Media Release: Prince George Symphony Orchestra Catches a Rising Star
The Prince George Symphony Orchestra will enter its 43rd season with a new Music Director. The PGSO announces that after a sixteen month long search, Kevin Zakresky has been selected to lead British Columbia’s premiere northern orchestra. Dr. Zakresky succeeds Leslie Dala, the PGSO conductor for eight seasons, who is now chorus director and associate conductor with the Vancouver Opera and music director of the prestigious Vancouver Bach Choir.
Hailed by Vancouver critic David Gordon Duke as one of “North America’s rising star conductors,”
Zakresky returns to his home city with an extensive and impressive list of performing and academic
Earlier this year Zakresky completed his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting at prestigious Yale
University, graduating at the top of his class and winning the Aidan Cavanagh Award. Prior to Yale, Zakresky
was mentored by Bruce Pullan, long-time music director of the Vancouver Bach Choir, and completed
Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in the School of Music at the University of British Columbia. Zakresky is well
known to northern British Columbia audiences as a conductor, singer, and pianist. He made his debut with
the orchestra playing Mozart’s Piano Concerto K. 414, has sung in opera, operetta, and musicals, and
conducted last season’s record-breaking run of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker.
Zakresky has just completed a term as the Assistant Conductor of the renowned Chor Leoni Men’s Choir;
he has also taught conducting for students in the School of Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University,
and directs a vocal ensemble at New Westminster’s Douglas College.
He has been the founding director of Chor Leoni’s highly successful “MYVoice” program, a project
designed to encourage and empower young male singers. Earlier he was the founder of the Southern Virginia
Baroque Youth Orchestra, a period-practice Baroque orchestra for high-school aged students. In 2010
Zakresky was nominated for the Hans Unger Award for conductors.
The Prince George Symphony Orchestra is the only professional orchestra in northern British Columbia
and is the cornerstone for classical music in Prince George and surrounding communities. The PGSO grew out of
a group of amateur musicians gathered for the purpose of accompanying the Prince George Cantata Singers
in the performance of Handel’s Messiah. Continuing the tradition and a season highlight, Zakresky will lead
the PGSO and the Prince George Cantata Singers in this classic oratorio next season.
“We will announce our full season later than usual, but it will be worth the wait. We wanted to ensure
our new Music Director had input into the programming,” comments Ruth Langner, General Manager of
the PGSO. “Kevin will fit easily into the culture of the north with his Prince George experiences. He will
develop collaborations and partnerships that will take our symphony forward.”
Zakresky agrees. “The PGSO was the orchestra I heard growing up, and the thought of returning to be
its conductor is an amazing honour and a wonderful opportunity. I have so many plans and so much
enthusiasm for this organization, and I can’t wait to get to work.”
“Prince George is a young, vibrant community” says Zakresky. “All the arts here are on a fast-track for
further development and growth. I’m excited to have been invited to take charge of the orchestra at this
exciting moment in its history.”
The Prince George Symphony Orchestra will welcome Dr. Zakresky to the community at their Mother’s
Day Tea, May 13th, 2012, 3:00 pm.
For biographical details, high-res pictures, and further information see:
or contact Ruth Langner, General Manager.