college, Hyslop began attending the music series that Cornell University presented — and soon discovered orchestras.

“I fell in love with the orchestral repertoire,” he ⁤said. “So I went to​ my vocal teacher and asked⁤ her if there was ​a business side to the ‌orchestra.”

When she told him of the various ⁤aspects to that side of the profession, ⁤Hyslop said, ​“I knew that’s⁣ what I wanted to do.”

After graduation in 1965⁤ his first job was teaching elementary voice classes in Elmira and managing the local community orchestra. Then in 1966, Hyslop‍ received a Martha Baird Rockefeller ‌grant in ‌performing arts management from the ​League of ⁣American Orchestras and was sent to train with the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra, only to later stay on as assistant to the director. Among his ‌duties was working on⁣ promoting the Metropolitan Opera tour ​in the area.

By 1972, Hyslop was ready to move on and became ‍chief executive officer of the Oregon Symphony, where he⁤ stayed until ⁤1978. That ‍was followed by stints in the same position with​ the St. Louis⁣ Symphony from 1978 to 1991, then with the Minneapolis Symphony from 1991 to 2003.

Among the honors Hyslop has accumulated are: Joseph Schwantner composed a “Fanfare​ for D.H.” and a trumpet chair⁢ was dedicated to him when he⁤ was ​CEO at St. Louis; and ⁣Ithaca College gave him a lifetime achievement award last year.

The next decades saw Hyslop working on consulting projects, ‌strategic planning and development studies with numerous organizations⁤ including‌ the Sante Fe Opera,⁤ the Dallas Symphony and the Wheaton Grand Theatre. In the past decade, however, he’s taken ⁣up the role of interim executive director, a position that lasts usually only up to seven months, he said. He’s served in this position with up to 15 musical organizations, including those in Fort Worth, Texas; Houston; Omaha, Nebraska; Orlando, Florida; Amarillo, Texas; and the Sun Valley Summer Symphony in Idaho.

By now, with his reputation, Hyslop said “I know almost everybody.” But when he takes his interim role, he said, he operates as a director.

“If there’s ‌a problem I deal with it, but I’m there only if I think I can help,” he said.

He’s also learned there are a limited number of people who are qualified ‌for⁢ the job.

So⁤ when members of ⁤the ASO board reached out to him when the current executive director, Anna Kuwabara, tendered her resignation three months ago to be effective this February, Hyslop accepted. At the‌ time he was working with the Reno Philharmonic in Nevada.

“I enjoy helping out and working with the younger people, and ⁣talking with vibrant people,” he​ said. “As the interim, we’ll see what needs to be done.”

Rafael Torres
Rafael Torres
Rafael Torres, a native of Schenectady, has returned to his hometown after several years of reporting in the Midwest. A graduate of Missouri School of Journalism, Alex is known for his empathetic approach to local news, covering everything from community events to local governance, always with an aim to bridge diverse perspectives.
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  1. Agree – So excited to see a local talent leading the Albany Symphony Orchestra! Can’t wait to see what incredible performances Hyslop brings to the stage.

  2. Disagree – Not sure if a local talent will be able to bring the innovation and diversity that the Albany Symphony Orchestra needs to thrive. #SupportOutsidePerspectives


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