Speakeysie News Desk -May 26, 2023

ATLANTA – The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) will welcome four new tenure-track musicians to the Orchestra for the 2023-24 season, including two Principal positions.

The musicians joining the ASO for the 79th season are: 

  • Jesse McCandless, Principal Clarinet 
  • Ryan Little, Principal Horn 
  • Nathan Mo, Section Cello 
  • Isabel Kwon, Section Cello 

“As one of the finest orchestras in the country, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra continues to attract great musicians from all over the world. This group is especially exciting, as we welcome key new musicians who will shape the Orchestra’s sound for the future,” said Executive Director Jennifer Barlament. “The process of filling positions in the ASO is extremely rigorous, including auditions behind a screen adjudicated by a committee of Orchestra members and Music Director Nathalie Stutzmann. These musicians are among the finest in the world, and we’re delighted they are making Atlanta their musical home.”

McCandless began performing with the ASO in April of this year, and Little joins the Orchestra in June. Mo and Kwon will join the orchestra in September. 

In addition, the ASO has hired two one-year, non-tenure track musicians who join the Orchestra in September: Jack Bryant, Third Horn; and Chance Gompert, Bass Trombone. 

About the New Musicians: 

Jesse McCandless 

Jesse McCandless is the newly appointed Principal Clarinetist of the Atlanta Symphony. An ardent orchestral and chamber musician, McCandless has appeared in performances with the Jacksonville Symphony, New Haven Symphony, and the Florida Orchestra. During his stint with the New World Symphony, he had the privilege of serving under the batons of such artists as Michael Tilson Thomas, Stéphane Denève, Peter Oundjian, and John Williams. 

McCandless has collaborated with the Amernet String Quartet and Eighth Blackbird, and has attended the Aspen Music Festival, Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, the Norfolk Chamber Music festival, and the Kent-Blossom Chamber Music Festival. McCandless received his Bachelor’s Degree from the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and his Master’s degree from the Yale School of Music, where he studied with Richard Hawkins and David Shifrin, respectively. Other primary influences include Micheal Rusinek of the Pittsburgh Symphony and Michael Wayne of the Eastman School of Music.

Ryan Little 

Ryan Little joins the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra as Principal Horn. Prior to his arrival at the ASO, he served as Principal Horn of the Naples Philharmonic for six years. Ryan received his B.M. from the Northwestern University Bienen School of Music where he studied with Gail Williams and Jonathan Boen. He received his M.M. from the Rice University Shepherd School of Music where he studied with William VerMeulen.

In addition to his responsibilities with the ASO, Ryan plays Principal Horn at the Eastern Music Festival in North Carolina. Ryan has performed as Guest Principal Horn with the orchestras of Cincinnati, Frankfurt Radio, Minnesota, Orlando, Sarasota, Vancouver, and WDR Cologne, and has also performed with the Houston Grand Opera, Houston Symphony, New World Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Utah Symphony. As a concert soloist, he has performed with the Naples Philharmonic, Northwestern University Baroque and Symphonic Wind Ensembles, l’Orchestre de la Francophonie, and the Skokie Valley Symphony.

During the summers, Ryan has performed at the Britt Music & Arts Festival, Grant Park Music Festival, Lakes Area Music Festival, and Sun Valley Music Festival. He also been a fellow in the Castleton Festival, Lucerne Festival Academy, National Orchestral Institute, Spoleto Festival USA, Tanglewood Music Center, Verbier Festival, and YOA Orchestra of the Americas. Ryan performs on instruments made by Karl Hill of Rockford, Michigan.

Nathan Mo 

Cellist Nathan Mo has performed as a soloist with various orchestras, including the DuPage Symphony Orchestra, Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and Sarasota Music Festival Orchestra. He has appeared at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena, Aspen Music Festival’s Finckel-Wu Han Chamber Music Studio, and the Mainly Mozart Festival with the All-Star Orchestra. As an avid chamber musician, he has performed at the Nevada Chamber Music Festival and La Jolla Music Society, collaborating with artists such as Clive Greensmith, Martin Beaver, Jon Kimura Parker, Noah Bendix-Balgley, and Sarah Chang. Nathan studied with Hans Jørgen Jensen at the Music Institute of Chicago’s Academy and Clive Greensmith at the Colburn School, where he received a Bachelor and Master of Music. Nathan plays on a 2005 Mario Miralles cello on generous loan from the Maestro Foundation.

Isabel Kwon

Korean American cellist, Isabel Kwon, completed her undergraduate degree in cello performance with Honors at the University of Michigan, where she was awarded full scholarship to study with Richard Aaron. Isabel also graduated with a Master of Music at The Juilliard School with Timothy Eddy, and is currently finishing her Doctorate degree at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. During her first year at the school, Isabel was named co-principal cellist of The Juilliard Orchestra and has played under maestros Alan Gilbert, Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla, Gerard Schwarz, and Edo de Waart.  As an orchestral player, she has attended the New York String Seminar in 2014 and the Aspen Festival on a Fellowship, serving as a member of the Aspen Chamber Orchestra and subbed with Indianapolis Symphony. She is currently a fellow at the New World Symphony in Miami. She has performed solos with the Lansing Symphony, Toledo Symphony, Central Michigan Alumni Orchestra, and in masterclasses for Amir Eldan, Clive Greensmith, Frans Helmerson, Eric Kim, Amit Peled, and Brinton Smith.

Jack Bryant 

Jack Bryant grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. Jack recently graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music with a master’s degree. He also received a BM from Northwestern University. Aside from playing the horn, Jack is passionate about coffee, and he enjoys home roasting and manual espresso making. He also enjoys reading and learning about history, with a particular interest in Russia and the Soviet Union.

Chance Gompert 

A native of Seattle, Washington, Chance has been playing trombone since age 10 and bass trombone since age 14. He is a graduate of Indiana University and continued his studies at the New England Conservatory. He has performed with the orchestras of Boston, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Detroit.

About the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) is in its 78th season with Nathalie Stutzmann as only the fifth Music Director in the history of the Orchestra, and the only woman to ever hold the position. Maestro Stutzmann will continue the ASO’s mission of bringing new and exciting composers and guest artists to Atlanta.

The ASO is one of the leading orchestras in the United States, performing more than 150 concerts each year from the Delta Classical, Movies in Concert, Family Concert, and Coca-Cola Holiday series, as well as the Atlanta Symphony Hall LIVE concerts and many community and education concerts.

In addition, the ASO performs with the 200+ voice, all-volunteer ASO Chorus, originally founded in 1970 by Robert Shaw, and currently under the Direction of Norman Mackenzie. The chorus was featured on nine of the ASO’s Grammy-award winning recordings.

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