Arild Remmereit on Rochester

08:23 AM, May 21, 2013


Arild Remmereit was ready to move back to Norway, or at least Europe, after the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra board fired him. But a group of community members persuaded him to stay, at least temporarily, and he says he has discovered a city full of reasons to remain here while he rebuilds his musical career.

One piece of his future fell into place last week when his appointment as artistic director of the Rochester Chamber Orchestra was finalized. After next season, the 50th of founder and music director David Fetler, Remmereit will take over as music director as well.

I have respect for the work he has done, the kind of repertoire he has chosen,” Remmereit says.

Remmereit says he will take the same general approach with programming as he did as music director of the RPO. Connections with a community and what makes a community special is essential to building a strong base, he says.

Susan B. Anthony’s spirit, he says, infuses Rochester. So does Frederick Douglass’. Taking their work and having it inspire the types of music chosen for an ensemble makes sense, Remmereit says. “It’s something to live up to, to be energized by,” he says.

Remmereit is now also going to be a guest conductor with orchestras — for example, Baltimore and Buffalo. He also is working on other music projects here. They aren’t yet ready to announce, but he says he’s working with forces to preserve music education.

There’s a lot of energy here, a lot of talent, a lot of entrepreneurial spirit,” he says, and it has renewed his optimism that after 21 years of traveling that Rochester is a good place to settle, with or without the RPO job he came here for.

— Catherine Roberts