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Tuesday, December 23,2008

More Muffitt

Lansing Symphony maestro to stay on into 2010

by Lawrence Cosentino
Reliable reports have it that ladies swooned when Lansing maestro Timothy Muffitt walked into an East Lansing polling place to vote Nov. 4.

That’s not why Muffitt signed a new contract extending his tenure as music director of the Lansing Symphony through the 2009-‘10 season, but it shows how rooted he’s become in the community.

Even before Muffitt took over as maestro in 2006, he galvanized audiences and impressed musicians with his audition concert in fall 2005. Since then, he has taken the symphony into a golden age of stimulating programs and high musicianship.

“We’re in a smooth course of artistic growth,” Muffitt said.

Although Muffitt re-upped for only one year after the current three-year contract expires, he said he would stay beyond that. With homes and music directorships in Lansing and Baton Rouge, he’s got a sweet setup.

Muffitt cited several benefits to holding onto relationships with two orchestras. “I can go to a composer and say, ‘If you’re interested in doing this work, I can get you two performances,’” Muffitt said. That’s how Lansing snagged the premiere of David Maslanka’s Saxophone Concerto this fall.

Muffitt can also offer guest artists two performances, “So we get a little break in the fee.”

The slate of music in Baton Rouge and Lansing isn’t always the same, but leading two orchestras also gives Muffitt a chance to engage with some of the big works more than once, as maestros do in the bigger cities. “There’s a personal synergy there too, a great opportunity for an even deeper understanding of music,” he said.

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