The Pasadena Symphony said Friday that it has named the British-born conductor David Lockington as its new music director. Lockington, the music director of the Grand Rapids Symphony in Michigan, will start his new job next season.
This will be Pasadena Symphony's first music director since the abrupt departure in 2010 of Jorge Mester, who led the group for nearly 25 years. In the interim, the orchestra has relied on guest conductors.
The symphony also is naming Nicholas McGegan, a Baroque specialist who is also from Britain, as the principal guest conductor of the orchestra.
The Pasadena Symphony is a mid-size orchestra that is composed largely of freelance musicians. It performs primarily at the Ambassador Auditorium.
Lockington said in a phone interview from Michigan that he hopes to program a "diverse range of music. But I think it's important to bring in contemporary music."
He said he will stay on as the music director of the Grand Rapids Symphony through the 2014-15 season and intends to commute between his home in Michigan and Pasadena.
Lockington hails from London but has spent most of his career in the U.S.
"David has the breadth and the depth of experience we were looking for," said Paul Zdunek, chief executive officer of the Pasadena Symphony Assn., in an interview.
Lockington has served as guest conductor at the Pasadena Symphony in the past. He previously worked with Zdunek at the Modesto Symphony Orchestra, where Lockington is still music director.
The Pasadena Symphony formed an internal committee to review potential candidates, including past guest conductors, said Zdunek.
In 2010, the orchestra hired conductor James DePreist as an artistic advisor following Mester's departure. DePreist died in February following complications from a heart attack.
The Pasadena Symphony has been working its way out of debt since merging with the Pasadena Pops in 2007. Its pops orchestra also has a new conductor, entertainer Michael Feinstein, who begins that role this summer.