Manchester Symphony’s new director makes debut

By Karen Greer
For the Journal Inquirer
April 19, 2013

Joseph Hodge
Joseph Hodge acknowledges applause as he takes the stage for the first time April 13 as Manchester Symphony Orchestra’s new music director.

MANCHESTER — Manchester Symphony Orchestra and Chorale’s audience was treated to an unannounced performance by new orchestra director Joseph Hodge at a concert April 13, as he took the podium to conduct Elgar’s famous “Enigma Variations.”

Hodge will make his official debut on Saturday, June 8, at Manchester Symphony’s annual Pops concert.

But, the “Enigma Variations,” already on the program for the April concert, were a unique opportunity to present the orchestra’s final choice from among 52 applicants from all over the world.

“Joe had this as his audition piece for his master’s at the University of Hartford’s Hartt School of Music,” Chorale Director Dr. Kevin Mack said, and having Hodge conduct it would be “a wonderful way to have him and the orchestra shine.”

A graduate of Hartt School and the University of Virginia, Hodge is currently serving as music director of the Hartford Opera Theater and the Connecticut Valley Chamber Orchestra.

At his semifinalist performance in October, Manchester Symphony musicians and its audience were impressed by his musicianship and energy on stage, including a rousing version of Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture.”

Both Hodge and Mack will again appear on the podium at Manchester Symphony’s June 8 Pops concert with full orchestra and chorale, A Night at the Theatre, as part of Manchester Arts and Heritage Week in June. Manchester Symphony invites singers of all voice parts who can attend the Monday evening rehearsals to participate.

For more information, call 860-646-0047, email: MusicSix [at], or visit the Manchester Symphony Orchestra and Chorale on its Facebook page or at its website: