Times Staff Writer

Neal Stulberg, an assistant conductor at the Los Angeles Philharmonic and former conductor of the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra, has been appointed music director of the New Mexico Symphony in Albuquerque.

Stulberg, who replaces longtime music director Yoshimi Takeda, will assume his planning duties with the ensemble immediately and will conduct his first concert as music director in September, said William Weinrod, executive administrator of the New Mexico Symphony, the major symphonic organization in New Mexico.

"I sense a real intention here," Stulberg said from Albuquerque Friday morning, "a real commitment to growth and excellence.

"The orchestra has already undergone in the past several years a great deal of growth. Our charge, our responsibility, now is to continue in that path."

The new directorship was made public after a meeting of the New Mexico Symphony's board of directors late Thursday afternoon. At that time, the board approved the 30-year-old conductor's appointment after receiving a unanimous recommendation in favor of Stulberg from a search committee that had worked two years to find a music director to replace Takeda, who left at the end of the 1983-84 season to pursue other musical activities. Stulberg has agreed to "a basic contract for three years," Weinrod said.

A native of Michigan, Stulberg was educated at Harvard, the University of Michigan, the Juilliard School in New York and in Europe, where he trained as conductor, pianist and violist. He came to Los Angeles as conductor of the YMF Debut Orchestra in 1981 after having led the MIT Orchestra in Cambridge, Mass.

Stulberg's residence as an Exxon-sponsored assistant conductor at the L.A. Philharmonic ends Aug. 31.

Stulberg has been particularly visible with the Philharmonic in recent months. During one week in November, for instance, he conducted a series of P.D.Q. Bach concerts at the Music Center, as well as the local premiere of the "Rome" segment of Robert Wilson's and Philip Glass' "The CIVIL warS"on the Philharmonic's "American Music Weekend."

Stulberg said he takes over the New Mexico orchestra during a time of transition. "We are a regional orchestra with a budget of $1.5 million. The ensemble plays up to 60 concerts a year in a 36-week season. Already, the orchestra regularly tours the state, and has even traveled outside the country, to Mexico," Stulberg said.

"Now, the intention is to increase the orchestra's core of full-time players and to make it an ensemble of national stature."

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