Utah Symphony concertmaster Madeline Adkins has accepted a one-year appointment as music director of the NOVA Chamber Music Series, effective July 1.
Jason Hardink, who has been the series’ artistic director since 2009, will move to the newly created position of artistic adviser. At the end of last season, he announced he would be cutting back to concentrate on his full-time job as the Utah Symphony’s principal keyboardist, his young family and other pursuits. In his new role, according to a news release announcing the changes, Hardink will “provide upper-level artistic management … by influencing NOVA’s long-term artistic vision and by providing articulation of said vision to NOVA staff and the public.”
“NOVA is grateful for Hardink’s vision and willingness to continue serving the organization in this new and original way,” board chairman Francis V. Hanson said in the release, adding that the board is “excited about the fresh perspective that Madeline Adkins will bring to our audiences and for the new experiences that this blend of positions will offer. We are thrilled to pioneer this new model.”
“It will be a lot of fun to research and put together programs,” Adkins told The Salt Lake Tribune. “It wasn’t hard to persuade me. I will be primarily responsible for selecting repertoire and putting players together. I’m new to the area, so it will be helpful to bounce things off Jason and build on what he’s done. Jason has done exceptional work — he’s so creative.”
Adkins, former longtime associate concertmaster of the Baltimore Symphony, joined the Utah Symphony last fall after appearing with the orchestra for a handful of key performances during a yearlong audition process. Since then, she’s been featured as a concerto soloist in Abravanel Hall and conducted Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” from her soloist’s spot at the orchestra’s Deer Valley Music Festival. She also has been a prominent figure on the local chamber-music scene, with appearances on NOVA, the MOTUS After Dark series and the summertime Intermezzo Chamber Music Series.
She’s the latest in a line of Utah Symphony musicians to oversee NOVA, whose stated mission is to be “a forum for resident artists.” Clarinetist Russell Harlow, who since has retired from the orchestra, was the series’ founding artistic director in 1977; he was followed by violinist Barbara Scowcroft in 1986, associate principal bassist Corbin Johnston in 2004 and Hardink in 2009.
Adkins plans to continue playing on NOVA. “I anticipate being really involved onstage as well as off,” she said. “The organization has such a rich history. There are definitely a lot of resources available to me for next year.”