The New Mexico Philharmonic is rising from the ashes of the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, proving there is an audience for classical music in the Albuquerque area.
About a year ago, after struggling financially for several years, the symphony filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. But former NMSO musicians, determined to keep the tradition alive, announced the creation of its successor, the philharmonic. Its debut concert was in May and its classics concerts in Popejoy Hall wrap up tonight. The first four concerts of the five-concert series nearly filled Popejoy’s 1,985-seat capacity on the University of New Mexico campus. The philharmonic also presented two neighborhood concerts and two new-music concerts in other venues. It will perform three concerts at the Rio Grande Zoo, including one on May 13, Mother’s Day. The inaugural season will conclude June 5 with a concert at the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum.
All of this has been accomplished without a full-time conductor/music director. A musicians’ committee and executive director Marian Tanau, a violinist who also plays with the Detroit Symphony, select the programs and guest conductors. Tanau also oversees management and fundraising.
Unlike the symphony, the philharmonic is operating in the black and meeting its payroll.
Also arising from the failed symphony model are The Figueroa Project, a new organization founded by former NMSO musical director Guillermo Figueroa, and the New Mexico Symphonic Chorus, under the direction of former NMSO resident conductor Roger Melone.
The three separate organizations, with different approaches, are testimony that classical music is alive and well in New Mexico.
This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.