SANTA FE, N.M. — Conductor Joseph Young really likes being on the podium for holiday concerts. “It doesn’t feel like the holiday season unless I do this,” he said. “When the Santa Fe Symphony asked me to conduct their ‘Christmas Treasures’ program last spring, I thought about how I like combining pop and traditional music in this type of concert.”
Sunday’s “Christmas Treasures” performance includes John Williams’ “Sound the Bells,” Malcolm Arnold’s “Holly & the Ivy,” Frederick Delius’ “Sleigh Ride,” Leroy Anderson’s “A Christmas Festival,” music from Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera “The Snow Maiden” and Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas.”
The Santa Fe High Honor Choir, accompanied by the instrumentalists, will sing two selections from the movie “The Polar Express,” composed by Alan Silvestri, “Believe” and “Spirit of the Season,” along with “Let There Be Peace on Earth.”
Young, who recently ended his tenure as resident conductor of the Phoenix Symphony, was the first recipient of the Sir Georg Solti Foundation Career Grant for young conductors in 2008. He completed graduate studies with Gustav Meier and Markand Thakar at the Peabody Conservatory in 2009 and earned an artist’s diploma in conducting.
In 2011 Young was featured in the League of American Orchestras’ Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview, which was hosted by the Louisiana Philharmonic. Also that year, he was invited to return to Portugal to conduct a series of concerts with the Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música.
A recipient of the League of American Orchestras American Conducting Fellowship, Young has had recent engagements with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Tucson Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic and the Delaware Symphony Orchestra.
“I’ve conducted the Colorado Symphony six times this season for pops concerts and special events,” Young said. “But mostly I’m at a place in my career where I have been conducting a variety of orchestras and a wide range of repertoire. This will be my first time in Santa Fe, and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Young describes himself as a people person but also a conductor who has clear ideas about what he wants to do and the goal of getting the work done. While his musical taste is varied, he does have favorite composers from time to time.
“I’m starting to fall in love with Samuel Barber, Schubert and Schumann,” he said. “I want to learn more about them.”
Although conducting many orchestras in a season has its appeal, Young says he’s ready to make a commitment to one ensemble.
“I definitely want to have my own orchestra,” he said. “But I don’t want to settle down unless it’s the right orchestra for me. There’s got to be a connection.”